October feels like the month the business community properly woke back up – particularly when talking about tech. An increasing number of organisations have continued to acknowledge the emerging threats and opportunities caused by the ‘sticking plaster’ solutions introduced during the pandemic, with data security, network resilience and latency, among the most talked about topics.

When it comes to comms, Gartner published its new UCaaS Magic Quadrant for 2021, with brands like Microsoft hailed for leadership, while challenger Google was praised for ease of use. With 74% of enterprise users forecast to have ditched their desktop phone by 2024, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this evolving space.

There have been product launches, investments, company acquisitions, movers and shakers, and more. The media has therefore had a LOT to talk about. But with disruption in our DNA, Vapour has continued to make plenty of headlines over the past three months.

Here are some of our highlights - click on the links throughout to catch up…

Vapour heads up sustainability in tech feature

Our head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty, headlined an environmental feature in Comms Dealer, which explored how organisations can reduce the carbon impact of their tech infrastructure – and the role that suppliers can play.

Senior hire gets industry talking

News of our latest hire caused ripples throughout the tech community, as we welcomed Glenn Ollivant ‘home’. He first entered the sector exactly 15 years ago, when he was trained by Vapour’s CEO, Tim Mercer. He’s had a high-flying career since, with roles for Virgin, Kcom and TalkTalk Business, and we’re delighted that his next big move, was into our ambitious team

This article from UK Tech News was one of our favourites.

How many SD-WAN solutions are truly security-first?

Vapour was interviewed by tech title Jaxenter, this month, on the incredibly hot topic of SD-WAN. But while these agile networks are causing quite the debate in industry, it’s crucial that IT leaders look for one that is truly security first. We delved into the exciting potential of this game-changing technology, while considering which solutions are truly worth the investment.

Digital transformation secrets unlocked

Don’t innovate for innovation’s sake, was the top-line advice provided by Vapour in an expert comment for Top Business Tech. The piece, which looked at the roll out of digital transformation projects in organisations large and small, explored how to reap maximum value from such an exercise, and why the role of people is just as crucial as technology and process digitisation.

Vapour collaboration accelerates Allvotec’s UC roadmap

In September, we shared that ICT specialist Allvotec had recently partnered with Vapour to bolster its Unified Communications portfolio. Allvotec is forecasting huge growth over the next 12 months, as organisations continue to adopt digital transformation projects at pace. This story hit the headlines, and was picked up by UKTechNews, CommsDealer, UC Today, Networking Plus and Business Link to name just a few!

And a feel-good story to finish…

CEO Tim Mercer tackles 286km challenge for Borne

There was widespread – and deserved – media support for Vapour boss Tim Mercer, when he embarked on a 286km challenge which he affectionately named his ‘week of hell’. In only five days he cycled 211km, rowed 20km, ran 13km and completed the 42km Yorkshire Three Peaks climb - all in aid of the charity committed to preventing premature Birth. His enduring feat was the latest in a series of fundraising efforts for Borne and has taken us that little bit closer to our bold £23,000 target. Thanks for getting behind us LeedsTech, UK Today News, Topic UK, BusinessUpNorth, Huddersfield Hub, and Eminetra.

There’s a lot more to come from Vapour in the final weeks of the year, as we prepare to announce new industry partnerships, customer projects and toolkit developments. To be among the first to read the latest, follow us on our social media channels Twitter and LinkedIn.

Cloud specialist Vapour has joined forces with global IT solutions provider The ICC Group (ICC), to deliver a next-generation managed service proposition for customers.

The collaboration follows ICC’s appointment of well-known industry name Gary Saunders, who will be responsible for growing the managed service division to a multi-million-pound revenue business, in only two years.

With a 60-strong nationwide team and an extensive customer base within the SME, enterprise and public sector markets, ICC’s market success to date has primarily been a result of its hardware product and maintenance offering. But recognising the ever-evolving needs of customers, and rising demand for proactively managed services, the organisation sought the skill-set of an experienced Microsoft CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) to bolster its already successful partner portfolio.

The collaboration means that when ICC customers want to embark on a digital transformation journey, or a cloud-first overhaul of their communications infrastructure, the two firms will join forces to deliver something that truly satisfies the requirements of the brief, and best leverages the expertise of both teams.

“As is the case with any partner we choose to collaborate with, critical to ICC is an unswerving commitment to putting the customer first,” explained The ICC Group’s CEO, Leon Wheeler. “So, whether we’re devising a business continuity solution rich with disaster recovery functionality, a savvy comms platform to facilitate productive remote working, or an analytics layer to unlock business intelligence, it has to centre on what the customer needs, not what we’d like to sell.

