Business as usual for customers after Evros/eir Business deal
Way back in the distant mists of time – February 2009 to be exact – I conducted an interview with Bob Murray, joint managing director of what was then called Hibernia Evros Technology Group.
This was not long after Murray’s Hibernia Technology Group had merged with Evros The Computer Centre in November 2008 to create a €30 million turnover business with 80 employees and offices in Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Kildare and Limerick.
At the time, that seemed like a long way from Hibernia’s beginnings in 1991 when Murray was working from home and his car. He freely admitted that for many years, the company had adopted a “steady as she goes” philosophy and was reluctant to expand beyond 20 employees for fear of losing customer focus.
Things changed markedly when he brought HP senior executive Brian Larkin on board in 2005 and they decided to go for growth.
As Murray remarked in 2009: “We decided that standing still was no longer good enough because by standing still we were starting to go backwards.” In 2005 and 2006, a decision was taken to reinvest most of the profits back into the business.
But the growth had its own potential pitfalls. Commenting on the merger, he said: “We had been growing so quickly that we had left some nice things behind, like structure, which was one of the attractive things about Evros.”
So here we are, almost 12 years later, and Hibernia Evros Technology Group has truncated its name to Evros Technology Group. Murray is now chairman, Larkin is managing director, it has five trading subsidiaries and the business has expanded to more than 450 employees spread across Dublin, Cork, Waterford and – er – Auckland.
The latter operation was set up in October 2019 with plans to recruit 50 to 100 staff to provide support and service outside the usual 9-to-5 working hours to clients in the northern hemisphere.
Now, Evros is about to become something else again following the announcement it has been bought by eir Business in a deal which could be worth up to €80 million, “subject to future business performance”.
According to eir Business, the addition of Evros’ best-in-class IT services will complement the telecom company’s portfolio of enterprise communication services, with leading voice, data, mobile and managed services.
Managing director Martin Wells claimed the deal “creates Ireland’s largest Tier 1 telecoms and ICT provider and the combined business will be a one-stop shop for Ireland’s SME, enterprise and government organisations.”
Speaking for Evros, Larkin said the deal “will create huge opportunities for our client base and our staff as we develop the natural synergies between the two companies to deliver what will be an unrivalled communications and IT services portfolio into the Irish marketplace.”
I’m intrigued by how receptive eir Business customers will be to the “one stop shop” proposition. I assume many of them already have relationships with other IT service providers so it will be interesting to see how attractive the eir Business/Evros offer is to them going forward.
Also, while there’s nothing unusual in telecoms companies acquiring or developing their own IT services business, the issue is how they put it into practice. What isn’t clear yet, at least in public, is how the two businesses will operate. Will Evros continue as a separate IT services operation working alongside the existing eir Business? If so, how will that work? Or will it be blended into a (hopefully) seamless whole? If so, how smoothly will that process go?
On a side note, are there any subsidiary parts of the Evros operation that don’t really fit with the eir Business plan? If so, what will become of them?
Twelve years later, it’s still about the structure.