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The power of simplicity: Terry O’Brien


Rebranding and merging the worldwide, distribution and wholesale channel businesses of Daisy Group under the new name of Digital Wholesale Solutions in April has CEO Terry O’Brien all fired up. But it’s not unusual for the father-of-four to feel passionate about his job.

Terry O’Brien, CEO of Digital Wholesale Solutions

“I love what I do. I’ve been with the company for seven years and I still wake up and think, ‘How can I make a difference today?’” he enthuses.

“Building meaningful relationships and making it easy for our partners, who are all entrepreneurs, to operate in a complex space is what drives me – that’s really what makes me tick.

“Changing our name was yet another way for us to make things simpler for our partners. It was as much about how we take our strengths and make them meaningful through our image, through the way we do business, through the way we operate and where we invest, as it was about keeping our business fresh in this ever-changing digital marketplace.”

Daisy Group is a UK-based company providing digital infrastructure products, services and solutions. In April, it restructured into five independent businesses focused on different customer segments.

Digital Wholesale Solutions provides services to partners serving the SMB market. The other four Group companies include Daisy Communications, Daisy Corporate Services, Allvotec and Aurora.

Founded by current Chair Matthew Riley in 2001, Daisy Group has grown to become the largest independent in the market, with collective revenues of over €650 million per annum.

Together, the Daisy businesses manage almost one million business mobile connections and over 750,000 business fixed line and data connections. The Group also operates a UK network of business continuity and data centres, and delivers communications, IT and cloud services both across the UK and internationally.

In 2012, Terry joined Daisy Wholesale as Managing Director, having previously worked as Retail Director at Vodafone. These days he is overseeing a team of 350 with a €195 million annual turnover.

Terry O’Brien, CEO of Digital Wholesale Solutions

“Over recent years, we’ve worked exceptionally hard on making sure that our company is as simple to do business with as it possibly can be,” Terry says.

“Using automation technology on our web platform and APIs, we have hidden complexity to make it really easy for our partners to engage with our products and services. It’s been a major driver of partners choosing to work with us.

“Operating inside this marketplace can be extremely complex. There are complex technologies, complex commercial partnerships and complex relationships within all the major providers of these services. And what we try to do is sit in the middle of that and act on behalf of these smaller partners and take that complexity away; take the risk away. And that’s important because by having the scale we have and by working together, we can bring real value.

“So we enable our partners to access better prices and multiple services in one place,” he adds. “Essentially, we make operating in the space a lot simpler. And you know what? We pride ourselves on being very nice people to do business with as well!”

“We make operating in the space a lot simpler. And you know what? We pride ourselves on being very nice people to do business with as well!”

Niceties aside, the UK technology market has been hit hard by Brexit uncertainty. According to KPMG’s UK Tech Monitor Index, the sector recorded its weakest performance for three years in 2018.

However, Terry believes the business model and company ethos have allowed them to buck this trend.

“What’s interesting is when you look at the UK market, large enterprises are flat. All of the growth is coming from small to medium-sized businesses, where the growth is at 4 to 5%. That’s one of the reasons this is such a great market and why, if an IT supplier or a telco wants to be successful and get great results in this market, they have to build local relationships and the trust of an army of five million small businesses out there that are hungry for great tech,” he explains.

“I like to think we act on behalf of every one of our 2,200-plus partners. We constantly look at the world through their eyes and their customers’ eyes.

I think that’s what’s driven the right approach from our teams; we’re all human beings, we’re all working together to succeed and go on to create positive outcomes.

“Ultimately, what we’re working with here is people. you’ve got to keep that human element in everything you do.”

“Also, unlike some of the major carriers, who struggle to balance a very broad portfolio of telecoms, IT and cloud services while bringing new innovations to market for small businesses, we’ve proved we are able to respond to digital advancements and be really agile for our end-user business customers. We’ve gone from being a provider of global voice and broadband services to providing e-connectivity services, mobile services, hosted services, cloud services and even products and hardware. We have had five years of double digit organic growth and that’s come from more partners choosing us because we are so easy to do business with.”

But it’s not these year-on-year gains that Terry thinks about when his head hits the pillow at night; it’s customer satisfaction.

“One of our biggest successes, as well as our great growth, is the fact we have the highest partner satisfaction score in the industry with a Net Promoter Score of 50.5. This is what I’m most proud of,” he says.

“While automation and web services are critical, ultimately what we are working with here is people. You’ve got to keep that human element in everything you do. It’s about making it enjoyable and doing business in the right way.”

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