“This sounds like such an obvious statement to make, but you’d be surprised how much of this still goes on – and it just doesn’t cut it, especially in the current landscape.”

Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer added: “Like Vapour, ICC is a technology-agnostic business that doesn’t push its own product agenda. These guys don’t try and sell something from their kitbag, just because it makes life easy. They really get to the heart of the customer’s requirements and develop the right-fit solution from there. I’m excited to see where we can go, together.”

Vapour has already taken The ICC Group itself from a legacy on-premise voice system to a licence-based softphone environment designed to support the increased productivity, flexibility and connectedness of colleagues, whether they’re based in one of the company’s four offices or working remotely.

“Even this simple transition for our own business, will bolster our grip on what’s going on – particularly for customers interacting with our service desk,” said Gary. “Armed with more intel, we can fine-tune the level of service we provide. We can analyse email and instant message dialogue too, which would traditionally have only been possible with a very expensive omnichannel platform. This is exactly the type of functionality we can open up to our customers, with ease. There are even Technology as a Service options in the pipeline.

“It all comes down to adding value, and the perception of value has changed significantly in the last 12 months. Customers need agility from their supplier – that’s what leads to long-term relationships – and that’s exactly what we seek in our suppliers too.”

Cloud technology specialist Vapour has announced a trio of powerful new industry collaborations as the company moves into its next era of growth. The news marks a £350k investment in its toolkit, and the creation of at least seven additional jobs, as Vapour eyes £7m turnover by the end of 2021.

The Yorkshire-headquartered firm has been appointed as a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (Microsoft CSP), having signed a new deal with global distributor Tech Data. This means organisations can source any Microsoft product or service, through Vapour – including Teams licences, Azure, hybrid cloud, and backups – with one wrap-around support solution and analytics across the collaboration stack. Customer support will be provided by Vapour’s own specialist engineers, who will triage enquiries and call upon Tech Data’s own helpdesk if required, with direct escalation into Microsoft if needed.

Elsewhere, Vapour has enhanced its relationship with existing firewall partner Fortinet, to launch a security-first SD-WAN network proposition with zero touch provisioning. This move comes in response to market demand for cost-effective hybrid cloud solutions that deliver greater agility, network performance and real-time control.

With SD-WAN overlays available for MPLS networks, as well as ‘plug and play’ SD-WAN boxes to protect corporate traffic in remote working setups, it is anticipated that this new proposition will prove popular among businesses with a cloud-first roadmap – especially those with satellite operations and homeworkers.

The third collaboration sees Vapour further cement its long-standing relationship with Veeam, with the launch of a new suite of hybrid backup, data management, servers, storage and disaster recovery solutions, for customers large and small.

The partnerships – which have been almost 12 months in the making – coincide with a complete rebrand for the company, as it nears its eighth anniversary.

However, the changes signify far more than a new visual identity, explains CEO Tim Mercer.

“When we entered the voice market in 2013, we were very vocal about what cloud could do,” he said. “In truth, people weren’t really ready, yet with the support of our investors, a considered recruitment strategy, and a lot of hard graft, we built an ultra-resilient network – not to mention a straight-talking reputation – which transformed the space.

“Fast forward to 2020 and I knew we could do more. I knew our network could be a real enabler of digital transformation. So, as part of our work with Barclays and Cambridge Judge Business School, we challenged every part of our organisation. We enjoy innovating. We aren’t afraid to disrupt. And now I think we can shake up the norm in wider segments of the market too – especially with these tech giants by our side.”

Industry collaborations have always been key to Vapour’s route-to-market, and that’s not about to change.

“We’re saying to companies of all shapes and sizes, you bring the challenge – however complex – and we’ll bring the solution,” continued Tim. “We’ll continue to collaborate with resellers throughout the channel and hope we can further strengthen their proposition by enhancing our toolkit, while satisfying some of the opportunities that are coming in directly to our business too.”

Other new additions to Vapour’s toolkit include robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities, UC&C analytics, and a more defined consultancy service to bring the tech stack together.

“It would have been easy to rein things in when Covid-19 hit,” admitted Tim. “And the economic backdrop has naturally caused vast uncertainty for many. But we had three big projects on our ‘hit list’ for 2020, and we actually accelerated our growth plans as the year unfolded.

“We’ve more significant announcements to come throughout 2021, but the rebrand represents the start of something really exciting for our team – that’s why they played such a crucial part in shaping how we’ll look, sound and behave, moving forward.”

To further discuss the contents of this press release, or to arrange an interview with any of the parties highlighted throughout, please contact Katie Mallinson at Scriba PR, on T: 0044 7751 615110 or
E: katie@scribapr.com.

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