Friday, 25 April 2008

I'm limited, it's official

As of today I am now operational as a Limited Company in the UK. Robert Newby & Associates (RNA) now has a bank account and a registered trading number. So that means you can hire me as a consultant, and my associates of course.

SecurEMEA is still growing, and thanks to Rich Mogull's little podcast with me at RSA, I've been inundated with requests for help. It soon became clear to me talking to people about this that this is not going to be a quick process however, and rightly so. By the very nature of what I am offering to clients in the UK, there is a lot of checking, double checking and hesitation to move forwards.

SecurEMEA is being set up to help bring companies into the UK, to address the channel here, and then growth into the wider European market. I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that the majority of US IT security vendors (successful or otherwise) do not know the UK channel to market very well. There are many who haven't even tried, but there are also a brave few who have. Out of these brave few, there are a smaller percentage still who have succeeded.

One company I heard of recently, and who will always remain nameless in my presence, spent 2 years and $3 million pushing a team of 15 people into the UK, thinking they had a great product, and indeed they did. After 2 years, they realised that sales were flatlining, and had to set about chopping the staff back down. This cost more $$$, and took time they didn't have. Then the process of building the company here had to start again. Owch.

Many companies do it cheaply now. I was fortunate to work for Vormetric over here 4 years ago, there was 1 RSM, and me with my spanners. Later a UK sales guy joined and sales dived, so the UK operation became too expensive to maintain at that time. They are going to have a much better year this year, mark my words. Ingrian did the same, 1 RSM, me with a spanner set, and a UK sales guy. They were luckier, and managed to be acquired, but not for a huge hill of beans, and no-one made much out of it. SafeNet will probably not do much with the technology this year in my opinion.

All of this costs money, and as can be seen, is not guaranteed to be successful. An RSM costs $100-150k a year, an SE $100-150k a year, and extra sales guys, the same again. IF they make a sale, then they pay for themselves, but not the offices, infrastructure, etc. And you can't guarantee you're getting good sales guys. And you can't manage them effectively from 5000 miles away. So, this is still cheap is it?

SecurEMEA is based on the premise that I've done it before, and know what mistakes not to make again. I know what sales guys to work with, and who to avoid like the plague (you know who you are!) I know which distributors work well with tricky technologies, and which resellers are more than box shifters. Initially I am planning to do this fairly intensely with a couple of companies only, but in time I would like this to be THE place that people come to break into the UK market.

So, you can see that the people who will be most aware of the benefit that SecurEMEA can bring will be companies who have already tried and been burnt to some degree. Those who haven't tried might be persuaded that they can do without, and indeed, it is possible, especially with products that have a very long sales cycle.

If you can't afford to wait that long, or spend that much cash however, why not drop me a line?

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