James: Daisy does the easy bit


Daisy Communications has done the easy part; now for the hard bit. Its quick-fire purchase of Eurotel, AT Communications and Redstone has established it as the most aggressive player in the new, complicated unified communications channel.

But shelling out is easy if you have the money. The difficult part now will be to integrate the three disparate businesses, spread from London and Essex, through Suffolk and into Yorkshire. And there is Freedom4 and Vialtus, the Middlesex companies it reversed into and bought respectively, to incorporate also.

It is an immense task; as complicated perhaps as the sales practice it is looking to establish. For unified communications is an intricate proposition.

There are ways to look at it: the convergence of technology, understandable by technicians and geeks; the convergence of sales channels, which is essentially a matter of cross-selling; or some kind of new sales patter that is relevant only to the customer in front of you.

Provided it can properly integrate these new businesses, Daisy has the wherewithal to develop serious communications propositions. It also has the arsenal to cross-sell fixed line into mobile customers, and mobile into IT customers and so on.

But will its new business units work together in a way that makes sense to the customer, beyond price? Will it combine its varied proposition but go on discounting kit to win new business?

It is fine to play in a new market with fewer players, but the market requires educating first, otherwise you are simply presenting yourself as a one-stop-shop for existing goods, rather than a vendor of unusual, rare and valuable solutions.

It is a huge opportunity for Daisy now to effectively create the market.

But it has to integrate its businesses well, and educate its reseller base to strike up the kind of conversations that first saw car phones sold to Porsche drivers.