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Sooraj Shah

Contributing Editor

Sooraj Shah is Contributing Editor of New Statesman Tech with a focus on C-level IT leader interviews. He is also a freelance technology journalist.

IntraLAN CEO Andy Horn sees wave of opportunity as a result of Covid-19

IntraLAN Group is a managed services provider, turning over around £5.5m a year, with 38 staff and around 1200 customers.

CEO Andy Horn says that he joined the organisation back in August 2019 because the company had in place “incredible systems and processes and amazing customer support but dreadful sales and marketing”.

He believes that companies of the same size were usually sales and marketing-led and focused less on systems, processes and customer support. As he felt that IntraLAN needed a renewed focus on the former, he believed he would be a good fit for the role as CEO as he had a background in sales and marketing.

“It was a great opportunity to fix the easiest part of the organisation,” he says.

The company offers three main types of services: mobile – which includes handsets, SIM cards and calling plans; telephony, which includes leased lines, SD-WAN and both on-premise and cloud-based systems; and IT, which covers a range of services from Microsoft and Datto including desktop support, workplace stations, security and back-up.

Keeping up with trends

The company has been redefining what types of services it offers within those three core areas of coverage, with the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming more prominent on the mobile side in recent years, particularly with the impending introduction of 5G.

As a result of customers seeking support with a number of new technologies that IntraLAN does not usually provide, Horn says that partnerships and alliances with other vendors have been critical.

“For example, we don’t do CCTV but we have been asked by a number of our clients if we can, so we can be the technology advisors and provide the technology as a service and bring in a partner company that does CCTV, and we can manage the first line calls and hand them off to the partner, so the customer has a single point of contact for any technology services,” he explains.

Horn says that business transformation has generally been very slow with clients and prospective clients, but that the coronavirus outbreak has been driving a lot of transformation.

“We’re seeing a huge an increase in home-working, for example, and so we’re going to need really good levels of broadband connectivity with resilience,” he says.

If there are others in the house using up bandwidth, this could slow down work for some employees. This will mean employers and employees may have to consider a separate dedicated business line, Horn suggests. In addition, there needs to be some form of security, including a VPN in use, but also a number of other tools to ensure that the work environment is secure.

Dealing with Covid-19

IntraLAN had trialled staff working from home prior to the lockdown to ensure that all of the systems were working properly. It also worked on a number of communication programmes to ensure customers were aware of how the company was adapting to the government guidelines. Despite many customers requiring support throughout this time, Horn says that on the whole customers were more patient with the company’s customer service staff. To further support clients, IntraLAN had engineers calling customers to make sure that everything was working, and to ask if they needed any further support.

“The reason for them to do this was not as a sales call, but to ensure that the customer knows that we’re there if they need us,” he says.

Horn explains that there has not been many occasions where the company has had to go into a data centre to make any adjustments, and that this is partly down to new installations being put on hold throughout this time.

Despite sales being down, Horn believes the MSP will be able to weather the storm ahead. One way of doing this, he suggests, is by putting in place special payment plans for customers that may be struggling with cash flow. This would help them to spread their costs, as well as maintaining the level of support required from IntraLAN. With many large companies streamlining their workforces, Horn believes there is an opportunity for IntraLAN to help support a wider variety of clients as it has always focused on small and medium-sized businesses.