As Axon hits 20 years in business, this seemed like a good time to catch up and reminisce with MD Tim Mears. Here’s what Tim thinks about Axon’s highlights and secrets to success.
Q: How did Axon start out?
A: Axon originally started out as a Microsoft training business which Mike and Graham set up. Graham happened to be selling his house and they ended up acquiring their first managed IT client – the estate agents!
As cloud computing evolved, Graham went to a Microsoft briefing and became an early adopter, with Axon becoming one of the first UK businesses to Transact a CSP Office365 licence with Tech Data.
Q: How has Axon evolved?
A: In the earlier days we used to be more of a break/fix business. We still help businesses when any problems occur, but we’re now more focused on how we can help transform businesses through technology. We do this through really understanding each businesses process and working closely with them to better implement their existing technology, or new technology to enhance their business performance.
Q: What’s one of your top highlights?
A: Up there has to be that we’re advisors to Microsoft UK. Before Microsoft 365 came in, Microsoft Worldwide contacted Microsoft UK and asked if they could interview us to pick our brains on why we were so successful with Office 365. A personal standout for me was being invited to share Axon’s views on a product they were developing – that product was Microsoft 365!
We’re frequently asked to sit on roundtables with multinational businesses on areas such as the Microsoft Partner Programme and what partners need, product development and new product launches.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: We’ve done well at being ahead of the curve in terms of technology – I’m proud of that. The technology industry evolves quickly, and we keep up with the changes and that’s testament to our team. We’re not afraid to make mistakes. You must keep changing as technology evolves and we’ve had to be fluid. We’ve attracted team members with this mentality.
Q: How have you been innovative in your approach?
A: One of the areas is that we have our own in-house Dynamics team – that’s unique. Because Dynamics is complex, not many try to set up their own team. Our Dynamics team is going from strength to strength. As part of this we’ve developed Dynamics Now. It’s an automated solution whereby SMEs can have the best parts of Dynamics, the things they really need like opportunity and pipeline management, a CRM, etc, literally at the click of a button.
Q: How has your team evolved over the years?
A: We have lots of longstanding team members and see many grow with Axon. Several have started out as help desk engineers and are now business process and tech consultants. This isn’t an easy thing for team members to do, to shift from fixing IT issues to having a good understanding of how businesses work and where technology can best help enhance overall business performance.
We all get on and have fun. Everyone has a single desire to do right by the customer, to help them improve and be successful. They all love technology and want to grow.
Q: What key changes have you seen in the industry?
A: We’re in a fast-evolving industry. Especially the past 5 years, where we’ve seen the fastest period of change in the industry. This includes moving from on premise computing to cloud computing.
The pandemic has massively accelerated change. The old way of working has gone. The pandemic has been a real eye opener for people to see the benefits of tech and that you can’t really run a successful business today without it.
With this constant and rapid change, we are engrained in our clients’ business processes and how technology can be an enabler. Instead of traditionally where we were fixing tech problems, we’re now fixing business problems. We foresee potential problems, build efficiencies for now and the future and guide people through the tech minefield.
Q: Where’s the industry heading?
A: The big areas will be around artificial intelligence and big data. People have been wary of AI but, it will become even more intelligent and important. The opportunities are endless with the power of computing. If you don’t know what Quantum Computing is – look it up – it’s amazing! It’s going to take code cracking to a whole new level.