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Interview: Simon England, Nuvias CEO

With the first quarter of his tenure completed the boss of Nuvias shared his thoughts about his role leading the distributor

The first 100 days in the top job are already under his belt but it is already clear to Simon England, the recently appointed CEO at Nuvias, that the distributor is in a strong position.

Nuvias has been going since the summer of 2016,  after combining the security player Wick Hill and networking expertise of Zycko with backing from Rigby Private Equity. UC player Siphon was added to the portfolio and until April Paul Eccleston sat in the  CEO chair. But with the decision made to look for some fresh input England was seen as the ideal candidate to start the next chapter of the business and came on board with a brief to take the firm to the next level, with Eccleston moving into the executive chairman role.

Under Eccleston’s tenure a lot of the structure has been built with the three main pillars of cyber security, networking and UC expertise already in place. But there is more that England believes can be done to provide the distributor's reseller and vendor partners with greater value.

"One of the reasons why I'm here is because there was a real meeting of minds with Paul, and a shared understanding of how we read the business and where it was going. There was an opportunity for somebody to come in to build on the original value proposition and further refine our different way of doing things. We may describe our reading of the market with different words, but it's very, very, similar," he says.

"Want to be a channel success driver, both for our reseller and vendor partners, we need to have people who understand the solutions and go-to-market requirements deeper and who can understand and relate to what it takes to successfully engage new opportunities, versus just trying to position a product," he adds.

"Then services enablement is connected to skill enablement. From the start the original thinking was not to make this simply an added feature of our distribution setup; we want to make it the core of the proposition and make this a new way’ – the meaning of the word Nuvias to help support partners success" he adds.

So far England's focus has been on meeting the Nuvias teams and he has spent a lot of time understanding where the business is and how people internally have experienced working for the business.

"It's been really insightful and I learned a lot in that period "There were some ideas for improvement, lots of initiative and lots of loyalty to the company from what I saw."

Turning to the vendors the pressure is always there to deliver results but England has also noticed that the expectations of what Nuvias can provide are also high.

"I think vendors expect more from us and that opens up a willingness to have different conversations and it creates different questions like, How can you help me unlock new opportunities? How can you help me to develop my business? How can you help me get opportunities I don't feel I'm getting with others?"

"As a distribution business we have to get the basic tasks right. We still have to be reachable for our customers and we still have to be responsive and provide best-in-class service levels," he adds "Anything you add on top of that requires excellence of execution underneath."

"In an ideal world, what we're creating is a positive, virtuous spiral where the better we execute, the better we get into more meaningful discussions beyond execution. The better we understand what really moves the needle for our partners, the better we can be in taking those insights back into vendor discussions and the better we can be at creating qualified and relevant opportunities for partners; and that's what we are trying to do," he says.

In its role as a value added distributor the internal teams at Nuvias are looking for solution building opportunities that can not only meet customer problems but add greater depth to what otherwise might just be a single product pitch. Vendors are also looking for a partner that can enrich its technology and add more to the package. Customers are also looking for resellers to be more inventive in terms of the pitch.

That message around the ecosystem requiring more is one that gets relayed to Nuvias staff, with it clear what the difference is that the distributor can bring into the process: "If we are just delivering what the vendor wants and just delivering what the customer wants we are missing out on the opportunity to support our partners proactively and promote our real product partnership with Nuvias."

On a personal level the latest role has not just given him the chance to reconnect with some former colleagues, including most notable Nuvias executive chairman Eccleston, but to also have a different channel role.

"People have been asking me 'how is it going? How are you enjoying it?' The adjective I have been using most is that's it’s refreshing," he adds "Nuvias is a highly specialised business and it's something else to be leading a so specialised business than to be running a specialist division in a bigger company."

He has come in understanding the volume and value side of distribution and has been exposed to a wide range of experiences but he has found the Nuvias approach is genuinely different. The determination to add value is one that resonates with vendors looking for greater levels of support from distribution and with resellers keen to get involved with someone who has identified solutions and opportunities.

England believes that on the strong existing foundations the business can be developed and enhance its proposition further.

"I don't think anything that I have bought in has been revolution; I think it's been confirmation of the direction Nuvias is travelling. We have been helping teams understand the cornerstones: excellent execution of the basics, being a proactive enabler of winning for both vendor and reseller partners and being the ‘go-to-guys’ for upsell opportunities. Helping us understand what it takes to accelerate as an organisation is also important and we have some seriously great people in the company coordinating a common drive and direction. Doing business as usual is not good enough for us; we need to be ahead of the game and we can't do that without our people. They are exposed to customers, vendors and others in the industry so unlocking their insights and involving them in the future of the business is part of the journey," he says.

"Stage two is harnessing the existing potential and what do we have to do next step by step to move us on that journey," he concludes.

Simon England

England and Ecclestone worked together around the SDG acquisition by Tech Data and so he comes into the role with a deep understanding not only of the distribution landscape but also with previous relationships with most of the leadership team at Nuvias.

England has a CV that not only includes time at Tech Data in various roles, including most recently the svp nextgen technologies & specialist VAD business EMEA, but also spells at Comstor and Ingram Micro.

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