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Advania looking for further UK expansion

Fresh from rebranding Content+Cloud, the Microsoft partner is focusing on AI and data, and talking of more M&A activity

The decision to rebrand Content+Cloud as Advania is part of a wider ambition to establish the brand as a source of artificial intelligence (AI) and Microsoft expertise in the UK.

The Advania group stretches across Europe, and there are benefits from associated branding, but the UK operation is determined to stand out because of its managed services with a Microsoft focus.

Content+Cloud was picked up by Advania back in late 2021 as a move by the Norwegian firm into the UK market, and it’s continuing to look at M&A activity to take a greater share of the services market.

Geoff Kneen, CEO of Advania, said the firm had identified significant opportunities in the UK and that it was targeting future growth.

“Advania’s stated objective is becoming the leading technology services partner for clients in mid market, low enterprise across northern Europe,” he said. “That was always the intention and that’s why the intention was there to acquire in the UK.”

Advania operates a federated model, allowing each country to run its own business, but there are clear benefits from operating under the same brand.

“The go-forward position from here is very much more how we collaborate and take value from the combined brand and the services that we can cross sell into each other’s markets,” said Kneen. “But the core priority is continuing the consolidation in each market. The UK services market is around about the £50bn a year mark, and so we will look to acquire and further consolidate other portfolio services into the UK business.”

Adding more services

Right now, that focus is around AI and data, but there is also an intention to dip back into the M&A market to add more services.

The firm has identified the need to add more depth around end user compute, productivity and devices as a service.

“We’re also looking very much to consolidate and bring a value-added reseller into the portfolio or the UK business as well,” he said. “The reason that we want to do that is because we want to be a trusted partner to our clients. We don’t want our clients to have to go anywhere else for their strategic technology services.

“Over the next few years, that will evolve into not a capital purchase, but a lifecycle purchase, so that we’re providing that as a full managed service to our clients alongside the managed support services, the SOC services and NOC services that we also provide,” said Kneen.

The rebranding got the thumbs up from Microsoft, which is working with the partner to encourage wider adoption by SMEs of AI tools.

Orla McGrath, global partner solutions lead at Microsoft UK, said it had worked with Content+Cloud for years and understood the value the firm could bring to market.

“The change to the Advania name in the UK tells us that this is a partner looking to build further on its trusted capabilities with a focus on the Group’s long-standing goal: to help people create sustainable value,” she said. “As Microsoft seeks to power the AI economy, we will need partners who have the long-term vision to help organisations embrace the opportunities our technologies offer. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Advania to help even more businesses accelerate towards this world of new possibilities.”

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