It’s Nuvias UC’s 10th Business Anniversary! CEO Steve Harris and COO Rob Smith talk about where it all began, achievements, challenges and future predictions in our Q&A.
How did your idea of the company first come about? / What was your vision when starting the company?
Steve Harris: We saw an opportunity to build a company with technical integration skills to support smaller, innovative and disruptive service providers deliver a Cloud-based telephony service. It seems so simple today and it was clear that Cloud would be a pervasive technology, but it was very difficult to launch and support a Cloud service at that time. We set about building a business to focus on technology enablement and we were lucky that senior staff at both Broadsoft and Acme Packet shared our vision at that time. The idea and initial step to incorporate the business actually occurred at Polycom’s offices in Slough in 2008, but it wasn’t until we acquired VComm in 2012 that we started to formally work with Poly and it was at this point we moved into distribution. Our business fundamentally changed with that acquisition as we saw an even bigger opportunity for a technology-focused distributor who could deliver an end to end set of products and services around Cloud and Unified Communications.
Which moments stand out to you as Nuvias UC’s biggest accomplishments?
Rob Smith: There have been many achievements and moments over the years that have been an integral part of the Nuvias UC journey. However, the biggest accomplishment has been remaining relevant to our customers and being part of their journey. This has enabled us to witness their success and growth. We have been privileged to work with some innovative and high growth companies in the Cloud UC industry, and the partnerships we have with our customers has driven us to continually innovate and evolve our product and service offering.
Our goal has always been to be a technology enabler for our partners, working often in the background to ensure their success. Our success is intrinsically linked to the success of our customers and partners, and it has been great to have been part of their journey. We look forward to continuing to work with them.
Every business faces its challenges – what has been yours and how did you overcome it?
Steve Harris: The biggest challenge we have faced as a business has been dealing effectively with growth. It’s a great challenge to have for any business but it’s also one that can make or break a company. We focused and invested heavily in automation and we built our initial systems and API over 6 years ago and this was a very significant move and one that demonstrated our thought leadership versus our competitors at that time. Even now it is still fundamental to our business and we have a team dedicated to innovation and software development. We were included in the Deloitte Fast Track Technology 50 for 3 consecutive years and this was a great testament of our growth, but it also tested the stability and durability of our business in every area.
As well as automation we have invested heavily in our people. We are lucky that many of our initial members of staff are still with us today and continue to play an active part in the growth of our business. We are quite passionate about empowerment and leadership at all levels within the company and we will therefore hopefully continue to embrace the challenge of dealing with our growth in the future.
What is the best piece of leadership advice you have given/received?
Steve Harris: I think the best piece of advice I have been given is to always be strong and clear in making decisions. Some decisions can appear to be very bold and ambitious, but they are the ones that can have a profound and positive impact on the business. I’d like to think that we are seen as a company that is both dynamic and responsive.
Rob Smith: It sounds obvious, but the best piece of advice I have been given is to continually engage with and listen to your customers. We have always strived to do this, and I’d like to think we are recognised as a company that are dynamic and responsive to our customers. If you look back over the last 10 years many of our best ideas to expand our product or services offering has come from discussions with our key customers. The most relevant example of this was several of our key customers asking us to become their distributor many years ago. We started to focus on doing this, which lead to us acquiring VComm in 2012, and subsequently drive massive growth in our business. This focus allowed us to become a true end-to-end technology enablement partner for our customers.
What do you think the next 10 years look like for Nuvias UC?
Rob Smith: The one thing that is certain, is the industry we are in will continue to evolve. If we look at the technology, vendor, service provider, distributor, and reseller landscape today compared to 10 years ago we have seen quite some change. The key thing for Nuvias UC in the next phase of our journey will be to remain relevant for our partners and to continue to be the technology enabler of choice. To ensure we remain relevant we will continue to drive innovation and automation as we have done for many years, to offer new solutions and services to market, at scale. With the massive growth opportunities across cloud, unified communications and collaboration I expect the next 10 years to be even more exciting than the first 10 years!