Incoming Content+Cloud CEO Geoff Kneen exemplifies the importance of having a forward-looking and all-embracing strategy, especially in a fast evolving technology marketplace.
Last year Content+Cloud – which has more than 1,000 people and a turnover of £120 million – was acquired by Advania Group, establishing the Nordics-based IT service provider’s first regional presence beyond its homeland. In September this year former Content+Cloud CEO Peter Sweetbaum moved to the parent business as Head of New Markets, creating an opening for Kneen who served as Group Managing Director for more than five years and is now tasked with driving Content+Cloud’s organic growth and M&A journey as Chief Exec.
He has 20 years experience in technology and transformation businesses and started out by qualifying as a mechanical engineer through a sponsorship with a large Swiss pharmaceutical business in the early ‘90s, later becoming involved in the automation of production facilities in the UK. “These were my first experiences of the power of IT to transform how businesses operate,” he stated.
Kneen went on to become director of an industrial IT control systems business which sold to Atkins at the turn of the century. Post-acquisition he ran Atkins’ management consultancy operation, the aerospace and defence business and was IT director for UK and Europe. “I have always been engaged in technology either directly or through running technology enabled businesses,” added Kneen. “It is a great sector to be part of, especially now as we head into another period of convergence around tech, comms and applications.”
IT Lab was founded in 2000 and Content+Cloud became the brand after acquiring Microsoft technology specialist Content and Code in 2018. Following an interim period in which the IT Lab and Content and Code names were preserved the new moniker was launched in June 2020. “This followed a period of rapid growth in which many new brands, products and services were added to the portfolio through acquisitions,” explained Kneen.
Content+Cloud has a particular focus on helping organisations to capitalise on the capabilities and value of the Microsoft ecosystem. “For the last few years this was focused on migration to the cloud,” said Kneen. “For the next few years it will be more about how we help clients use their data to make better decisions and utilise intelligent tools to automate manual processes.
We should always be striving to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today
“We are fast moving into a truly flexible DevOps approach in helping our clients as big bang transformations are becoming a thing of the past. Helping businesses incrementally improve through the rapid development of new solutions that automate processes and help people deliver more efficiently and effectively is the landscape today. The fact we are truly cloud first, and with the depth of capability we have in the Microsoft platform, means that our opportunity to continue to grow and consolidate the UK market is significant and real.”
Kneen believes there will be more convergence of the traditional reseller roles, which to a large extent influences Content+Cloud’s strategic market view. “Resellers want to add service capabilities to their offerings and this pushes them towards becoming MSPs,” he added. “We look at it from the client perspective and the problems we can solve for them – so closer relationships, particularly with resellers, is definitely part of our planning. Offering services across strategy, digital transformation, managed services and support, cyber, voice, data and automation makes us a complete partner.”
Kneen observed that data is becoming an increasingly vital component in digital transformation, so much so that data analytics and intelligent automation are the next stages of delivering value through technology for Content+Cloud. “Harnessing data through AI and bringing next generation intelligence into business operations and offerings is essential,” he commented.
“Cloud platforms can accommodate much larger workloads when it comes to data analysis. So unlocking the potential of data through cloud services is where MSPs should seek to deliver value.
“It is also compelling that voice is becoming searchable data just as much as any other form of data through voice recognition and transcription capabilities. How we combine the analysis of these data sources and the streamlining of processes is where we are looking to develop the business.
Furthermore, we should always be striving to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. And any mark I make on the business will be made together with the expertise, energy and enthusiasm of those around me.”