Avoira’s winning formula is based on broad synergies delivered through multiple strategic mergers supported by bold leadership actions, according to Managing Director Andrew Roberts.
Avoira was formed in July 2019 through the merger of long-established VAR Pennine Telecom, audio-visual specialist Videonations and two-way radio firm Co-Channel. Communications devices provider Rocom subsequently merged with Avoira in January 2020 while IT managed services specialist Yellowbus joined the group the following October. “The marriage of these specialisms gives us the ability to deliver fluent, integrated and multi-disciplinary solutions,” said Roberts.
Pennine, the core business from which Avoira was born, has roots dating back to 1976. “I joined the company – which was founded by Ian MacPherson and Richard Evans – as an apprentice in 1978 working on the workshop benches,” stated Roberts. “After successive promotions I then led an MBO as Sales Director in 2003 and have been at the helm ever since.”
Big turning points for the business came with the liberalisation of telecoms in 1984 which lit the blue touch paper. “In what became something of a template for our future growth we sensed an opportunity and seized it, diversifying from our two-way radio roots into business telephony,” added Roberts. “Then, the MBO became a catalyst for growth with an ambitious and agile management team pursuing expansion through diversification of specialisms.”
At the time of the MBO Pennine employed 85 people and generated a turnover of £9 million. Today, the company employs nearly 160 staff across sites in Bury, Bristol, Cumbria, London and Warrington, with turnover now reaching £28 million.
“Our customer base is diverse, embracing SMEs, major corporates, local authorities, primary, secondary, further and higher education institutions and government departments,” said Roberts. “Projects can range from Wi-Fi networking for a primary school through to implementing and managing radio and mobile communications at Hinckley Point C, Europe’s largest construction site.”
Avoira’s solution set includes AV and video conferencing, customer experience and speech analytics, contact centre technologies, managed services, networking two-way radio and unified communications. The broad spectrum of its portfolio is based on key vendor partnerships including Hewlett Packard, Hytera, Jabra, Microsoft, Motorola, NEC, Phillips, Poly, Xdroid, Yealink, Zebra and 8x8. As a long-standing partner of Motorola, Roberts is mindful of the opportunities presented by the company’s Solutions Safety & Security Ecosystem initiative which unifies voice, data, video and analytics on a single platform. “This creates an ecosystem that amplifies the strength of different technologies – CCTV, body cameras and radios – through seamless, fully functional integration,” added Roberts.
Strategy for growth
He is currently working through what he calls the One Avoira strategy which promotes all of the firm’s technologies to all of its customers. “This is designed to bring sustained growth over the next couple of years,” added Roberts.
He also noted that circa 85-90 per cent of Avoira’s UC income is now generated by monthly recurring revenues rather than capital purchases. Furthermore, Roberts believes Artificial Intelligence is a transformative technology with Avoira’s contact centre clients already using its Xdroid solution to full advantage. “Smarter, more powerful speech analytics solutions will become must-have tools because of their ability to significantly enhance the customer experience, increase productivity and boost compliance with internal and regulatory requirements,” added Roberts.
Other leadership priorities include investments in skills and staff, which Roberts has felt strongly about for many years. “Not just within Avoira but across our industry and way beyond,” he said. “It’s why I’ve devoted so much energy to supporting Bolton College and University as a Governor and STEM adviser. I’m a big fan of apprenticeships, but also keen to see staff across the business develop their skills. We’re empowering up-and-coming talent to further their careers through leadership training and enabling our sales teams to refine their talents with sales leadership coaching.”
Roberts’ bias towards taking a leadership position on key issues and new technologies is reflected in Avoira’s Comms National Awards win this year, scooping the Best SME Contact Centre Solution gong. “It doesn’t get any better than securing affirmation by industry peers of the quality of your expertise,” enthused Roberts. “It is just reward for our CX team who, working in partnership with the client, Principal Insurance, created a powerful tool which is delivering substantial qualitative and financial benefits. Commercially, the award win is invaluable too. We are talking with other financial services firms and contact centres about how Xdroid can transform their operations, and having a prestigious award under our belts reaffirms the strength of our proposition.”