Specialist cloud hosting – powering and protecting our customers

Why we have invested heavily in Datel Advansys

By Alan Simpson, Executive Chairman, 22nd April 2021

Jeff Bezos has announced he is moving on from being the CEO of Amazon to the role of Executive Chairman. He will no longer focus on day-to-day activities but will consider strategy, acquisitions and the development of the numerous subsidiaries Amazon has created. Datel is obviously nowhere near the Goliath of Amazon, but as its Executive Chairman I do take a high-level view of what is happening in and around the business.

One of the key areas I focus my attention on is ensuring our products and services stay in line with customer demand. To do this I spend a lot of my time listening; not only to the needs of our customers, but I also listen out for potential problems on the horizon that may impact on their businesses. I find there’s nothing more satisfying than combatting threats before they’ve had a chance to strike. 

Having been in this business for a number of decades, one might assume I’d seen it all. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The world that surrounds us today is not only overwhelmingly fast-changing, it’s increasingly complicated. And Sage systems can no longer operate in isolation like they once did, they now need to integrate with other applications within a business and provide numerous connections to the outside world. These external links have meant that system security and data integrity have rapidly grown in importance, and so have become a key priority for my team at Datel.

As exciting as technological advancements are, I appreciate that change is often closely followed with anxiety and apprehension - feelings I do not wish upon any of our customers. So we have been working hard over the last few years to develop a solution to set minds at ease, allowing our customers the opportunity to embrace the wonderful benefits that technology can bring to their businesses and lives.  

And so our protective “bubble” was born. At Datel we have now combined our Sage software and support services - with specialist hardware and hosting services. Combining these services under one roof enables our customers to operate efficiently and be fully protected. 

For many years we have partnered with the separately owned Datel Advansys and successfully provided IT infrastructure and latterly Cloud hosting services. In reflection of my comments above, in December 2019 Datel Group made a significant investment and bought the shares of Datel Advansys. This brought everything under the same Datel umbrella and has enabled us to delineate our service offerings, tidy up our inter-company processes and improve the commercial terms offered to our customers. 

But that’s all nice-to-haves. I’m sure you’re keen for me to get to the point and answer, “but does it improve performance?”

Yes it does.

I’ll give you an example; When processing high volumes of transactions, ERP systems can become slow. But where lies the problem? Is it in the infrastructure, database or the Sage code? Datel Advansys constantly monitors the performance of the system, where performance is impaired they use specialised Microsoft tools to pinpoint where the system is slow and can usually fix it immediately by amending the database. However, if that isn’t effective, they can call on our Sage experts who can inspect the actual Sage code and recommend where changes need to be made. With quick communication between our experts with different skill sets, there is absolutely no time wasted blaming the hardware, the software or the customer. The problem is fixed efficiently and Sage performs as the customer needs.

When we made this investment in Datel Advansys, we had no idea about COVID-19 and the disruption it would cause. We couldn’t have timed it better. When the first lockdown was imposed, our customers were able to instantly make the switch to working from home - and many have continued to do so since. They know that wherever they are and whatever goes on in the outside world, they are guaranteed the availability, performance and security of their Sage system. It brings me great satisfaction to be able to provide that reassurance, especially now when stability is somewhat of a luxury for so many.

So what’s next on the horizon for Datel and me in my role as Executive Chairman? In September 2020 we committed to take on Intacct, Sage’s cloud financial management solution that is incredibly successful in the U.S. We’re very excited about what this system could do for our customers, and over the coming months you’ll hear more about how Intacct adds to our portfolio of products. In the meantime, as previously mentioned - I’ll be continuing to listen to and act upon the needs of our customers. So if you have any suggestions on how we can improve our service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

About Alan Simpson - Datel's Executive Chairman

Alan founded Datel in 1981 alongside Graham Pugh, at a time when affordable technology was just starting to take off. Since then the technology has changed but Datel’s approach hasn’t. Alan prides himself on building a consultative and collaborative culture within the business that enables the team to get close enough to our customers to build long-term partnerships. 

Today, Datel is recognised as the UK's leading Sage Business Partner. We have over 180 employees supporting 1000 customers across the globe, and we have seen some fantastic success stories. 

As we look toward the future, digital transformation continues to play a vital role in our world and we are ready to support our customers to navigate the challenges ahead.