Technology Reseller v50 45 Profile : Network Communications Group were just following price guides. It has been interesting to monetise that side of the business.” Powling is not just bringing his telecoms know-how to the IT world; he is also bringing it to the CCTV sector through NCG’s TECTA division, another example of the company’s diversification into new sources of revenue. “Back in 2018, I decided to invest in setting up the TECTA division with a focus on construction. From the start, we made a big point of selling maintenance contracts on the back of the CCTV installations – copying our telecoms model and only supplying equipment with a maintenance contract. That was quite unusual in that industry and at first we encountered some reluctance, but slowly people started to realise it made sense to take out a maintenance contract and have peace of mind that they are being looked after.” Integrated processes As NCG diversifies, Powling has invested a great deal of time and effort in applying common business processes across all Group companies to maximise the opportunities for cross-selling and improve efficiency, with a particular focus on integrated billing. “For the last six to nine months we have been integrating Wavehill with other divisions and bringing greater efficiency to client billing. We’re quite structured and process-driven at Network Communications Group, and by introducing the processes we already use for licensing and product billing to Wavehill, we’ve enabled them to take a job that used to take a fortnight a month down to just three days. “In this instance, we used Wavehill’s own billing system with Sage. Our next challenge is to support cross-selling by putting everything onto aBILLity from Union Street Technologies so that we can bill comms, connectivity and tech products on a single platform across the whole customer base.” Other priorities for NCG are to move Wavehill customers to direct debit payments – “We collect 90% of money by direct debit because we have a monthly billing model and so far we’ve transitioned nearly 60% of Wavehill’s customers to direct debit”; and to bring more consistency to contracts across the Group, replacing the 60-day rolling contracts offered by Wavehill with minimum 12-month contracts. In the meantime, Powling will continue to explore opportunities for further acquisitions. He has his eye on a potentially exciting bolt-on acquisition that will add more critical mass to NCG’s CCTV business and boost maintenance revenues in that area, but remains wary of embarking on too many time-consuming smaller acquisitions that can require as much work as bigger corporate deals. “There’s a lot of activity and a lot of consolidation going on in the smaller end of the marketplace and although I enjoy doing acquisitions, the smaller deals present as many challenges as the large ones,” he says. “We’re currently converting Wavehill out of the mindset that they have to sell services and I think that’s quite a change for them. Among tech companies the approach was always ‘if you’ve got the money, you buy the server’. But you don’t actually need to find the budget; it is about the revenue stream. You don’t need to sell anything these days; you don’t sell services, you rent them. We’ve got the money and we will do the underwriting for you.” In this respect, NCG is simply bringing the telecoms model into areas of technology that historically have not been as inventive or as successful at monetising the provision of equipment and services. “The one thing the telecoms industry did right is they monetised it in the early days – they got the contractual commitment and the financial commitment – and the tech industry is now benefiting from adopting some of those models and monetising the industry a bit more. In comms we knew how to make money and we’re using those methods to make money out of tech. “Historically, the data side weren’t creative or clever at making money. They