Andrew Stuart, Datto’s EMEA Managing Director, discusses the UK’s EU referendum.
My flight was due to land at Heathrow Airport just before 7 a.m. on June 24 after flying overnight from New York’s Kennedy Airport. As usual, the captain’s voice came over the PA system about 30 minutes before we were due to land to give us an update on the flight, the weather in London and the latest news. The weather on the ground was wet but the political weather was stormy—Britain had voted to leave the European Union.
I confess that like most people I have spoken to since, both Leave and Remain voters, I was shocked at the result. I think most expected the vote would be close, but few expected we would actually vote to leave.
A week on and of course it is still the topic which is interjected into the majority of conversations, with colleagues, customers, suppliers, family, and friends. People are keen to understand how the result could potentially impact Datto’s business. The answer of course is that for the most part it’s quite unclear.
Datto has been investing heavily in growing its EMEA business since acquiring its exclusive UK distributor, Paradeon Technologies, back in 2013. From an initial focus of growing our UK and Ireland-based partners, we are now supporting partners across 38 countries in the region. We recently opened our new EMEA head office in Reading, UK with room to more than triple the headcount of our UK team as well as opening data centers in Frankfurt, Germany and Reykjavik, Iceland.
We have no plans to dial back this strategy or our investment, on the contrary we are currently working through the planning of additional investment for 2016 over-and-above our existing plans which includes senior roles with global responsibilities based from our Reading office.
To provide the best Partner experience in the channel, we must continue to hire the best talent from across the region, and from across the world. We are proud that around 20 percent of our UK team were born outside of Britain. They bring skills and experiences from other countries and cultures that allow us to build a global-minded company. I need to continue to build on that diversity and specifically hire people with language skills in key EU markets for us such as Germany, Italy, France and Spain to ensure we can support our partners in their native tongue. I am hopeful that as Britain bows out from the European Union, that hiring such talent into our Reading location will not become more difficult and that they continue to feel welcome in their adopted home.
We know there are likely to be some turbulent times ahead, something we should always be prepared for. Part of that preparation is ensuring you protect your business from whatever lies ahead and thus our message about protecting business data rings a little louder. Our solutions also increase efficiency of our partner’s engineers and can help reduce costs, something I know our partners capitalize on. This becomes incredibly important if the economy undergoes a period of suffering.
My overall feeling is that the ‘doom and gloom’ predictions that we have been inundated with in the run up to and since the referendum are starting to dissipate, and whilst there are likely many challenges ahead there is also significant opportunity for Datto and our partners. I’m hopeful that the silver lining to the recent vote and any pain we may suffer in the coming months and years will be the catalyst for much needed reform in the European Union and that our long-term relations with the other member states actually strengthen as a result.
As with the rest of the world, we will be monitoring the situation carefully to ensure we’re taking the necessary course corrections to maximize our success, as well as the success of our partners in Europe and beyond.
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