Big plans afoot at Centerprise International

After a strong financial year for Centerprise International, Rob Horgan paid a visit to the company’s HQ to see what lies ahead for the IT solutions provider
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IS IT A manufacturer, a managed services provider or a distie? A system integrator or a value-added reseller? Centerprise International is in fact all and none of the above. Instead, the company sees itself as a ‘flexible and agile IT solutions provider’, able to adapt to a client’s wants and needs. 

As CEO Jeremy Nash says: “We do everything from manufacturing and reselling to providing integrated solutions and managed services at Centerprise International. We can do the full package. There are very few companies of our size that offer the scope of services that we can.”

The premise is to streamline what was previously an ‘unnecessarily complex’ process. As its iconic chairman Rafi Razzak explains: “When I first got involved with the Channel 30 or so years ago I noticed that a client would go to a company for its IT solutions. That company would then need to outsource to a number of subcontractors that just adds cost to the customer. It follows the British builders’ model of starting at one price and then adding extras on to that, until the end price is nowhere near the starting point. It made sense to me to try and do as much as possible under one roof to keep the amount of outsourcing to a minimum.” 

And that thinking has been integral to Centerprise’s success for three decades and will continue being key moving forwards. Despite generating a 26 per cent year-on-year revenue increase for the last financial year, Centerprise is not resting on its laurels. Busying investing in everything from a new cafeteria at its Basingstoke HQ to acquiring a number of new companies, Centerprise has been expanding and improving its services over the last year. In the last 12 months, the company has completed mergers with SAMcraft and 23 Technology. It also plans to more than double the size of its operations facility in Wales. 

As group commercial director Jon Atherton observes ‘big changes are afoot’. “I have seen a huge change from top to bottom in all areas of the company,” Atherton adds. “The company has been investing in so many more people and has opened up 35 or so new positions in the last six months alone. It is certainly going from strength to strength. Rafi’s appetite and drive to grow Centerprise is a strong as I have ever seen it. A lot of money has been invested over the past 18 months and that is already starting to prove successful.” 

And Razzak has big plans for the 12 months ahead. “In the next financial year, we are hoping to see 35 per cent growth, and we believe that is achievable,” he says. “There are several emerging markets that we are already in the process of gaining a foothold in. VR and IoT are two big areas that we are hoping to get involved with. In IoT we would be focusing on the B2B side of things. It is not about just having the latest products but explaining to clients how IoT can be used as part of a solution to help improve their business. We are already in talks with a number of companies that have developed IoT solutions, but perhaps don’t have the same presence in the market as we do. Hopefully this is something we can finalise adding another string to our bow.” 

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In terms of VR, Razzak sees Centerprise deploying the new technology as an ‘educational or training’ tool for existing and new clients, as well as a way to expand its presence within the gaming arena. In particular, Centerprise is looking to bring VR to the MoD. An RAF commissioned engineering officer for 23 years, Nash believes that VR would be a ‘fantastic tool’ for training exercises across the armed forces. Contracted to provide the MoD with a number of IT solutions, Nash says that the public sector has become more accessible to smaller companies. 

“Winning more sizeable contracts in the public sector has become much more realistic for us,” Nash claims. “It is a good time to be involved in the public sector and it is helping to drive our revenue up.” 

And Nash’s ties to the Armed Forces have also allowed Centerprise to become involved in a number of extra initiatives outside of the business world. Most recently, Centerprise sponsors Wales rugby international Sian Williams following her award of RAF Elite Athlete status. The company also takes part in a number of fundraisers for Help for Heroes as well as Cancer Research throughout the year. The most gruelling charity event on Centerprise’s calendar is the Dell Management Challenge, which sees competing teams run, hike and kayak in a 70 mile dash in the Brecon Beacons. And the charitable feeling runs throughout the company, with finance director Sharon Allen having recently shaved her head to raise funds for the ARK Centre appeal.

Be it in terms of business or charitable endeavours, Centerprise’s enthusiasm is clear to see. After a
strong financial year, the next 12 months are already looking exciting as the team keep their foot firmly on the accelerator. 

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