Helping companies streamline their IT needs

Helping companies streamline their IT needs

Apogee is a multi-brand provider of managed workplace services, first founded in 1993. Today it has 24 locations across the UK and more than 800 employees. Carl Day,Chief Sales Officer at Apogee, tells Intelligent CXO about the company and its vision to solidify its reputation as a leading managed workplace provider. He also speaks about his career and how imposter syndrome led him to take on a work-based learning degree.

Tell us a bit more about your business and how it started.

Apogee is Europe’s leading multi-brand provider of managed workplace services – we have over 30 years of experience of working with organisations of all sizes and sectors, serving as a convenient single point of contact to streamline their IT needs.

Founded in 1993, Apogee established itself as a leading independent managed print service provider, growing exponentially both through organic and acquisition growth. Utilising the foundation and expertise within managed print, Apogee has become the Digital Transformation partner of choice for organisations in the UK. This success and continuous growth led to the acquisition by HP in 2018.
Apogee now operate as an independent subsidiary of HP Inc. This relationship gives us the advantage of being part of one of the world’s most recognisable and industry-leading technology companies, while also retaining our independence and identity.

How has the business grown since it started and how did you ensure growth?

We’ve grown significantly in every way in those 30 years. We now have more than 24 locations across the UK, over 200 engineers in the field daily and more than 800 employees in total.
We’ve ensured growth by never standing still. You don’t have to go back 30 years to see how much the workplace has evolved, so key to our success has not just been keeping an eye on how things evolve, but being innovators and bringing about change that has a positive impact on businesses and its employees.

What’s the business’ approach to management?

It can often be the case that as a manager, especially a new manager, you only focus on the easier parts of the job. You don’t think about how you’re going to deal with the challenges of managing people that you perhaps have worked with, or how you’re going to deal with underperformance.
At Apogee, we promote a culture of listening and encourage managers to take a step back and consider the implications of the decisions they are about to make. In such a big company, where people are dispersed, even the tiniest of changes can create the biggest of ripples, so I encourage management to really consider the potential outcomes and implications of their actions.

What is your company’s vision and goal?

Our goal is to grow awareness of the company as a managed workplace provider. While at times there remains a perception of Apogee as being mainly a print company, we provide much more. Our vision is to solidify our reputation as a leading managed workplace provider offering Managed IT Services (MITS), Outsourced Document Services (ODS) alongside Managed Print Services (MSP).

What kind of clients and market do you serve?

We work with all kinds of organisations, both public and private sector and have a wide variety of well-known clients including Travis Perkins, Bairstow Eves and many more.

We work across a range of industries that include finance, legal, as well as with a large number of schools and healthcare organisations. The latter two sectors face very specific hurdles and are integral to UK services, so we take a lot of pride in helping these organisations overcome their challenges.

What has your career looked like so far?

I’ve had a very varied career. I initially set my sights on joining the marines but after pivoting away from this route, I spent a year working as an engineer’s labourer at a company that made and installed sprinkler systems. From there I began working as a photocopier technician, driven by my love of fixing things, but I got bored quite quickly and wanted to see what it would be like to work for a big company.
I specifically targeted Ricoh and managed to get a job in its technical support division, which marked a turning point in my career. The company really invested in training and upskilling its people as technology was moving at pace and I took every opportunity for training that came my way. This saw me begin to help salespeople to win contracts and eventually resulted in me making the move to sales as a junior account manager. From there, I became a regional sales manager.

I then decided I wanted to cut my teeth at a board level and made the leap to National Sales Director on the board of Toshiba in the UK. At this point, having not gone into higher education and suffering a bit from imposter syndrome, I made the decision to also undertake a work-based learning degree in Leading Sales Transformation at Middlesex University. I absolutely loved doing my degree and really threw myself into learning and then applying what I’d learnt to my job.

After Toshiba, I spent a short time at a governance and risk company, which I soon realised wasn’t for me. It was at this point that I was approached by the then CEO of Apogee who had read about what I’d done with my degree and how I’d introduced learning into sales and felt because Apogee had been a privately owned business and was acquired by a corporate company, that my understanding of how you transform behaviour and scale and culture would make me a good fit. So, in February 2020 I joined Apogee as Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and have loved every minute of it, even if I wasn’t to know what challenges were waiting just a month into the job!

How do you equip your staff with skills and knowledge?

I think a lot of it comes down to staff having the will to learn, so if they have the will, but not the skill, we’ll make sure to teach them. One of the ways we do this is through coaching in which people are coached and taught how to do different things, rather than just being told, ‘this is the job, go and produce results.’
How do you work with other executives within the C-suite to make sure your voice is heard?

There are many factors to consider, and for me, ultimately ensuring direction is fundamentally aligned to a common goal or objective is key to success. Understanding, listening and respecting other C-suite perspectives is all part of that. We aren’t all here to agree on everything, being challenged is often productive and is part of a healthy environment, but challenging in the right way as opposed to seeking a selfish or personal gain will ensure you maintain that balance.

The formula that I’ve always applied is simple. I work back from the customer – always! It’s very difficult not to win share of mind from C-suite when you connect an argument, opinion, initiative back to our customers’ voices (i.e. what they are telling us they care about and the value they expect from our partnership). Especially in a B2B environment, a customer-first approach is absolutely critical and will always add credibility to when you need to be heard.

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