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Noel Leeming transformation to focus on Services

29 Jan 14

Noel Leeming is ramping up its services offering with ambitious plans to be New Zealand's leading technology service player.

Tim Edwards, Noel Leeming chief executive, says services will be a significant portion of the company's turnover within the next three years.

While he won't indicate what sort of portion he's talking, he says services business for the company is currently 'material and definitely worth growing'.

Edwards says Noel Leeming is in the foundation year of building its services offering, which currently includes Tech Solutions mobile technicians, Open Learning Centres – launched passively at several locations in Auckland nine months ago and providing 30 minutes free training when customers buy devices, with the option of coming back for more paid training later – and Maclean Computing, which it acquired late last year.

“One of my mantras at the moment is 'service at the centre of everything we do'. It's going to be a very important part of our business. It will be a big differentiator for us.”

Edwards says the Maclean's acquisition helps Noel Leeming close the service gap. While the company has been able to provide services via its Tech Solutions offering 'to a point', the Maclean purchase allows the company to dramatically expand that.

“So areas like education, remote network monitoring, managed services, those areas we are going to develop and we will be the leading player in New Zealand, there's no doubt.

He says the company will focus on delivering both device based services and software based services. “At the end it's about the user. They don't care if it's the computer or the software package slowing them down. All they know is that the thing they want to do isn't happening quickly.”

Edwards says the first target for a full services offering will be business, however 'you don't have to think too hard about what the opportunities could be to consumers as devices become the centre of everything we do'.

The company's ambitions don't stop with managed services. Edwards says Noel Leeming wants to be 'one of the leading players in the cloud'.

“In fairness to Chris [Maclean], he's already significantly down that path and as a group we're already signficantly down that path... It has its limitations, but so does desktop computing. It's about horses for courses and that's where our area of specialty will be – in understanding your business and individual circumstances and what's right for you.”

Ultimately, Edwards says, there is 'huge opportunity' to expand to onselling hosted applications. Again the Maclean acquistion plays into those plans, with Edwards noting that Maclean's has 'the smarts of the systems and processes'.

“It would be pretty natural to assume that over time – and I won't commit to the time frame yet – we would like to own some of the cloud based services so we can make sure they are the best for our customers and maximise the opportunity ultimately for us as well.”