Two years since acquisition by Westcoast, we spoke to Data Select’s Matt Pasco to see how it’s gone
It’s been just over two years since formerly Marlow-based distributor Data Select was acquired by Westcoast.
At the time, the company said it would continue operating as an independent distributor, with Westcoast acquiring 100 per cent shares of the business.
A key reason for the acquisition was down to Data Select’s relationship with South Korean giants Samsung, said Westcoast Group financial director Sunil Madhani at the time.
Since the acquisition in September 2019, a lot has happened. The world has been battling against a pandemic, while industries and businesses have began to rebuild and recover this year.
Mobile News talked to Matt Pasco, sales director at Data Select, to catch up on the past couple of years and see how life has been post-Westcoast acquisition.
How has the business adapted and changed since the Westcoast takeover?
From the point of acquisition in 2019, we have strived to ensure continuity for our customers, brand partners and colleagues.
It was important as a business that we continued the great levels of service, knowledge and channel engagement that the business was renowned for, but further enhanced with the financial leverage and stability of the UK’s fastest-growing privately held IT business.
We moved onto new platforms and systems, our team moved into Westcoast’s office in Theale, and our supply chain capability was strengthened. All of this was executed as seamlessly as possible for our customers.
This collaboration continues to be incredibly exciting for all involved, reflected in the immense growth experienced in the last year alone.
We have developed a leading position within the B2B mobile reseller channel, grown our share within all our tier-one brand partners and experienced overall growth alongside many of our B2B resellers.
We have also rapidly grown within retail, winning multiple high-street and online customers in 2021.
Through a laser focus on execution, investing in our mobile solutions capability and adding resource into the business, we are on track to double revenues this year.
How has the company been able to work through the pandemic?
We were able to pivot fast as we all faced fundamental changes to doing business and rapidly moved to a fully operational working- from-home (WFH) model.
Putting our suppliers, customers and colleagues at the forefront of what we do, we were able to continue delivering the great levels of service we have become known for and keep products flowing. We were fortunate to still grow throughout this period, as the mobile technology we offer saw an increase in demand.
We remained incredibly resilient, which we believe was true of distribution as a whole.
Does the pandemic highlight how reliant businesses are on technology?
Absolutely – and while no one predicted the pandemic, we were already at a point where we were well-equipped. Digital transformation within the channel was well under way already, but this was dramatically expedited, driving demand for mobile technology.
As end users were forced to transact online, e-commerce surged, along with the entire supply-chain infrastructure sat behind it. This increased the need for mobile devices, whether a rugged smartphone or tablet deployed for use in the warehouse, transportation or logistics networks, or simply the latest smartphone, tablet or laptop for users to work from home.
Ultimately, this also drove the need to manage and secure these fleets of mobile devices, with mobile device management increasing in importance.
How significant is your relationship with Samsung, as one of your big partners?
Samsung remains hugely important to each and every one of us at Data Select.
Personally, I have worked in distribution for 20 years and it’s the strongest relationship I have experienced.
We collaborate daily across every interface to ensure we grow and succeed together, from senior leadership to sales, marketing, and the commercial, vendor and finance areas, ensuring we leverage every opportunity. We support the entire Samsung mobile ecosystem.
Our certified Samsung distribution status and solutions partner of the year award highlight our deep partnership approach, as we truly act as an extension of their brand and all that Samsung wants to achieve within the channel.
What’s the importance of the distributor in today’s world?
We remain an integral growth engine, sat firmly between our brand partners, and reaching and developing a comprehensive network of B2B resellers, retailers and e-commerce businesses.
The need to add value, enhance margins and create points of differentiation remains firmly at the heart of our promise to bring together and simplify mobile technology.
Whether through best-in-class marketing execution, imparting mobile solutions knowledge or acting as an extension of our brand partners to reach a depth of customer they can’t support alone, distribution remains an integral part of a collaborative partnership.
Is Data Select satisfied with its current vendor partner list, or is it looking to add more?
Our strength remains in our “narrow and deep” focus for the brands that we partner with. We remain open to all opportunities, but they must be accretive to the value we bring our customers and the brand partner itself.
Naturally, we have access to Westcoast’s brands and work closely with them where we see opportunities for all parties.
What are the big opportunities in mobile in the coming years?
Not that we were ever in any doubt, but the events of the past two years have further highlighted the increasing demand for the very mobile technology we deliver, alongside the software and services to make the most of it.
The rhetoric for a ‘work from anywhere’ mindset is here to stay and will permeate society with more and more businesses needing to flex to this approach and provide the tools and infrastructure to support it. The need for secure and robust devices that can withstand knocks and spills will continue as supply chains look for enhanced efficiencies and productivity tools to equip field workers.
The always-on connectivity of everything from smartphones to tablets to laptops, and the need to secure and manage these devices will only increase – and whether that is served by the mobile or IT channel, or a blend, will be interesting.
We remain enthusiastic about the industry we serve, with a laser focus on being the best mobile-centric distribution partner for both the mobile and IT channel. We go into 2022 with much optimism and hungry for growth.