Little has been heard from the pan-European IT support services company in the past few months, but Darrel Riddell, product marketing manager at Synstar, said it is not because the company has not been up to much, but because its flotation has made it more watchful of the way it makes announcements.
But he revealed that Synstar had entered into a partnership with Mentor Technologies to provide Cisco training to its customers through Mentor’s Virtual Laboratory.
“The partnership is to help existing customers in finding the best resources and the best answers. It is about bringing training to the customer from a single point of access and we will act as a gateway into this area. Also. the more of the pie you supply, the better it is,” said Riddell.
ASP is also an area being considered by Synstar, but Riddell claimed he could not see the market growing that much more in 2001. “This year we will see the failure of the smaller boys and more consolidation on pricing and services among the bigger players. Really then, they will become the differentiators,” he argued.
Also through partnerships, Synstar will look at the consultative side of the storage market. “We are going to try to demystify the SAN, LAN, tape/disk issues. It’s great to have new technology, but what will benefit the customer?”
Synstar has been doing its own “bespoke” research and development to back up market trends and analyst reports, Riddell revealed, with announcements to be made in due course.
“All these services are sitting in the back pocket ready to come out when the time is right,” he claimed. “[But] sometimes we have to be very careful in the way we put services to the market where there are specialists and niche players. Also, we do not want to drive customers down a route they do not want to take.”
Last year was a difficult period for services companies because of a slowdown in spending on traditional IT services by major corporates. But Synstar emerged in good shape, with a 10 per cent increase in turnover from £214m to £236m and an eight per cent increase to its order book, taking it to £246m.
“We had to make profit warnings, but at the end of the day so did a lot of other companies. [However] we grew 13 per cent, which in today’s climate was excellent,” argued Riddell.
“A lot of that is down to retention of customers and understanding the market — what part of IT will take the business forward. At the same time as having retained the customer, we have expanded with the customer.”
The focus for Synstar this year will be to ensure the best return from its considerable investment in the field of business continuity and Riddell forecasted it was “looking to grow at a much more stable 10 per cent”.