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Nuvias moving to the next stage

Before he moves into the executive chairman role Paul Eccleston the CEO of the distributor talks about the journey the firm has been on

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Nuvias emerged onto the channel radar three years ago when it acquired Wick Hill and Zycko with the backing of Rigby Private Equity and set about bringing a fresh name in distribution to the market.

Since those early days the business has expanded further with deals for unified comms player Siphon and Belgium security distributor DCB.

The business is on the brink of further change with a new CEO due to start next month. But before Simon England takes up that position the current incumbent in that role, Paul Eccleston, who will become executive chairman, talked about the journey the distributor has taken so far and where it is heading into the future.

Ideas about doing something different started to germinate in his mind when he worked at SDG and he was involved with the sale of that business to Tech Data. The concept that there was an opportunity for a different approach in distribution formed the basis on which Nuvias emerged.

"There is a gap in the market for a distribution partner that is built for the future rather than having to evolve from the past. 

Very much around being software led and services led, if you add hardware, software and services you get solution led. Ultimately what the channel wants, the solution provider community, is to support end user customers and find solutions to their challenges, and the role of distribution as we see it is we need to support the channel and vendor community in doing that. In helping them solve their customer problems. That's why we talk about being solution-led distribution. We have a very clear mantra internally that we are one team dedicated to our partner’s success, the solution providers and the vendor partners. Our role is to enable both of those groups to be successful. That is about taking a different approach to distribution and that was the original context and nothing has changed on that," he says.

The business set out its mission statement in 2015 to build a business that could provide a different approach consistently across Europe.

"We are still on that journey and the plan was to be there by 2020 and as we enter 2019 on track for much of that. The business has grown faster than we anticipated and continues to grow very strongly. We have also been through a year and a half of integration. We built the proposition and the mission of the business and we have acquired into that and then we have built that into Nuvias to a point where we have been integrating the businesses, systems and supply chains and we are very close to the end of that and will have that process completed in the next couple of months. That is the point at which we had planned we would bring in a CEO to be the operational leader for our next phase of growth," he says.

The vision for 2020 is close to arriving and thoughts are already turning to what comes next and the years that come after that point. But England will inherit a business that has already got the foundations in place with most of the original plans completed, strong growth being generated and the structure to support the solutions approach already there. Nuvias employs 80 services staff, close to 20% of the workforce, and it provides 24/7 support for devices in 126 countries around the world.

The last acquisition, DCB, gave the business access to an established operation with experience in the security market and Eccleston indicated that further expansion was an option.

"That was an important acquisition and that's the kind of acquisition we will continue to make. The platform is established so we will acquire to acquire capability. That capability will build out this consistent execution across Europe," he adds.

Nuvias has built practices around security, networking, unified comms and application optimisation with an idea that the business can deliver information securely from the data centre to the end point. "Anything that delivers that in-between the data centre and where the end point is what we do in a highly secure and visible way," says Eccleston.

The business has consciously chosen to limit the number of vendors it works with, 40 is the ideal limit, to make sure that it give those it works with focus and to also ensure it sticks to its mission.

"Application security, application ready-networks and application performance management through to digital experience management is what we do. That connection of those capabilities we see as unique. You generally will have a distributor that's born out of the networking phase or one that was a security distributor by birth and is morphing a bit the other way. Because of the acquisitions we have made we were born in both and are bringing them together," he adds.

"The critical thing is that we can deliver that service and capability to help and enable our partners to solve their customer problems and help and enable our vendor partners to do that through the partner community to accelerate their growth. They are looking for us to take them to new user opportunities through a partner community," he adds "In the areas we operate we will tend to have very strong market share and very strong levels of customer satisfaction. We want to have a strong market share because of that service and we want to make that service better. Coming out of the integration of the business will redouble our focus on really building that high level of consistency around services."

Nuvias operates with a single European strategy with a view that it reinforces consistency and avoids some of the issues that can come with running the business on an individual country by country basis.

"If we agree we are going to do something with a vendor partner as a group we do it as a group. That plan was built in [from the start] and the plan was that we would seek to put in place a CEO for the business at some point. We need to finish the first phase of acquisitions and in that process also build the business and then integrate. When we get to that phase we need to ad a CEO to that. For us to really achieve the opportunity that it is in front of us we need to separate roles and there is a huge amount for me to do and for Simon to do," he says that he will now be looking more at the corporate strategy and M&A strategy.

The start of next month will see the beginning of the next phase of the Nuvias story with the original concept that saw the distributor emerge just a few years ago continuing to drive the business forward.

"The test for me in the early days was that there was a gap in the market and the thesis was there was a place in the market for a new organisation with scale and the potential to build more scale that can operate across Europe. My conviction was very clear and very strong there was a significant gap in the market to go and build that," he adds "Our vision and mission is to build something different. It was very clear to me there was a gap and very early in the phase the feedback we got was that it was great because there was more choice and a new opportunity for partners."

Solution enabling and partner enabling has been the focus and remain so going forward because Eccleston is convinced that it is the best way to add value.

"We get a lot of approaches from vendors that look at what we are doing and they are excited about it and the number of approaches we get from significant vendor partners is testament that they are looking at what we are doing because they want it now but know they will absolutely need it in the future," he concludes.

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