Onyx on track for £100m turnover target

IT firm confident about continued growth, following acquisitions and significant investment in infrastructure

Neil Stephenson - Chief Executive, Onyx Group
Neil Stephenson - Chief Executive, Onyx Group

Fast-growing IT infrastructure and support services provider, Onyx Group, says it is well positioned to hit an ambitious £100m turnover target within five years, while growing employee headcount from 180 to around 500.

The Stockton-headquartered firm is on track to report revenues of £20m for 2014 and, with the recent acquisition of Knowledge IT, that figure should hit £30m this year.

The business now runs a total of six data centres and seven recovery centres, with sites in Stockton, Newcastle, Gateshead, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Rotherham and London.

Chief executive Neil Stephenson is now keen to solidify its national reach with a presence in the Midlands, ultimately drawing in £20m turnover from each region in which it operates.

“We really want to do it and it’s not just about the financial figure,” he said. “This is about quality contracts and recurring business.

“We’ve built up an amazingly high quality business, which means we can take a medium-term view of things, and we’ve been able to invest millions in infrastructure over the years because of a high quality business model.

“Now, we’re moving faster than ever before.”

Jill Tate Onyx Group has been named as one of the official Cloud Computing suppliers to the Government
Onyx Group

Established in 1994, Onyx began life as a small internet provider, but grew significantly to a £1m turnover business within a matter of a few years.

A management buy-out was conducted in 2000 and the company has been growing by at least 10% each year since, both organically and through a number of strategic acquisitions.

The melding of the company with Knowledge IT, Mr Stephenson said, represented “the number one and number two in the market coming together” and has opened up a number of new possibilities.

For a start, it means a new data centre at Silverlink Business Park in North Tyneside and the addition of Knowledge’s data cabling division.

“Often when you buy a business, there’s the acquirer and the acquired and one of those can be cannibalised,” Mr Stephenson said. “But we’re getting the best of both.

“One thing that really attracted us to the business was the people and we’ve now got some of those in very senior positions.

“For example, Knowledge IT’s MD George Sanger has taken up the role of commercial director.”

The company, which now works with 2,000 customers across a range of sectors, also continues to build on its reputation for security, having earned PCI accreditation for its handling of credit card information.

So-called ‘hybrid’ services, involving a mix of physical IT and cloud offerings, are also becoming more significant.

“You need to have open conversations with your customers and adapt your offering as technology moves forward,” Mr Stephenson said.

“There’s a drive for faster and better value services and you have to be aware of that.”

He added that modern IT companies also had to offer a broad range of benefits, rather than subcontract out services.

“More and more of customers tell us they wish to buy from fewer suppliers,” he said. “They expect a broad portfolio.

“Our job as an IT provide is to provide IT services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of what’s happening in the outside world. We’re trusted as an expert and we’ve invested in our infrastructure so our customers don’t have to.”


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