Technology Reseller v32

01732 759725 IT AS A SERVICE 54 lifeblood, and it is such a breath of fresh air because you end up having a completely different view on life,” she said. “Before, my discussions with CFOs and FDs were all about cash management, cash maintenance, how you preserve cash, how you invest for the future. Now, that conversation has tilted to ‘How do you want to transform your business for the future?’. When you put that question to a CFO or an FD their face lights up because they know they are working for the greater good of the organisation, whereas with cash management you are mostly just firefighting. “So, the IT industry as a whole is extremely refreshing for me – it gives me a different lens and allows me to bring different content to the table amongst my existing network.” In March, Econocom, an international provider of financing and IT-as-a-service solutions, announced the appointment of Frances Weston as its new Managing Director for the UK and Ireland. With a background in finance, at Barclays, Scotia Capital and Bloomberg Tradebook, Weston looks like a good fit for a company that derives two thirds of its revenues and profits from asset finance leasing and one third from digital transformation consultancy, services and solutions. Weston’s knowledge of finance will clearly serve her well in her new role, but when Technology Reseller spoke to her during lockdown, she seemed most excited by digital transformation and the IT industry’s entrepreneurial spirit. “It is the IT industry’s DNA and Connecting the dots James Goulding speaks to Frances Weston about her plans to grow Econocom in the UK Planning for growth The timing of Weston’s appointment, weeks before lockdown, was unfortunate, not least because of the Group’s ambitious UK growth plans. However, Weston seems unfazed by the scale of the challenge ahead of her. “As a group, Econocom had revenues of 3 billion euros in 2019. Our UK objective is to hit 170 million euros in revenue in 2023. We will probably do a third of that this year and try to double up as we grow. The opportunities are there to be able to do that,” she said. Weston expects many of these to come from ‘connecting the dots’ – by seeing what has worked in France and Germany and attempting to replicate that in the UK, and by working out how the Group’s diverse IT offering and financing capabilities can be leveraged as public and private organisations accelerate their digital transformation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Looking at group financials, about 60-70% of the revenue and profitability of the company is derived from asset finance leasing. Then, when you drill down further, you find that most group business gets done in France, where Econocom has great relationships with the likes of Paribas, Airbus and L’Oreal. We want to build on that history in the UK and Ireland.” Given the strength of these relationships, Weston believes it would be remiss of her not to focus on multi- national companies in the UK too. However, she adds that Econocom does also address the technology and financing needs of home-grown enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses and schools, either directly or through partnerships with vendors and resellers. “We are really lucky that because of the credit relationships we have with the banks that sit behind us, we have our own funding facility in Ireland and a panel of banks that we use locally in the UK and Crown Dependencies. We have a platform approach to SMEs that allows certain types of business and schools to apply for funding on a portal. It is a straight-through process that allows us to do very quick credit checks and provide services relatively quickly to the SME market. SMEs are part of our ecosystem and we support them.” Frances Weston