Managing director Adam Bradley speaks to Sooraj Shah about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on his business.
Ekco is a managed services provider that provides infrastructure-as-a-service, disaster recovery-as-a-service and backup as-a-service products with a managed service wrap.
It has a presence in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, and ambitions to expand into the US and other European countries over the next two years.
Adam Bradley, managing director and head of the UK at Ekco, explains that the current environment hasn’t dampened the company’s growth plans, particularly as the pandemic has not had a detrimental effect to date on the company’s finances.
However, Bradley explains that the company has experienced a change in customer demand since lockdown began.
“We were already providing many customers with services to enable them to work remotely, but although they had the ability to work remotely, their users didn’t necessarily have the correct set-up,” he says. “So we were helping out our client’s IT teams to either procure or secure their home working environments for those users,” he says.
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This involved procuring laptops, securing bring-your-own-device environments, and making sure that when users had an existing home PC that they were using to connect to the hosted service, that machine was up-to-date and protected.
This initial demand in March and April has now settled down, but there is still demand from many customers for hosted desktop services and hosted managed cloud services.
“I guess for those businesses that didn’t have that set-up originally, there was definitely a demand for those services, particularly with some companies being less busy,” he says. “It may have given them an opportunity to reassess their strategy and structure and that is why we saw an uptick in enquiries.”
Large enterprise versus SME customers
Bradley explains that there is still cautiousness in the market for very large infrastructure projects, as a result of coronavirus.
“In enterprises with more than 500-plus employees, a lot of bigger ticket infrastructure projects have been put on hold, but in the SME market space, our existing customers have a lot of projects on the go that they wanted to complete this year, and these have not been shelved,” he says.
The reasons for this contrast are straightforward; large enterprise projects that involve transforming infrastructure will have a much higher cost – usually in the millions – and at a time when there is financial uncertainty, the logical move for many businesses is to put any big investments on hold.
Bradley also suggests that another reason for this is because smaller businesses tend to be able to react more quickly to circumstances like this.
“They are either still privately owned, or they might have a small percentage of external investment, unlike large corporate PLCs who are thinking let’s hold on to our cash,” he says. “Because they are big oil tankers, they can’t quickly plan; they are not as agile.”