The deal sees Barry, who spent 16 years leading the UK Channel for Avaya and Unify, join Atrium Telecom as a Director of Business Development. Furthermore, SmartTasking, with whom Barry has been consulting, will also become shareholders within the business.
With some 30+ years’ experience, we took the opportunity to catch up with Barry and find out what was behind this move and what the future now holds for Atrium Telecom.
“After Avaya and Unify I took the opportunity to take a break and spend time with my new grandchildren, but I started getting itchy feet to get back into the industry.”
“I knew the guys at Atrium well. I looked at their business and thought it had a great reputation within the channel, but I could see how they could do more and bigger things,” explained Barry Tuffs, Director of Business Development. “Atrium provides a lot of professional services around Avaya and Panasonic such as installation and maintenance but as part of the growth plans we will be looking invest further in extending our Avaya skillset as well as look at other vendors too so that we can support more channel partners. Everything we do will have the channel at the heart of it as we are here to help the channel with the services that we offer. We are not going to compete with the channel in any shape or form. The channel is our primary route to market and I firmly believe in the channel”
Atrium Telecom was formed in October 2007 by four Telecommunication engineers to provide a bespoke professional services portfolio to the partner channel throughout the UK & Ireland. When asked about the future and where he sees Atrium investing and growing Barry added, “I think that Unify and a number of other vendors will be on the horizon. I’ve invested in this business to grow it and we will look at where the opportunity is and invest where needed. The cloud is also another area where the channel needs support and we already provide some support around Avaya and their cloud proposition, but we’d be looking to extend our capabilities to other cloud vendors and ITSP’s.”
In addition to Barry’s own investment into Atrium, SmartTasking have also bought a share in the company. SmartTasking was formed by three key industry figures, Neil Anderson, Gary Gamp and Paul Bibby about 2 years ago as an out-tasking business whereby they approach businesses and look to help them overcome challenges with an outcome. Barry had been working with SmartTasking when the opportunity with Atrium came up and he saw numerous opportunities and synergies between the two companies. “An example is where a company employs project managers that may either be under-utilised if there’s a shortage of orders or over stretched during busy periods. SmartTasking have a PM team that can be where they can take away the peak from business owners. That’s just one of the ideas we have with Atrium where they can promote this service to their channel partners that they can sell to end user customers or start using themselves,” continued Barry.
I also asked Barry how he saw the future for Avaya now that they have emerged from Chapter 11. “If you’d have asked me this question 24 months ago I would have had to have said that the future was looking decidedly uncertain but I have to tip my hat and congratulate Avaya who have come out of Chapter 11 pretty strongly with all guns blazing. I think the UK team have done a fantastic job, they’re at all the industry events, their marketing is excellent, they’re supporting their channel partners really well. It’s an area that Atrium has an expertise in and it’s an area that we will continue to invest in and support Avaya.”
Barry concluded that “Atrium is a great business and we’ve just had some significant investment and management to help grow the business. We are here to support the channel partner community. Where our skillset is today won’t be where it will be in the very near future. But we’re here to help the partners sell whether that be going out to see customers, do demonstrations, whatever’s required providing we get the installation and maintenance aspect.”