Two years ago today, Jeremy Keefe made the move from Poly to become Nuvias UC’s CEO. Since then, the business has made it through a global pandemic, while achieving an outstanding 70% growth. Today, we’re talking to Jeremy to find out more about the successes and challenges which come with being the CEO of one of Europe’s fastest growing distributors and to find out more about his tips for business growth.
What’s new at Nuvias UC?
Firstly, we wanted to know about the biggest changes implemented by Jeremy Keefe, since joining Nuvias UC. Jeremy commented: “The key thing for me was to extend the ‘customer comes first’ philosophy so we actively recruited within the customer service and sales support teams. As part of this restructure, I also wanted to empower more people within the business to make their own decisions, so I put a wider management team in place, allowing me to take the business from an owner-led business, to management-led.”
He didn’t stop there – “We expanded our European footprint from 5% to 15% (percentage of revenue) and by the end of this fiscal year, it should sit at 25%. This was achieved by investing in people in France, Benelux, and acquiring an established distributor – Alliance Technologies – in DACH” Keefe added.
Excelling revenue growth
We were pressing for tips on how an already successful business reaches a 70% YoY growth. Jeremy explained: “The foundations built by previous owners, Steve Harris and Rob Smith, were already solid. There were outstanding technical capabilities within the business and we took the opportunity to upskill, cross skill & add different experience into the team. This just cemented our place as a specialist within the UC distribution marketplace, which led to vendors and customers wanting to work with us. We were also very fortunate that Zoom embraced us as a master agent and wholesale distributor. Meanwhile, we were also working with RingCentral to develop their European business, we also integrated solutions from Logitech, DTEN and Pexip, and even Microsoft picked up on our technical expertise on supplying and supporting MS Teams room environments.”
Jeremy went on to say: “The people within Nuvias UC have been at the heart of the growth and have been the highlight of being the CEO of the business, we have exceptional people that go above and beyond on a daily basis. We have also brought in new people into the business and with them comes new perspectives and new ideas which lead to achievements and the cycle continues.”
No growing business is short of its own challenges. When asked about the bumps in the road that Nuvias UC faced along the way, Jeremy said: “There were a few things out of our control – such as the pandemic and the silicon chip shortage – which had a knock-on effect on stock shortages throughout the whole industry. However, due to our vast portfolio, we have always tried to offer alternatives and if this wasn’t possible, we would just be upfront and honest with our customers, keep them updated with lead times (even if they were longer than usual) and most of the time, our loyal customers just appreciated the honesty.”
“I would say a more personal challenge is our employee retention. Since I moved from vendor world back into distributor land it is clear the market has changed considerably there is a real lack of quality people and we are competing with many more organisations too. Therefore, we do see people moving between businesses on a more regular basis, so employee retention is a big focus for us now.”
Making the right choices
With the ‘CEO’ title comes huge responsibility and with huge responsibility comes even bigger decisions! Jeremy explained that some of his hardest decisions stemmed from requests from vendors to work with Nuvias UC by saying: “We like to ensure that our team have expert knowledge on all of the vendors within our portfolio and as you add more products in, you risk losing that focus and de-valuing the relationship you hold with existing vendors. It’s important for Nuvias UC to be able to offer a full end-to-end solution, rather than box shifting as many products as possible. So often, I have to do what is right for the business and our vendors and say no to some of the opportunities which arise.”
Jeremy continued to say: “When it comes to asking things of other people, I always remind myself of my mantra i.e. ‘Don’t ask people to do what you wouldn’t do yourself’ which helps me make morally right decisions and do things with integrity.”
“I have looked back on certain things and thought ‘I could’ve done that differently’ but everything I do is with conviction” Keefe added.
The future of Nuvias UC
Since 2016, Nuvias UC has been part of the Nuvias Group which also comprises a separate business focusing on cyber security and advanced networking. However, there was a recent announcement that the advanced networking and cyber security business is being acquired by Infinigate, leaving Nuvias UC to continue to operate as an independent distributor. This led us to our final question for Nuvias UC CEO, Jeremy Keefe – ‘What can we expect from Nuvias UC in the future?’
Keefe explained that they are planning to strengthen their core functions and systems to support on-going growth while establishing deeper relationships with new and existing vendors and adapting their solutions to stay relevant within the market.
In addition, Nuvias UC have expressed a real interest in developing their software, platform, cloud & contact centre offering and strengthening our services capabilities– “These markets are services-rich and therefore, margin rich for our partners. We’re currently launching a set of new services to help those who wouldn’t ordinarily play in these spaces, to help break into this market and take more wallet share. Watch this space!”
To find out more about Nuvias UC, visit www.nuvias-uc.com or call 01635 225000.