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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.

Maintel CEO Ioan MacRae: ‘We had to go through restructuring but not because of the pandemic’

Maintel was founded back in 1991 by Angus McCaffery, and it was initially a telephony maintenance provider, hence the name. It broadened its capabilities from the legacy on-premise maintenance that used a break/fix model, to a company that worked with a number of different vendors, building out its portfolio and capabilities.

In 2004, the company was listed on the London AIM Exchange, where it remains today. In the last five or six years, the company has gone on an acquisition trail with the purchases of Proximity, Intrinsic and Azzurri. Fast forward to February 2020, and the company is now worth £125m, employs around 600 people, and considers itself a managed services provider (MSP).

The company’s key vendor partners include Avaya and Mitel from a unified communications perspective, Cisco through its LAN networking, security and SD-WAN capabilities, as well as Extreme Networks, BT and Gamma.

“We’re trying to tie all of those different vendors and capabilities into a cloud-based managed services offering for our existing customers,” says Ioan MacRae, CEO of Maintel, who adds that managed services has always been part of Maintel’s history, but it has evolved and is becoming even more core to the company’s strategy going forward.

COVID-19: Revenue has been impacted but new revenue sources coming in

According to MacRae, the company had a great start to the year in terms of new customers, revenue and project deliveries. When lockdown began in the UK at the end of March, the company had an uptake in revenue and orders as customers had to invoke disaster recovery and business continuity support. However, there has also been a negative impact.

“A number of the big projects were postponed while our customers focused on their own disaster recovery and business continuity. Those projects were never lost and we’re back on and delivering them now, but we have had a three or four month delay,” MacRae says.

This means revenue has been negatively impacted by Covid-19 but MacRae says the company has had positives with net new revenue coming in directly because of Covid-19.

Remote working and restructuring

Internally, Maintel managed to switch all of its employees to be able to work remotely in 24 hours. The company had to keep its logistics centre open under Covid-19 compliance with a skeleton crew, so it could receive shipments and spare parts.

“We had no loss of service or SLAs to our customers, and remained 100 per cent operational,” MacRae says.

The field-based engineers continued to go to site, particularly for NHS customers, local authorities and police.

“We have 48 NHS trusts in the UK [using our services] and our engineers continued going into those sites, fully equipped with PPE and continued to serve our customers where appropriate to deliver those projects that were critical for Covid-19 frontline organisations,” MacRae says.

In terms of staff, the company announced a restructure in June.

“It was a restructure to part of the board and also to my executive management team and the wider leadership team, and the reason for that was partly as a result of a cost reduction policy we put in place,” he says.

However, MacRae adds that the restructuring was part of a project started back in January so it was not directly linked to the pandemic.

“It was a restructure that we needed to go through based on acquisitions in the past and we needed a review. I have a new leadership team in place, the majority of which have been promoted from within. I’ve removed a layer of management, and we’ve put teams in different reporting lines and joined teams together,” he says.

He hopes this will allow for better team work, efficiency and agility for the future.