Fusion, according to Alternative Networks, is about bringing things together to create a positive outcome, and the progressive operator plans to combine innovation and education to continue its steady growth into 2014.
The London based firm strives to stay ahead of the technology curve to give its 5,000 clients the opportunity to streamline their own businesses, and CEO Ed Spurrier wants to build on its trend-setting reputation. He says: ‘We want to be seen as a company that brings new technology to our customers, having the conversations with them and taking them on a journey. That’s our ethos, and that is what’s driven our success from 1994 to today.’
Spurrier has been with Alternative for almost 15 years, stepping up to his current role in January this year. The CEO has seen a number of changes in the industry since joining in 1999, and the company has evolved to match customer demand. Mobile products and services have been supplemented by IT solutions, fixed line and Alternative’s software and billing portal, Synapse [see box]. The firm now has more than 500 employees across six sites nationwide, and Spurrier is confident Alternative Networks will continue to prosper.
He tells Mobile: ‘We’ve grown financially in the second half of this year, and we expect to build on that growth going forward. We’ve got a reasonably clear strategy in terms of where we want our business to go. We’ve spent the last two or three years making the shift from initially being a voice seller to being a solutions and systems provider. We’re clear about the gaps we want to fill in our portfolio, so our strategy is quite clearly defined.
‘We’ve never borrowed any money; Alternative has grown organically and with self-funded acquisitions. It’s been a long journey of growth and the focus has always been on the customer.’
Understanding the needs of its client is of upmost importance for Alternative Networks. The company has put on a series of webinars and events with the goal of educating the customer to make sure they invest in products and services to match their needs. Last month, Alternative hosted its maiden FusionLIVE vendor event in London to give 400 customers the chance to get up close to its partners like O2, Vodafone, Nokia, Sony and BlackBerry, as well as IT and fixed line organisations.
Spurrier adds: ‘We’ve had lots of support from all our core suppliers. We have a very good relationship with O2 and Vodafone. We’ve grown our subscriber base with both of them over the last year or so which is a claim not a lot of their other partners can actually boast.’
Mobile marketing manager Adrian Buxton believes the key to Alternative’s success is its ability to be an ‘impartial’ voice for the customer when making ‘decisions that will impact their businesses’. He says: ‘Everyone is aware of the options available to them, and every client we’re speaking to is at a crossroads in terms of what they think they should be using. We’re having a lot of conversations around devices, OS, and what the impact would be of moving across and how to mitigate any risks.
‘To have a conversation with customers you have to have that impartial expertise, so all our sales team is trained to identify the strength and opportunity of each operating system and device.’
Spurrier says it will be crucial for Alternative to stay abreast of ‘key issues in mobile’, such as BYOD, CYOD and security, in order to keep clients ahead of the game. 4G was also pinpointed as an interesting prospect in terms of ‘speed and access to business applications’. Head of product marketing Nick Burrows says: ‘4G takes people into a new zone, especially in business and operators have been very supportive. However, although 4G is a game changer, alone it isn’t the answer.’
As the industry continues to evolve, Alternative Networks endeavors to make sure its customers always hold an advantage. The chief executive adds: ‘Some of our partners may be having quite different internal dialogues to each other. In the meantime, we’ll focus on talking to customers about the needs for their business.’