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We talk to Paul Ashley about Brigantia's new initiative

It’s a time of change for Brigantia

Since becoming a PLC, Paul Ashley has become MD and is taking the organisation in a new direction. PCR finds out more about the company’s plans for the future.

So what’s changed for Brigantia in the last few months?
What’s changed is that we want to reposition Brigantia from being perceived as just a buying group to a real community of members and partners, both partners who are our member and then partners who are vendors and distributors. We’re also working on a new website that will be developed over the coming year.

We have a new initiative, National Laptop Repair, which has just been launched – in fact it was originally set up by one of our members.

You go on as a consumer, and then one of three things happens. You’ll be directed to a local member who can fix the person’s laptop – actually, any computer or anything with a screen such as smartphones or tablets. Or that member will say I can’t fix it but I know someone who can – and then they will link them to Cambridge Laptop Repair, which has a specialist team that can fix just about anything. Or, they might say the computer’s too old to be worth fixing, perhaps it’s time to start looking at something new. Hopefully the members will be doing good business out of it.

Can you describe Brigantia in a nutshell?
Our raison d’etre is to add value to our members’ business. Yes, we can do that by reducing costs but, what we aim to do increasingly is add value by helping members find new income from their current customer base. So we’re leveraging their major asset, their customers.

In a number of different ways we will help them get that extra income through the provision of different services and great prices. For example, many of our members are passionate about IT and very talented and able, but sometimes not as good at creating recurring business.

We’re passionate about community, and to underpin that, in the first quarter of next year we’re launching a
share options scheme, which means we will be giving share options out to our members against certain criteria.

It’s good to have a community of people to stand alongside you, who can offer help and support when needed.
I hope that’s the case. In the past, Brigantia has been viewed by some in a slightly cynical way. We might be right for a great deal on credit card transactions or leases, and we might have a fantastic deal with C2000, but there’s a lot more on offer.

The other thing we want to do – and we’ve had a lot of interest in this, is some of our members don’t have enough staff to have a marketing department, so we’re going to set one up here that can – when our members permit it – talk to their customers on their behalf about all the services available to them.

We’ve been talking about it for a long time, but cloud services in particular seem very popular.
Cloud has been a buzzword for some time now, especially in the business sector. We’ve just gone past the tipping point for cloud. The business case is a given now – people are using it for production servers and not just disaster

It’s a dinner party conversation now, someone will start talking about cloud, and others wonder if they’re losing competitive advantage by not being in the cloud.

Over the coming years it will be a major part of our business, and it goes back to the idea of recurring revenue too.

Some people worry that they won’t be physically installing servers any more – well, they’ll still be doing it, only installing and managing them virtually.

Any final thoughts?
Brigantia is going to become more about added value, helping members grow businesses. I also want to grow the members a lot – to add as many as we possibly can.

We’ve just created a strategic alliance with CompTIA – we’ve created a Gold membership that offers a good saving if you want to be a member of both organisations, with a cost of £360 per annum over £420.


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