How would you assess Trustmarque’s performance since you joined as CEO?
As a collection of organisations that came out of Capita [in April 2022] there were a number of brands and different teams, and just before I joined there was also the acquisition of Livingstone. So this year there’s been quite a lot of integration in terms of bringing the teams together under one leadership team, one set of back-office functions and consolidating a lot of the go-to-market.
We also opened a new office just outside Glasgow, which is reinforcing our investment in Scotland, particularly around the Cisco work we do up there looking after the Scottish wide area network.
We’re up reasonably significantly [for 2023]. The plan in 2024 is to grow top and bottom line organically, and then any M&A will sit on top of that.
How likely is it that you’ll make further acquisitions in 2024?
We will do more. There are a number of different areas that we’re looking at in the market.
M&A levels in the channel have slowed due to high interest rates. What do you make of that dynamic?
There’s a massive slowdown, particularly in terms of private equity driving acquisitions. But from where I’m sitting, that enables more accurate valuations of businesses.
We looked at a number of cyber acquisition opportunities last year and the valuations were just unrealistic.
All the major Microsoft partners are readying their midmarket customers for the arrival of 365 Copilot. Does Trustmarque have a USP?
I think we do [have a differentiator] because Livingstone is 150 consultants who spend all their time giving advice and looking at how to optimise the business. And the greatest use of Copilot to start off with will be around automation and optimisation of basic tasks.
We’ve already sold our first Copilot project, and are right up there on the leaderboard of generating leads into Microsoft. I was with them [recently] and we were number two, which they were very pleased with.