luchschen_shutter - Fotolia
It has been just seven weeks since Scott Dodds moved into the CEO office at Ultima Business Solutions but he is already looking ahead to 2016 planning the channel player's growth strategy.
The firm, which is weeks away from celebrating its 25th anniversary, hired former Microsoft and VMware channel executive in mid-October with the then incumbent CEO and founder Max McNeill moving into the chairman role.
With a few weeks under his belt Dodds has found a firm that already has the right strategy in place and is now looking to build on that to ensure it can grow more in the years ahead.
The Ultima business is based around four main planks - strategy and planning, asset lifecycle management, consultancy and managed services - and Dodds has plans for each area.
The strategy and planning business provides customers with advisory services around workspace, mobility, cloud and security. In that area there is a separate operation, Ultima Risk Management, and Dodds feels that there can be closer integration to improve the overall services it can offer.
The asset lifecycle management area covers a lot of the traditional reseller activity and continues to be a major contributor to the overall business.
Consultancy and managed services are the other two areas with the firm employing around 250 consultants the plan is to show customers it can deliver at scale and handle user demands for help with end user computing, data centres and cloud. "Those two areas are areas we have invested in over the last few years," said Dodds.
"I want to integrate our strategy so we are able to offer what customers are looking for as they navigate through the hybrid world," he added "These are exciting times and there is massive potential for us to grow. People are looking for the partner of the future."
Dodds said that being able to put a combination of technology, services and crucially security in front of customers meant that it had a very strong proposition and it could tap into the increasing demand for help with business transformation.
Although some partners feel that the role of the reseller is to be agnostic Dodds disagreed and he feels that there is a need for the channel to provide the customer with some guidance.
Time to move
Scott Dodds will be known to most of the channel for the years he spent in a senior European partner role at Microsoft. Last year he chose to move to VMware to become its EMEA vice president of channels and alliances but when the call came from his old Rapid Recall colleague Max McNeill to join Ultima he felt he could not refuse.
"To become a CEO is a great honour and a fantastic opportunity. Seven weeks in and it is getting better day by day," he said about the move he made in mid October.
"Customers want advice and they don't want to say 'what do you want?' that is pointless...I think customers want us to have an opinion," he added "They want to know what your opinion is and then see it followed through with examples."
Some of Ultima's rivals have decided that acquisition is the best way to bolster their managed services and in his role as chairman McNeill has a chance to look at potential targets but there does not seem to be any rush to open the cheque book. Dodds is happy sticking for now with an organic growth strategy.
"The organic route has done us well in the last 25 years and that is the strategy going forward," he added "Our challenge is to continue to grow with getting the right people in, trying to bring the right people and excite them about Ultima."
"We need to shout a little louder in the market and we can make a huge start in the next couple of years with our [offerings] on the consultancy and services side," he concluded.