FY21 was about people coming together for yet another year in a world pandemic. Fatigue was setting in and the path forward was disrupted once again with another lockdown. A massive thank you to our entire community for staying positive and helping each other navigate both work and personal life.
Resilience is the word that comes to mind for such a situation as what was initially expected to be a 6-month battle sprawled into multiple years.
I am truly proud of the whole team at COOLSPIRiT and the progress we have made during FY21; displaying immense commitment to our customers, and supporting them in a professional and expert manner.
The following headings outline a few of the challenges and triumphs which occurred during FY21.
Even with lead times on hardware turning from a typical 14 days into a lengthy 14 weeks, people being forced to work from home and all the other disruptions that Covid-19 brought to everyone’s door - COOLSPIRiT revenues increased by a healthy 27%.
No furloughs or redundancies were made, and no government loans were cashed in. Our revenue increases were seen across all the portfolios as people very quickly became used to the fact that a solution can be designed and discussed over TEAMS and procured just the same as in person.
The adoption of O365 was accelerated by the pandemic which brought about a new wave of protection and security, similarly to how visualisation and cloud had done only some years ago. In turn, this brought in new customers and had existing customers revisiting all SaaS-based backups.
Commvault’s Metallic was an instant hit as a SaaS-based data protection offering, and as such, COOLSPIRiT very quickly became the safe option of choice, adding more licences than any other reseller in the UK. Data Centre based business remained strong with Cisco, Nutanix, HPE and Pure Storage all performing well.
However, the pandemic saw an even stronger wave of cybercrime and 70% of all conversations were around attacks and vulnerability. Most customers could do nothing more than buy point-based solutions to meet each vulnerability and we at COOLSPIRiT raced to find such solutions and qualify them. As you will read later on, we will adopt a different approach for FY22.
We continue to seek out emerging technologies for new offerings to complement the portfolio.
Following on from the ISO accreditations of 9001, 27001 and Cyber Essentials, we also achieved 14001. We have always maintained a clear and concise conduct regarding responsible environmental behaviours and sustainability, but this put the certificate on the wall to prove it.
The pandemic has created so much excess waste, so whatever COOLSPIRiT can do to minimise all emissions and waste, the better.
We understand that our business has a direct impact on the environment, so we're actively working towards best practices in the technology sector.
We are excited to have partnered with the World Land Trust (Registered Charity No. 1001291) as a corporate supporter. The World Land Trust carries out essential reforestation projects, supporting conservation and creation of wildlife-rich habitats - benefitting local communities, reconnecting forest areas, and storing carbon. So for every order placed with us, we plant a sapling and fund its protection during its most fragile stage of life to ensure it prospers into a strong and hardy tree.
We have eliminated fossil-fueled company cars in favour of electric cars and we provide electric charging points at our parking facilities. Our office buildings are now solar-powered and have only energy-efficient LED lighting throughout, and we have also joined the SME Climate Hub.
The apprenticeship scheme has been a roaring success with 90% of all attendees achieving full-time positions in sales, support, engineering, purchasing and technical. With support from The Shadow Minister for Skills and Further Education, Labour Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, I’d like to say thank you, Toby - it has been a great year for the young people!
With our regular technology refresh projects, we are able to donate hardware, that although we no longer require as a business, is still of great value and use to others. We strive to donate technology to fantastic causes where they can make a real difference. A proud donation we made during 2021 was of several Microsoft tablets to the Surrey ‘Recognising You Awards’, hosted by TV presenters Dick & Dom, celebrating the successes of young people.
Now we hit one of the challenges of 2021. Shipping goods around the globe has become a very complex job since Brexit and Covid. However, we have now formed a great team within COOLSPIRiT who understand how to get things from A to B, seamlessly.
In September 2020, the GUARDiAN support desk and technical team moved into the then-recently purchased building next door - number 23. The remaining teams settled nicely back into number 24, with a few remote workers who have regular visits up to the head office. We are definitely an office-based company but we were losing creativity.
During the “Work From Home” mandates and full lockdown, everyone stayed motivated and in fact, it even created new ways of working which we have carried into our work now. For example, Teams remains the default for 80% of communication.
However, we have benefited from coming back to the office. We refurbished the offices during Covid, installing state-of-the-art seating and standing desks and maximising areas for meetings and group discussions. So far, so good.
The way in which we conduct business has changed. We have fully adopted Teams as previously mentioned and we have also found internal meetings are quicker, start and finish on time, and yet still enable us to achieve more.
Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, and a three-dimensional meeting is still so important to us, but for the quick, off-the-cuff meetings, Teams is so much better than a telephone call.
The focus for FY22 is very much still the performance, protection, and preservation of organisations’ data:
Performance being the data centre, hybrid cloud products and infrastructure
Protection encompassing cyber security in all its guises
Preservation comprising backup, restore, archive, Disaster Recovery, and other related products that help in recovery after a ransomware attack
Regarding protection, we aim to further strengthen our cybersecurity portfolio and cybersecurity people so that we can really disrupt, consolidate, and reduce costs for our customers. With a new department headed by a security and compliance expert with many years of hands-on experience, we are confident we will do so.
We believe the outlook for FY22 is very positive for the above 3 categories and we are really looking forward to it.
Damon Robertson, CEO, COOLSPIRiT
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