SAS IT has unveiled plans to expand capabilities across the lower North Island and South Island markets through a new regional sales hire, increased physical presence and an enhanced customer transformation agenda.
Central to such efforts is the appointment of Mark Hayden as regional sales leader based in Christchurch, tasked with strengthening end-user ties through the deployment of digital technologies and managed services.
Effective immediately, Hayden joins the business following more than 11 years at IBM, having held the role of client executive for commercial accounts in lower North Island and South Island markets.
Through this appointment, plans are underway to have physical presence in both Christchurch and Wellington, growing local headcount by 25 per cent as a result.
“We continue to focus on our growth strategy in New Zealand and have been planning a sales and development role targeting this region for some time,” said Matt Roberts, group CEO of SAS IT.
“Mark has a strong track record of success in this area and brings the behaviours and skills that we believe are needed to develop long-term relationships with customers. Mark joins from IBM which has been a key partner of ours for many years meaning a depth of understanding already exists in terms of our business and offerings.”
As outlined by Roberts when speaking to Reseller News, the move represents a significant shift in strategy for technology provider in terms of driving regional reach outside of Auckland.
“We’ve not addressed these markets in this way before,” outlined Roberts, who took home Management Excellence honours during the Reseller News Innovation Awards in 2020. “During recent visits it’s become apparent that there’s still a need for face-to-face contact despite the trend towards remote working. We believe we can better support our customers through local and regional accountability.”
In assessing Kiwi market conditions, Roberts acknowledged that no specific technology solution stands out from a customer demand perspective, evident of evolving end-user investment priorities post-pandemic.
“We’re dealing with everything from DevSecOps, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence [AI] and automaton through to traditional infrastructure and cloud,” he said. “What we do see is an opportunity to bring our collective experience to customers that may not have been able to benefit from that in the past.”
For Roberts, most customers are currently undergoing some element of transformation, whether forced upon due to COVID-19 or stemming from a boardroom desire for strategic change.
“Our priorities are focused around shaping our organisation, people and capabilities to lead conversations, introduce concepts and become the partner of choice in driving effective change,” he explained. “To be that partner we need to keep investing in training and development, to keep refining our commercial models and to adopt and promote relevant technologies. We have to keep improving because being static is not an option.”
The increased regional focus comes 12 months after SAS IT embarked on a transformation and growth initiative aimed at shifting the business from an on-premises infrastructure-focused managed service provider (MSP) into a digital transformation leader.
As revealed by Reseller News, the move, which comes with a five-year time frame, was driven by an awareness of the shifting customer needs in the Kiwi market - in this case, the desire for partnership, insight and innovation from technology suppliers instead of a more traditional break/fix feed and water infrastructure services-type supplier.
“Our business has always done well in times of crisis, partly due to being a mature MSP and outsourcer which makes us a natural point of assistance for customers, and partly due to the ease of working with us, something we pride ourselves on,” Roberts added.
“Our financial stability afforded to us by almost 50 years in business, and continued investment in building capability and capacity, has served us well. We’re looking at the long-term, not just the immediate.”