“Our plan is to grow the business threefold over the next three years” – Michael O’Hara
Darren O’Loughlin of Business Plus Magazine recently sat down with Michael O’Hara, MD of DataSolutions, to discuss the business’s recent expansion in the UK at the beginning of 2016.
Darren: Michael I would like to thank you for taking the time to sit down with my today. I know your schedule has been very busy as of late.
Michael: It’s no problem Darren, I’m happy to do it.
D: I wanted to open by asking you more about DataSolutions’ business proposition. What is it that sets you apart in the market?
M: DataSolutions is channel-only distributor, i.e. we distribute to resellers and they sell to business customers. This model has stood us well down the years and will into the future. We particularly look to spot new distributive vendors who can change business models. These vendors need specialist distributors like us to take their technologies into various market, which in our case means Ireland and the UK. Essentially we provide disruptive vendors with a read-to-go market.
D: Why did you decide to target the UK market?
M: Our strategic plan is to grown our business threefold over the next three years and this will on be achieved by expanding into a new marketing like the UK. Another significant factor comes from our partnership with Nutanix, a global vendors of hyper-converged infrastructure. We have an excellent track record of achieving results for emerging technology companies.
We expect our UK operations to grow to the same size as our Irish business by 2018, targeting €40m in revenues in Ireland in the same year. Our UK strategy is to focus primarily on 15 high-potential enterprise resellers that can deliver an average of £2m turnover per annum to DataSolutions.
D: In practical terms, what’s the best way for an Irish SME to expand into the UK?
M: Before you begin expanding, you have to ensure that you have the internal resources to pull it off. Anyone can open in the UK but if you are not proactive and don’t have the right team to lead the expansion, you won’t win the business. Leveraging existing relationships in the UK and networking with our existing vendor partners has been fundamentally important. It is the ‘Feet on the Ground’ knowledge that you need before you make that final decision to expand. As well as this, companies should focus their efforts on networking, attending business functions, etc.
D: What can the Irish government do to help business like yours?
M: The expansion of the “knowledge economy” has led to significant growth in employment in the services sector, but as a service business we receive limited support from state agencies. These is great support available if you business is in the software and high-tech development sector, but there is little support for the likes of DataSolutions, who are expanding and growing Irish employment to support this expansion.