New Elite CEO on strategy

Following the step-down of Elite Group CEO Rob Sims incoming Chief Exec Adam Turton continues to take the right critical actions across the full range of leadership priorities.

The appointment is a personal triumph for Turton, and the next natural step in a 20 year career in comms spent exclusively at Elite Group (and associated group companies) where he started as a cold caller. “My appointment sends a powerful message to the business and reflects positively on Elite Group as an employer that nurtures talent and rewards loyalty, commitment and hard work,” he stated. “There really are no limits for driven people looking to develop their professional careers in this sector.”

According to Turton, given the size of the market and the speed with which it continues to grow and evolve, the long-term opportunity for Elite Group is ‘huge’. “I have ambitious growth plans for the business,” he added. “I am prioritising a strategic review of the market with a view to developing our product strategy and go-to-market for the next three to five years. I am also prioritising the execution of our strategy for the 2025 PSTN shutdown.”

Turton says the evolution of technology has made it increasingly difficult to achieve competitive advantage and bring value to a widely diverse customer base (partly inherited through M&A) ranging from micro to enterprise. But he is confident that the interventions and strategies he has planned will keep Elite on track and prove successful. “We have been guilty of trying to provide everything to everybody and that has been a difficult cycle to break,” he explained. “I am looking to refocus the business on the areas where we can differentiate and bring most value to customers.”

This entails striking a balance between insightful market reviews and the technology roadmap to establish product market fit and develop a stronger more focused cloud services portfolio, pointed out Turton. “At the same time we are looking to develop our professional services capability, incorporating systems integration services and an enhanced managed service,” he added. “We are most interested in the trajectory of the cloud services market including SaaS, UCaaS, infrastructure and platform services. And are becoming increasingly interested in next level process automation and virtualisation, the Metaverse, Applied AI and Machine Learning, and where these developing technologies play in our portfolio and target markets.”

I am looking to refocus the business on the areas where we can differentiate and bring most value to customers

These priorities highlight the extent to which the pace of change is affecting all organisations. And to overcome the challenge posed by new competing priorities Turton has fixed his attention on what matters most. “Defining a single focus that will drive us towards our long-term vision is key,” he said. “When we split our attention on several tasks it gets increasingly difficult to reach an outstanding result. Vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare. As a priority, setting a clear long-term vision of the business we want to be, with a defined destination we are aiming for, is critical.”

Also essential to long-term growth is a significant focus on near-term objectives. “We’re halfway through our financial year, so in the next quarter my plan is to balance my time between setting the long-term strategic direction for the company and supporting short-term tactical improvements that can positively impact our trading performance,” he stated. “A big part of my role is ensuring that our people are all aligned and share our vision.”

He believes that today’s leadership priorities are about articulating why a business exists and creating purpose driven companies that inspire and engage people. “Employee engagement and culture has to be top of the agenda for business leaders,” added Turton. “Technology is what we do, it’s not what makes us inherently different. The real value is delivered by the talented people in our organisations. It is our collective ability to adapt to change that determines how successful we are in the future.”

Elite’s capacity to adapt is beyond question. The company began its commercial life in 2000 and has completed more than 15 acquisitions. It serves circa 3,000 customers of all sizes in the public and private sector and across a wide range of products and services. And its headcount is approaching 180.

Turton reported that adjusted trading for this financial year will be relatively flat and in line with budget. Underlying recurring revenues are growing at nine per cent, positively impacting the outturn going into the next financial year. “The focus is on new incremental fixed recurring revenues and managed services contracts,” stated Turton. “Over 95 per cent of recurring revenue sales closed each month are for strategic growth products and services incorporating cloud applications, connectivity and professional services.”

The real value is delivered by the people in our organisations. It is our collective ability to adapt that determines how successful we are in the future

In a nutshell, Elite’s value proposition is focused on helping businesses navigate the complex world of technology, making it easy to understand and simple to use, delivering digital transformation solutions that bring real value and help businesses communicate and collaborate in a more, secure, productive and profitable way. And according to Turton, this approach is key to unlocking full value from what he describes as ‘probably one of the single biggest compelling events to happen in our sector’.

“The 2025 PSTN shutdown,” he stated. “Whenever there is change there is opportunity. Elite has been on the telco-to-technology journey for a while now, we have a clear plan and a strong portfolio of new technology services that will bring more value and benefits to customers. I’m confident that we are well positioned to mitigate any risk and maximise the 2025 PSTN shutdown opportunity. But there are implications for channel partners exposed to significant PSTN revenues and margin.”

In terms of today’s other leadership priorities, Turton is taking positive action on further developing a diverse and inclusive workplace, and also investing in the organisation as a catalyst for positive change around ESG. “We’re on a journey to formalise our approach to sustainability and are committed to being transparent with our stakeholders on our progress,” said Turton. “We have already committed to shorter-term emission reduction targets, aiming to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2030 and 63 per cent by 2035. We have an ambitious strategy which allows us to reach Net Zero by 2040.

“We are a socially and environmentally conscious business and recognise that we have a responsibility to do more than simply provide shareholder returns. We are taking this responsibility seriously and engaging with our partners whose values regarding the environment, charitable efforts and investing in the local community align with our own. But in all of this, prioritising employee engagement and culture is critical for success. Business is a team sport and culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

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