INTERVIEW WITH SWITCH COMMUNICATIONS





Dominic Campanaro, CEO of data services provider Switch Communications, speaks to the team at LDeX about his background in tech, how his company managed to become the success that it is today and his predictions about what forces IT departments will need to address in 2025.


COULD YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT INTO THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY?

Having graduated with an honours degree in aeronautical engineering from London’s City University, I quickly realised that a career in engineering was not for me and ended up ‘falling’ into sales. Following a successful career which took me from selling photocopiers to telecoms equipment, I took the bold step of setting up my own business and Switch Communications was subsequently born.





TELL US ABOUT THE COMPANY YOU WORK FOR?

We recognised that technology and the resources required to deliver efficient systems were changing radically and have been pioneers in developing systems and networks to help our customers improve their businesses through the use of technology. Our clients needed a trusted partner to deliver integrated managed services in the most efficient way possible. This resulted in the integration of our voice and data service capabilities and the eventual investment in the creation of a market leading core network with our very own cloud based IP platform. In 2012, we added a cloud based hosted voice solution which increased our reach in the VoIP market. With the addition of this solution, we expanded our executive team and have gone on to become a leading name in the industry. Switch Communications was established over two decades ago as the main reseller of Alcatel equipment. Between 1996 and 1997, the company began to expand with two asset purchases of system customer bases from Alcatel. Following this, the company acquired R&R Communications which doubled our revenues and extended Switch’s reach into Wales. In 2003, we developed Switch IP which enabled us to enhance our offering with the delivery of WAN, VoIP and network connectivity solutions. In 2007, Switch acquired Leycom Communications which strengthened our presence in Wales and enabled us to become one of the market leaders in the region.





APART FROM YOUR OWN COMPANY, WHICH OTHER ORGANISATION DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?

I would have to say Exponential-e as it is a company which is quite similar to Switch Communications. With a core vision that IP and Ethernet is the future of networking and telecoms, the company has gone on to be extremely successful through organic growth, which is extremely rare in the industry.





WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST DRIVERS OF CHANGE IN THE DATACENTRE MARKET?

Application management and the explosion of end user demand for tailored services, specific to business and end user client need, have driven a massive expansion in the requirement for centralised compute resource. Whether this is private and hosted on a business’s own infrastructure or publicly sourced from a cloud software provider the reliance on distributed information sources is increasingly a major benefit and a risk to business. Interconnection between service providers and the method of delivery to the applications end user has resulted in the need to review the efficiency of the IT infrastructure supporting all the interwoven applications. Datacentres are at the core of this change and are the most efficient method of delivering services to office sites and remote workers. As the use of applications, and the links between systems, expands then security concerns increasingly become critical. Datacentres are critical to this expansion and the low latency performance, security and cost efficiency they deliver is critical to the efficient use of IT services.





WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY BEING IN 2025?

Up in the clouds? Seriously – probably more mobility in terms of personalised devices With the number of devices connected to the internet expected to increase exponentially to 40 billion in 2020, IT departments need to ensure that they will have accurately forecasted the capacity and bandwidth required for hosting the growing number of applications in their datacentres. Employees expect seamless access to necessary software and enterprise resources from a variety of devices, regardless of who owns them. As it stands, the much talked about Internet of Things has caused frenzy amongst colocation providers with regards to the security requirements which will need to be in place to cope with the enormous amount of data which will be transferred between devices without human intervention. More hosted solutions I predict that more hosted solutions will be available to enterprise customers in 2025, helping them to achieve their business goals. As well as this, the market for VoIP and remote desktop will become more competitive with more vendors looking to increase their market share. Competition and price pressure will create innovation. Anyone who stands still and doesn’t listen to consumer demand will end up delivering a me-too product. We are innovators and are constantly adapting to deliver the services our customers need as their businesses evolve. Many of our deployments are bespoke and we take pleasure in delivering value specific to their needs. Wi-Fi to be more readily available and increased take-up of cloud use in the SME market Wi-Fi services will be more widely available and there will be an increase in the take-up of cloud solutions, particularly from smaller vendors in the SME market.





FINALLY, WHAT’S THE GREATEST CHALLENGE FOR AN IT DEPARTMENT TODAY?

Keeping abreast with technological advancements With new technologies being developed by the day, IT departments will need to ensure that staff are trained in line with these system advancements to keep up with customer expectations and requirements. As it stands, technological advancements are outpacing existing skillsets and expertise in the IT department. This is an ongoing issue which needs to be addressed. Interdependence of applications, many of them cloud based, will create increased security risks for business. More and more companies will outsource their hosting requirements to cloud and colocation providers, which will enable in-house IT departments to focus on aligning the company’s IT strategy to the corporate vision. With a growing mobile workforce, the company will need to continue to have processes in place to mitigate against network attacks and data loss. Increasingly legislation and corporate responsibility for data management will increase pressure on the corporate IT department to outsource technical services to a trusted partner so that they can focus on the efficiency of their core business.







INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW BATEMAN, CEO OF ICT NORTHWEST







Matthew Bateman, CEO of ICT Northwest, speaks to the team at LDeX about how he transformed his business from that of a small computer shop in the north west of England into a successful growing managed services provider with an expanding client base in the United Kingdom. He gives his predictions about where he sees the industry in 2025 and the biggest challenges which are being faced by IT departments today.



COULD YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT INTO THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY?

Back in 2000, I’d been working in a small computer shop in order to gain some industry experience whilst completing a Higher National Diploma. At the time, the shop was experiencing some financial difficulties and I managed to raise the required finance to buy my boss out. It quickly became apparent that the retail sector probably wasn’t going to be what I’d hoped for, so I found a niche supporting IT systems for local businesses. In 2004, we closed down the retail shop and relocated to an industrial unit in order to concentrate on the B2B side of the business – this involved us dropping 50% of our turnover and was obviously a risky strategy. Since then, we have had both good and bad times particularly through the recession. Over the past 2 years, we have overseen a number of major changes being implemented within the business. One of the key changes which we have brought into place was that we created a cloud network platform in order to offer services to clients that not all of our competitors can. Most of all, it’s a solution we are in control of which means we aren’t reliant on third parties.





TELL US ABOUT THE COMPANY YOU WORK FOR?

At the moment, the company is in a transition period as we are rebranding the business from ICT Northwest to ICT UK in order to reflect where the company is going in servicing customers all over the United Kingdom. As a company, we are focused on providing network installation and support services covering both voice and data throughout the UK. A major development for the company in 2012 was the creation of our own cloud infrastructure platform which enabled us to offer highly complex cloud services and hosting solutions to our customers. The environment has been designed and built using state of the art equipment. This means that we can deliver highly advanced benefits to our customers who choose to migrate their networks into our cloud – either wholly or partially.





APART FROM YOUR OWN COMPANY, WHICH OTHER ORGANISATION DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?

Totally unrelated to technology, but I have to say – The Innocent Smoothie company. I just like the brand, the ethos, the products and how they market themselves. If I had to pick a technology company, it would have to be Apple for the way they have made technology cool instead of geeky. You also have to admire how they managed to come from a position of weakness to a great success!





WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST DRIVERS OF CHANGE IN THE DATACENTRE MARKET?
The main drivers of change which I see in the datacentre market would have to be the following:


    • Consumerisation of IT
    • Cloud technologies
    • Mobilisation
    • The App culture
    • Always on customer requirement






WHERE DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY BEING IN 2025?

Up in the clouds? Seriously – probably more mobility in terms of personalised devices With the number of devices connected to the internet expected to increase exponentially to 40 billion in 2020, IT departments need to ensure that they will have accurately forecasted the capacity and bandwidth required for hosting the growing number of applications in their datacentres. Employees expect seamless access to necessary software and enterprise resources from a variety of devices, regardless of who owns them. As it stands, the much talked about Internet of Things has caused frenzy amongst colocation providers with regards to the security requirements which will need to be in place to cope with the enormous amount of data which will be transferred between devices without human intervention. More hosted solutions I predict that more hosted solutions will be available to enterprise customers in 2025, helping them to achieve their business goals. As well as this, the market for VoIP and remote desktop will become more competitive with more vendors looking to increase their market share. Competition and price pressure will create innovation. Anyone who stands still and doesn’t listen to consumer demand will end up delivering a me-too product. We are innovators and are constantly adapting to deliver the services our customers need as their businesses evolve. Many of our deployments are bespoke and we take pleasure in delivering value specific to their needs. Wi-Fi to be more readily available and increased take-up of cloud use in the SME market Wi-Fi services will be more widely available and there will be an increase in the take-up of cloud solutions, particularly from smaller vendors in the SME market.





WHAT IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE FOR AN IT DEPARTMENT TODAY?

Keeping abreast with technological advancements With new technologies being developed by the day, IT departments will need to ensure that staff are trained in line with these system advancements to keep up with customer expectations and requirements. As it stands, technological advancements are outpacing existing skillsets and expertise in the IT department. This is an ongoing issue which needs to be addressed. Interdependence of applications, many of them cloud based, will create increased security risks for business. More and more companies will outsource their hosting requirements to cloud and colocation providers, which will enable in-house IT departments to focus on aligning the company’s IT strategy to the corporate vision. With a growing mobile workforce, the company will need to continue to have processes in place to mitigate against network attacks and data loss. Increasingly legislation and corporate responsibility for data management will increase pressure on the corporate IT department to outsource technical services to a trusted partner so that they can focus on the efficiency of their core business.



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