Engineer UC voip


Redwood acquired by TimicoLast week we integrated the Redwood brand into Timico. Redwood was a specialist Unified Communications business we acquired last year.

There are two different ways of integrating another business. You can do it well or you can do it badly. There are also two different speeds. I recall that Cisco, a company that has made many acquisitions in its time, has a defined process with dedicated teams to do the job. On day one they change the acquired brand to Cisco and then there are well rehearsed steps over a period of three months or so until all aspects of the old brand are erased. No doubt a few people get erased at the same time although companies like Cisco are known to buy small technology businesses just to acquire the talent.

It’s no different in our game really. We bought Redwood for a combination of channel to market and the talent of their people. However the nature of our business is different to a product manufacturer such as Cisco. Our customers largely buy services from us and they buy them on a recurring basis. Every month. The other thing to note is that the services they buy from us are by and large mission critical to their business.

We love all our customers. They pay our wages. We do our best to keep them happy so that they want to keep on paying our wages. The last thing we want to do is upset them. Now in the networking game the time of greatest risk is when something changes. A small config change here can have big ramifications there. A kind of butterfly effect for business. So we want to be very careful when we make changes.

The same applies when you change a brand. When integrating company not only are you changing the look of a business but you are potentially changing the way it feels to do business with you. People don’t like change so you have to do it carefully.

When integrating Redwood we want Redwood’s customers to feel as if things are working just as well as they were in the good old days when they were dealing with Redwood as opposed to this new company called Timico that they might never have heard of. We might in our ever so optimistic dreams dare to hope that Redwood customers will think things are even better than they were before though we would settle for them thinking things were just same. “Name change? Oh ok that’s fine” is the reaction we want.

What we don’t want is “What’s gone wrong with my bill. Why have you charged me twice? Where has Fred gone? Fred always used to sort out my problem. It was never like this when it was Redwood”.

That’s why we like to take time over the integration of an acquisition. We want to make sure it goes well. The telecommunications industry abounds with stories of market consolidation and company acquisitions that have gone wrong. We love it actually because it generates churn in a company’s customer base and someone else’s churn is our sales opportunity. I even heard of one highly acquisitive business whose business plan assumed a 30% churn in customers post acquisition. That’s not how we like to work.

If my memory serves me right we have bought seven companies in nearly ten years of doing business. We have learnt a few lessons along the way but our general principle is that we want to build a business of real value to all our stakeholders. That means real value to shareholders, staff and of course customers. We want to keep every single customer.  That’s a difficult objective in a highly competitive market where competitors sometimes not only drop their pants to win a deal but run naked down a customer’s drive shouting “I won’t put my clothes back on until you give me the business”.

I’m pleased to say the integration of Redwood has gone very well. Customers have had time to get used to the idea and all were contacted well in advance to let them know about the new name. It’s felt like business as usual throughout the whole process.

That isn’t to say there wasn’t a huge amount of work going on in the background. Integration of CRM and billing systems for example. Lots of testing before D Day. We had a few IT glitches along the way but nothing that was customer affecting and the team worked really hard to get it all sorted.

Funnily enough when I asked the one of the Redwood team how it went the answer was “boringly not much to say really.” That’s a great answer. The right answer.

Winning new customers is just about the hardest thing to do in our game. It’s a lot easier to sell to someone with who you already have a trusted relationship. Now Redwood Timico Unified Communications has a whole new existing customer base to sell to. Customers who already trust Timico with their mission critical services. Exciting really. Welcome aboard guys. We appreciate you and value your contribution 🙂

PS sorry if I come across very emulsional there. It happens sometimes 🙂

Business UC voip

Timico Technology Group acquires Redwood Telecommunications < good stuff

Redwood Telecommunications - a great asset to the Timico Technology GroupI am pleased to announce that as of today we have Redwood Telecommunications as a new member of the Timico Technology Group.  London based Redwood is a highly professional  provider of communications solutions with particular expertise in Mitel and Avaya IP telephony systems.

This is is a highly strategic acquisition for both parties. It beefs up Timico’s capabilities in the VoIP systems space and gives us a base in London. Like it or not London is where a lot of the commercial action is in this world. Redwood also has a great list of customers that includes Jimmy Choo – my daughter will be after a discount !:).

Redwood, which will continue to be run by the same management team under MD Charlie Whelpton, will benefit from gaining access to the Timico network, system and data centre assets and skills.

This is a very exciting world to be working in but you have to be one of the players. There is no point in sitting on your hands and watching the world pass by.

It is interesting though that whilst we see a lot of hype surrounding new technologies & platforms aka the current frenzy over the Facebook IPO at the end of the day1 it is sticking to the basics that makes long term value and sense.

Warren Buffet, for example, invests mostly in areas of businesses that he sees value in rather than those that attract all the media interest. In our business, communications, we need the technology but most important is the investment in relationship with, and the attitude towards the customer. The customer is king. No customers = no business. Lots of happy customers = long term business value. Timico is in the value game.

Redwood’s philosophy fits very well with that of the rest of the group and I look forward to working with the team.

1 when all’s said and done etc 🙂