UC Insights 2018: ‘Time to Walk the Walk’ says Nimans CMO
We hear from the UK’s leading data and telecom company
As many of our readers already know, Nimans is the UK’s ultimate source for telecoms distribution today, delivering everything from PBXs to headsets to Comms resellers across the UK.
I sat down for a conversation with the Group Chief Marketing Officer behind Nimans, Steve McIntyre, to discuss what the brand has been doing over the last year to better serve its channel partners, and what predictions they have for the future of the communications industry.
Tell Us About What Nimans Have Been Doing in 2017
Steve McIntyre has been the Group Chief Marketing Officer for Nimans for one year now – his first year with the company. However, he’s worked in B2B CMO roles for a decade, meaning he’s earned his chops. I asked Steve what Nimans have been doing over 2017,
“We’ve been looking at our existing suppliers, and making sure that we’re getting the best tools to our partners, so that they can resell in the market in the most effective ways. We’re also focusing on helping partners to recognise where there could be extra margin to be made, while working from the supply side to broaden the scope of what we can offer.”
“We’ve tried to be largely supplier-agnostic, so our partners can choose exactly which brands they want to use.”
On the other side of the coin, Nimans have been looking at communications tools, addressing a white-label strategy to pass their marketing expertise onto resellers that lack the resources they have.
How Have Nimans Continued to Excel in a Software-Focused World?
Recently, Nimans decided to almost double the size of their warehouse in 2017, and Steve told me that the company achieved a huge milestone in October with turnover crossing the £100m mark. In a world that’s becoming increasingly focused on software, I was interested in how Nimans have remained competitive from an on-premises PBX and hardware perspective:
“There’s always going to be a market for on-premises PBX, but even in a software system, you’ve got IP endpoints that need to connect to that solution. Nimans is the number one logistics engine for the telephony industry in the UK. One of the ideas behind expanding the warehouse is that we have a 99.6% on-time, in-full delivery record within 24 hours. That’s better than any other tech logistics company in the UK.”
When it comes to fulfilment, Nimans are the key market player, and that’s one of the things they’ve been promoting in the last year.
“We can offer a full cradle-to-the-grave approach. By adding this extra value, we can attract and retain more partners. While we’re always looking to expand, we want to support our existing partners too, and make sure they’re getting the results they need.”
What Important Evolutions Have Happened in 2017 For You?
I was keen to know if Nimans had experienced any big changes over the course of 2017 because of the transformative nature of the industry. Steve told me that one of the key evolutions for the brand was that they became the sole distributor for Samsung PBX, which means that they can be more direct about the way they go to market now. Steve went on to say:
“I think 2017 was the year when UC was truly delivered. It had been talked about for the last 5 years or so, but it became an acknowledged business process and practice this year. Now, the marketing machines are moving to look at cyber security, and the cloud.”
“While cloud has been talked about a lot, it still hasn’t fully caught on with the mainstream, and I think by the end of 2018, we’ll be looking at a more “hybrid” cloud era.”
“We’ll always be supportive of on-premises PBX at Nimans, but we’ll also be looking at new technology too.”
What Adaptations will Nimans Be Making in the Next 12 Months?
In a time where countless companies are experiencing a process of digital transformation (DX), I wanted to know how Nimans were adapting to the times. Steve told me that the company were already examining what’s happening in the market from a transformation perspective. For instance, the business currently sells a lot of boxed routers, but the rise of SD-WAN will mean planning for a different strategy.
“Another thing is the conversation around 5G, which is set to come in 2020. 5G has the potential to change a lot of business models in the marketplace because it offers huge amounts of bandwidth. Then there’s the potential behind LED WiFi, or “LiFi“, which offers amazing things thanks to the spectrum it operates in.”
“For us, it’s just about changing where necessary and keeping our eye on the marketplace. We already have SIM enabled routers on the marketplace with 4G, when 5G comes along, you might not even need to switch back from 5G to cable.”
Is 5G Going to Be a Big Strategy for Nimans?
Steve went on to say that the Nimans group are currently looking at a 2 or 3-year horizon when it comes to figuring out what new technologies are going to mean for them from a network services and hardware perspective.
“If people are going to start using 5G, then that means that a SIM needs to sit somewhere, so that gives us a hardware opportunity. Then you need to look at how the data flows through the building, so you’re considering wireless desktop handsets, routing, and the security around that.”
The concept of 5G also opens questions around the Internet of Things. After all, the incredible connectivity available could help to make IoT more of a reality.
“I think the idea of LED WiFi will also be an interesting place to look at, since IoT applications are more low data-consumption models.”
What Advice Can You Give Channel Partners for 2018?
Moving forward into 2018, Nimans has plenty of opportunity available to them, and I was keen to find out if Steve had any advice he could offer channel partners for the months ahead. He began by saying that much of the focus in the first half the year is likely to be around the upcoming GDPR, and making sure that people have the right data stored in the most secure ways.
“I think this will be a marketing opportunity for most channel partners, as long as you’re organised and ready for the change.”
Steve also noted that another big trend will be cloud deployment, “we’ll be looking at what happens with Skype for Business, and how that blends into Teams, and whether the change will push more Office 365 deployments.”
“On top of that, you’ve got the fact that a lot of people have deployed Office 365, but they haven’t integrated it into their PBX, so there’s work to be done there too.”
Finally, Steve said that 2018 may be the time for people to start taking transformation more seriously:
“As millennials become a more dominant part of the workforce, we need to embrace more flexible ideals. You don’t have to be sat across from people to have a meeting, you can connect anytime, anywhere, and there’s so much technology available to allow you to do that. Today’s channel partners need to walk the walk, as well as talking the talk.”