In this era of cloud growth and consolidation entrepreneurs and innovation are rampant. Enter TIG CEO Des Lekerman…
Watford-based TIG began its commercial life as The Internet Group in 2001 – a small start-up with two staff. It soon built a reputation for providing top notch IT support to companies across Europe and has since expanded its expertise into a much wider arena. Lekerman joined TIG in 2013 when he acquired a majority stake in the business and took control of its strategic direction, introducing data analytics and cybersecurity as core go-to-market services, and forging a partnership with Microsoft for the Azure platform which TIG customises using its own IP to build industry specific solutions. Late last year the company entered the Global Top 100 of Public Cloud Service Providers.
TIG's transformational acquisition of netConsult in January strengthens its presence and capabilities in the financial services sector, particularly in security and monitoring. "The acquisition is another step towards our goal of becoming the UK’s primary cloud services provider for medium sized UK businesses," stated Lekerman. "We intend to extend netConsult's expertise to other customers who are now looking at security as a major area of investment, especially with the new rules and regulations that came into force last year. Most organisations feel exposed by having little or no security and this is an area where TIG can step in to provide support."
The acquisition of netConsult is not Lekerman's first big foray into the financial services industry. Early in his career he spent two years in Chicago learning how to trade commodities while working on the Chicago Board of Trade. But in the late 1980s the market crashed so he returned to the UK. Unable to find a similar position in financial services Lekerman went into computer sales for a local firm in Manchester. A year later he decided to strike out on his own and with a colleague started up Eurodata which grew to £30 million revenue with over 400 customers on its books. In 2011 the company was sold to a competitor, which was later sold on to Capita.
Cloud adoption is still in its infancy but we anticipate the market to scale significantly over the next 12 months
In preparation for TIG's next phase of growth Lekerman has formalised the Board with the appointments of Non-Exec Chairman Mark Howling (who was formerly Pulsant's CEO) and Non-Exec Corporate Finance Director Ronnie Smith (ex-Six Degrees Group). The company has also put in more controls, compliancy and processes, all of which helped to attract a £6 million funding boost from BGF.
The business generates circa £12.1 million revenue, has 90 staff and is seeking EBITDA growth of 15 per cent organically and has plans to execute further acquisitions to broaden its capabilities in cloud provision and professional services. Target customers are forward thinking mid-market companies that will consume large amounts of data and understand how technology can drive efficiencies, enable faster decisions and create new revenue streams.
"The projects we have delivered are on the cutting edge of innovation, including elements such as machine learning, automation and identity and access management," stated Lekerman. "We have a great team who are able to appreciate the distinct requirements of each client and adapt the technology to work for their specific needs. I am passionate about technology and how it can help people work smarter, communicate better and in turn improve lives."
In 2016 TIG really got to work on Microsoft cloud and built solutions for full cloud and hybrid, and went on to achieve Microsoft Gold Partner status for Cloud Platform and Cloud Productivity. "We have built a data analytics practice and developed easy-to-consume solutions that, through our microservices layer, provide intelligence and dashboards which enable customers to interpret trends quickly," stated Lekerman.
"One of the biggest challenges in business is the growth of data, and having the ability to present this with intelligence enables our customers to make faster decisions. There are many companies out there able to offer managed IT services, but our strategy is to stand out by providing technical solutions that improve overall business performance. The market has grown substantially over the last year and we have seen 1,000 per cent growth in our cloud services.
"Cloud adoption is still in its infancy but we anticipate the market to scale significantly over the next 12 months as companies look to refresh their current on-premise services. We see more and more demand for Platform as a Service and less infrastructure, although there will always be connectivity requirements as well as security, identity and access management."
Just a minute with Des Lekerman
Bill Gates: He stuck to his vision and is always learning
What talent do you wish you had?
Name three ideal dinner guests
Bill Gates, an interesting guy who could take the conversation in any direction and is an instigator of positive change; Bono who tried to change the world through music; and Richard Branson – bold, brave and goes with his gut
What possession could you not live without?
My iPhone and Surface laptop
If you weren't in IT what would you be doing?
Working in TV or advertising
How do you relax when not working?
Spend time with the family, hit the gym and go to nice restaurants
Biggest career achievement
Building TIG, growing the business and getting funding so that we can expand faster
I have been too patient working with the wrong people. One negative person can rot the whole team so it’s important to get right