Managed IT Services company GCI today announces its acquisition of Hertfordshire based Unified Communications Specialist Freedom Communications for an undisclosed sum. It is the organisation’s 5th acquisition in under 12 months and follows GCI’s acquisition of high profile Cloud Specialist Outsourcery only six months ago.
Commenting on the acquisition, Adrian Thirkill CEO at GCI (pictured) stated, “2016 was a busy and productive year at GCI. It was about setting the framework for growth and preparing GCI to catch the moment as next generation managed IT services transition from adolescence to mainstream business transformers. Our acquisition of Freedom is another steady step in our journey to deliver progressive and cost efficient managed services to all our customers. Freedom’s heritage and skills as a Unified Communications Systems Integrator, and its focus on transitioning customers from old world to new, is perfectly aligned with our own growth strategy and is a great fit for us.”
In terms of strategy, Adrian Thirkill continued, “We are very clear that within the range of IT services now available, some will be real winners in the digital transformation stakes – and therefore winners for our customers too. We are backing the big four of Unified Communications, Cloud, Security & Compliance – underpinned of course by next generation Infrastructure & Networking technologies. On that note, alongside its considerable experience, Freedom Communications adds another 40,000+ Skype for Business seats to our Microsoft UCaaS arm taking GCI to more than 180,000 Skype for Business seats overall. This quietly elevates GCI to the top tier of UK service providers capable of delivering and supporting Microsoft Skype and Cloud PBX at scale – and across multiple sectors.
Our announcement today regarding Freedom Communications cements our commitment to continue partnering with global technology leaders such as Microsoft, HP & Alcatel-Lucent as we continue to build a world class UCaaS & Cloud Managed Service capability in a market growing strongly and forecast to be worth over £75 billion globally by 2023.”
Mike Constantine, Chief Technology Officer at GCI, continued, “We have a clear strategy to focus on developing our 4-pillar portfolio to create compelling and innovative services for our customers. To add context, this means we’re able to offer Skype for Business deployments as Private Cloud, Public Cloud, On-Premise or as Hybrid variants. Consequently, whatever the customer’s technical or commercial requirement, GCI has an appropriate solution. More importantly, GCI also has a host of great reference points and demonstrable experience delivering the technology.”
Mike Ayres, Chief Commercial Officer at GCI added, “Our acquisition of Freedom expands our reach into the Public Sector via one of the key procurement frameworks. Freedom Communications is listed on 9 of the 11 lots of RM1045 Network Services Framework which the Public Sector uses to procure Unified Communications and Network related services. This framework is used by central government departments, education, non-departmental public bodies, the NHS, local authorities and voluntary sector charities. All are areas in which Freedom has excellent customer references.”
Mike Ayres continued, “To add a further sense of perspective, of the 60 vendors listed on the Framework, Freedom Communications is within the Top 4 in terms of the breadth of its capability. Beyond this, GCI also recently announced its listing on the Government G-Cloud 8 and features on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Specialist Cloud Services (SCS) lots on the Framework. Collectively the breadth of our coverage on both the Government’s G-Cloud and Network Services frameworks is unrivalled and the timing is perfect. In terms of opportunity, the G-Cloud framework alone lists more than £1.57 billion of services provided by vendors since 2012.
The acquisition of Freedom opens all sorts of exciting opportunities as the public sector grapples with efficiency measures and doing more with less. And in our experience the public sector is catching on quickly to the transformational benefits of UC and Cloud services. A great example is our engagement with the progressive technology team at Ealing Council who are transitioning from a legacy environment to Cloud with real enthusiasm and focus. It will result in them having one of the largest Skype deployments in their sector. Other notable examples include the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and London University.”
Commenting on the acquisition Clare Barclay, General Manager at Microsoft UK stated, “When I met with GCI on its stand at Future Decoded in London a few short weeks ago, I said that I was confident about the opportunities we had to work together and I am delighted to see GCI forging ahead now with further UC and cloud investments. Freedom Communications is of course already well known to us as a Microsoft Gold partner and has a great track record. The collective strengths and learnings across the blended GCI, Outsourcery, Freedom Communications collective means that customers are in a great position to benefit its expertise in Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business and Azure. The age of digital transformation is upon us, and it is organisations like GCI that will help customers truly reap the benefits.”
Pat Botting, Managing Director at Freedom Communications commented, “We are absolutely delighted to share this announcement. Our investment and growth alongside an almost unique, holistic go-to-market model coupled with GCI’s comprehensive managed service and cloud solutions make this acquisition the most significant that the UK Unified Communications (UC) market has seen to date. Not only is this great news for our people, but it is also great news for all our customers now gearing to full UC adoption. Exciting times ahead.”
Comms Business Magazine will be speaking to GCI CEO Adrian Thirkill later today and adding our perspective on this significant move for GCI and their channel partners.