Editor Ian Hunter Meets up with Tim Walker, Managing Director of Fareham based managed services provider Taylor Made Computer Solutions at the Institute of Directors in London to discuss the market and supplier relationships.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): In a nutshell what are TMCS’s principal activities?
Tim Walker (TW): The company was established in 1994, has 110 employees and turns over £10m. We are an IT based managed service provider (MSP) that focuses on the mid-market with some 200 customers in the south of England. We specialise in key professional services vertical markets such as the legal and insurance sectors. Our services are offered on a per user, per month basis which really appeals to our user base who love the predictability of this cost structure.
This is a highly competitive market but our differentiation begins from the first point of customer engagement in that we provide the user with an independent, standalone and bespoke consultative document showing a set of findings established on discovery with the user and a strategic IT road map for the next three years based upon achieving the users’ stated business objectives.
CBM: How does the reseller view the IT/Comms market today and in the short/medium term with regards to trends and opportunities?
TW: It has been interesting to see just how willing firms have been to embrace public cloud services. This has enabled TMCS to build and supply service wraps to support the services they are using.
The strategy and road map document we produce for users drives our relationship with customers and results in them leaving most decisions to us. This consultative report allows TMCS to take the case and the argument for strategic change to what we believe to be best solution for the user forward and significantly it prevents price erosion.
CBM: How important is it to have vendor/supplier partners that share your vision?
TW: Our supplier relationships are key to our business and chosen on the basis of what we believe to be the best and most suitable for our mid-market focus.
They include HP, NetApp, Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft and Timico. Our managed services partners include N-Able, Asigra, DaHo for back up and business continuity and AutoTask which really drives our business.
We have been working with Timico for 15 years and we are co-incidentally located within walking distance from their Fareham offices. The relationship is both close and professional in that we often share social events between our companies but at the same time have formal monthly face-to-face business reviews where we share pipeline information, discuss service levels and plan joint marketing campaigns across the product lines – connectivity, hosting, disaster recovers and DNS services. We have around three or four specialist from each team at these meetings. We are a big believer in working with suppliers that want to add value; they need to know our business and how we work just as we do with our own customers.
Darren Hilton, Managing Director of Timico Partners says that it is clear the leaders of both companies get on with each other.
“Alongside the jointly held BBQ’s and go karting all the service drivers set the right tone across the relationship which produces an expectation between us that things are going to work.”
CBM: What would you say is main challenge facing your business and/or the channel for the coming year?
TW: We see challenges as opportunities and one of the biggest today concerns the issue of data security where we have seen too many high profile data breaches in the last 12 months alone.
We are therefore providing consultancy services to business on how to develop and implement policies and procedures to combat such attacks and breaches. The key is to educate and put in place the policies and procedures using the right technology to stop these hacks and stop users doing ‘stupid things’.
Leased lines are becoming extremely competitive but we understand, given our close relationship, that Timico is set to make an announcement any day now on an incentive for their channel partners which will no doubt have an impact for us.