As Cloudsource gets ready to enter its fifth year, we caught up with Managing Director, Carl Lowe, to take a look back at the year that’s been and find out what’s in store for 2019.
1. What do you think has lead to Cloudsource’s rapid growth in the past 4 years?
I think it’s really down to having a fantastic product range, which we’ve continually added to over the years by launching new services that we believe will benefit our customers. When we started out in 2014 it was all about cloud telecoms and mobile, whereas now we offer over 19 different solutions including utilities, advertising on hold and IP security. This means we can offer customers all their key business services from one provider with one monthly bill. This really resonates with many small businesses as it makes their lives simpler and means we can offer cost savings.
Our products also reflect changes in the market, such as the adoption of cloud services. Speaking to our customers, we know that taking control of their online reputation is a big concern so our most recent addition, Cloud Review, is a marketing tool that helps businesses manage their online review platforms (like TripAdvisor and Facebook) from one dashboard.
2. What’s been your proudest moment to date?
There’s been a few, but winning the Comms Business “Reseller of the Year” award for two years on the trot definitely stands out! Getting recognition from industry bodies is a real measure of success. Being among Ericsson-LG’s top global resellers for the last few years is another highlight.
3. How many customers have you worked with?
It’s obviously changing all the time, but as of early October 2018 we’ve worked with over 500 customers and migrated over 864 sites to the Cloud. Not bad for four years in business!
4. What has Cloudsource got in the pipeline for 2019?
Our focus will always be on growth but without losing sight of our existing customers. We also want to grow and invest in our Cloud IT division, I think this will be the year that that really takes off. Cloud services like Dropbox and AWS are so commonplace in offices these days that customers are now beginning to truly see the value of moving their IT to the cloud.
5. How do you see the market changing over the next few years?
I think we’ll see the shift towards cloud technology really start to accelerate. Costs will no doubt go down, lowering the barrier to entry – although cloud is already a very competitive option.
Building automation has been around for a while, but IOT and the cloud have brought about a new wave of “smart buildings” thanks to cheaper and simpler installation and energy cost-saving potential. Imagine the different key elements of an office building – fire systems, lighting, telephones and computing – all talking to the cloud, offering data and insights in to how the property can be run more efficiently and cost-effectively. This is already popular in parts of Asia such as Korea and I can see it being increasingly adopted over here.
6. What new and emerging technologies are you most excited by?
I’m particularly intrigued by the move towards smart buildings and business cloud automation; integrating all parts of business systems via cloud services. Imagine intelligent systems that can monitor performance, pinpoint areas of inefficiency and make adjustments to improve those, and alert staff about issues. Cloud automation will help businesses make better decisions about how and when they use their resources – how can you not get excited about that?
7. What key lessons have you learned in the last 4 years?
Listening to our customers is a lesson I learned early on, and which went on to become part of our core company values. Even the harsh truths push you to become better!
I’ve also learned that having a good structure and management team is the key to running a successful business. After we had put in place an Ops Manager, Technical Director and Customer Services Manager – and we moved up existing members of the team in to these positions, who already had a lot of experience with our products and processes – it made a world of difference to the day-to-day running of the business. Customers can see that too, as it means we can provide a better service to them.
We’ve undergone a fundamental structural shift in recent months but I’m happy to say I’m now firmly back in the driving seat with a fantastic team around me, and we’ll be working hard to make Cloudsource bigger and better for staff and customers.
8. Why Cloud technology?
Running a business today is hard enough – you’ve got millions of competing providers, complex pricing with myriad options and rigid service contracts – but cloud cuts through that. It enables you to offer a simple pricing structure, plus it’s flexible so it can be custom-fitted to any business. Look around; we demand customisation from everything we purchase these days, from clothes to homes. Also Cloud’s agile working capability, enabling employees to work from anywhere on any device, means cloud technology is revolutionising the workplace and, essentially, improving our working lives.
9. How do you see Cloudsource developing in the next decade?
I like to think that we’ll become established in Europe in the next few years and ultimately become a global business. The technology we offer simply needs a internet connection, so there’s not much holding us back!
10. What’s the secret to your success?
As I touched on before, it’s all about the people you bring in to the business and putting them in positions where they can grow and be their best. Get a great team in place and you can achieve anything! It sounds corny but there you go.