Industry and distribution veteran Johnny Ellis has crossed into reseller land for the first time, rocking up as sales and marketing director at York-based Microsoft enterprise licensing partner Phoenix Software.
Ellis, who only exited Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions at the end of November, will also control the S&M functions at sister company License Dashboard, which provides software asset management.
The remit handed to the man is to obviously beef up the top line goodness, partly by generating more sales in the south of England with new hires - a regional office is not yet in the offing.
“This was a chance to do something different,” he told us, “working with a large reseller, looking for new vendors and defining sales and marketing strategies.”
Life for Microsoft’s small band of Licensing Solutions Partners, which includes Phoenix, has got tougher in recent years as the US firm slashed fees for selling to large enterprises and upped them in the mid-market.
The impact has been apparent on some channel partners’ numbers, notably Insight Enterprises.
At Phoenix - which majors on public sector clients but deals with commercial organisations too - sales in the year to 31 October - the last filed at Companies House - were up to £87.2m from £83.4m. Profit edged up 5.3 per cent to £5.3m.
Phoenix is understood to have hit the £100m mark in the most recent fiscal, according to Ellis. Custoemrs include a raft of NHS Trusts, blue light services and local government.
The response to the fee changes from Microsoft’s enterprise partners, in line with falling product margins across the wider channel, is to try to build bigger, more profitable services wings.
Ellis is mindful of not chucking the baby out with the bath water by dumping its product resell business, a mistake made in the past by Fujitsu Services, Morse and networking services firm Calyx.
“We are continuing to sell products as a means to sell services,” he said, “we are financially stable with no debts, and can use this position to grow the business”. ®