The Synaxon UK Member Conference 2019 signalled a ‘new start’ for the channel service group – Mike Barron, Channel Director at Synaxon UK, told PCR about the conference and the investment that is being made to expand the team and deliver new service to its members.
The Synaxon UK Member Conference 2019, which took place in Hinckley last month, was the first that Frank Roebers, CEO of Synaxon AG, had attended. He flew across from Germany, with several members of the executive team, to herald what he described in his opening address as ‘a new start’ for the group.
“For the past decade, our approach has been to develop services exclusively for the UK market. One reason for that was that we were transforming our business model in Germany from being product-focused to services-focused. We’ve now completed that process and over the past five years we have made Synaxon a real success story in Germany. We are now to invest a whole lot of energy and money into Synaxon UK, so that we reach the same level of performance here as we have in Germany. We are kicking off a completely ‘new start’ in the UK.”
The conference and exhibition ran under the banner of ‘New Horizons’ and the group took the opportunity to outline its plans to invest in the UK operation. It also introduced the heads of the five key areas of activity it will now pursue as it attempts to emulate its achievements in its home market.
In Germany, Synaxon is a major force in the channel. It has over 3,000 members and 200 staff and offers a wide range of services and support. The group provides training and enablement and can provide a full consultancy and project management support for its members. Through its Central Purchasing operations, it offers very attractive discounts to its members on a whole range of products and services, and its EGIS procurement platform provides real-time aggregation for 80 top distributors. Synaxon’s marketing activities generate a continuous flurry of leads and opportunities for its members.
A winning formula
The group is now aiming to apply the same formula to the UK and has restructured the UK operations to mirror those of the German set-up. This will focus activity around five key areas – the SynMSP and iTeam communities, the Synaxon Academy education business, Synaxon Managed Services (SMS), and the new Synaxon IT Partner membership status. Senior staff from Germany and the UK have been appointed to lead these initiatives, and UK teams are being recruited for each of them.
Six staff have already been brought in and Synaxon UK has put more resources in place to provide dedicated support for EGIS, its core IT procurement platform, and Central Purchasing, the introduction of which is now being rapidly accelerated.
Mike Barron, channel director at Synaxon UK, said that the reaction of both members and supplier partners to the new approach had been very encouraging.
“The conference was an important moment for us because it was the first time that members and supplier partners really got to hear about the investment and growth plans in detail, and the first opportunity for us to get their feedback. I’m pleased to say the response was hugely positive. The investment that is being put into the UK operation is just phenomenal and with the new services that we’re now introducing, there will be more benefits for existing members and many more ways in which we can help them to develop their skills and grow their business. We’re all very excited about the potential.”
Making a change
Members liked what they heard. Trevor Manners, sales director of Example IT, said: “I have to say I was very impressed. The Synaxon group is clearly putting a great deal of investment into the UK operations and with all the new services coming and new staff joining that can only be good for us. It really does feel like a new start and perhaps we need that, because there is no question that the market is changing and that we have to change with it. We need Synaxon UK to help us and support us in doing that.”
As evidence that the changes are already having a positive effect, Barron points to the runaway success of the SynMSP membership programme in the UK. This really only got started at the beginning of the year and already has more than 60 members signed-up and taking part in regular meetings and exchanges of ideas. This activity has already had some positive results with several new engagements taking place between suppliers and members and Synaxon UK forming a partnership with Ninja RMM.
“The success of SynMSP shows that there is a need and a hunger for new services and programmes that are in-tune with the needs of the needs of members. We will also, through the new IT Partner membership and Central Purchasing, be strengthening what we offer in terms giving members access to a wider choice of products and competitive pricing. This works really well in Germany and we are very confident we can deliver the same benefits to UK members.”
Synaxon UK will be looking to work with more distributors and suppliers and recruit additional members on top of the 600-plus it has already, he noted. “We have a completely new and differentiated proposition that preserves everything that was already good about Synaxon UK but also adds a great deal more, so it really is a new start for us and for our members.”
Building a new team
Synaxon UK has started recruiting additional staff to drive its growth ambitions. More will be added as the month’s go by but the first to join are:
Tony Dell, Strategic Buyer – Tony will be managing the group’s distribution agreements and has previously worked as Purchasing Manager at both VIP Computers and Anixter
Mario Scarpa, EGIS Support Executive – Mario is the new evangelist and support resources for the online procurement system – a key part of Synaxon UK’s offering
Natasha Judge & Terry Hall, Channel Business Development Managers – Natasha and Terry will be working with members and suppliers to drive new opportunities and growth
Robin Martin, Special Bids Support & Central Purchasing Programme Manager – Robin will co-ordinate activity around Central Purchasing and support members on special bids
Alison McMahon, Synaxon UK Academy Manager – Alison will manage and co-ordinate Synaxon’s programme of certification training and enablement services for members
Synaxon UK’s 2019 award winners
At the Member Conference, Synaxon UK presented its annual awards to the following companies…
- Distributor of the Year – Ingram Micro
- Vendor of the Year – AMD
- Specialist Service Supplier of the Year – DMSL
- SynMSP Member of the Year – AML Midlands Limited
- EGIS Member of the Year – The Computer Shop
- Member of the Year – Kogo
- Special Recognition Award – the SynMSP Advisory Board
Check out some pictures from the event below:
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