Datapac proves value of Irish market

Patrick Kickham, Datapac
Patrick Kickham, Datapac

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Billy

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6 April 2017 | 0

Billy MacInnesI’m always interested when companies in Ireland gain recognition for their performance, doubly so when that recognition extends beyond Ireland to the UK as well. In terms of size, Ireland’s market is dwarfed by the UK’s, so to be acknowledged for your performance in Ireland and the UK is quite an achievement.

The latest example of this is Datapac which became the first Irish partner to win the HP Inc partner of the year for UK & Ireland award last month. The company previously scooped the HP UK & Ireland print partner of the year gong in 2014, but the latest award is much wider because it encompasses all HP Inc technologies.

The comparison most frequently made is between the market in Ireland and Birmingham or Manchester, so it might not appear that strange, at first sight, for a company based in a similarly sized market to win the award. But we shouldn’t forget that we’re talking about a partner in another country here.

Sceptics might be inclined to argue that if a reseller in Manchester or Birmingham can win the award it shouldn’t really be that remarkable for an Irish-based partner to do so. Except for the fact that, if it isn’t that remarkable, how come no Irish partner has won it until now?

Datapac managing director Pat Kickham is understandably proud of the company’s achievement. He notes that while all companies in HP’s partner programme in the UK and Ireland are assessed on equal merit, “I do believe that it’s an even more impressive achievement for an Irish partner to win this award because we’re competing with UK partners that operate in a market which has the advantage of much larger business volumes”.

He suggests the Irish market can be extremely competitive because it is smaller than the UK but still has all the key vendors operating here. “Irish providers really need to be at the top of their game to stand out,” Kickham claims. “From our perspective, our ability to grow and generate such a significant share of the available market was central to our success.”

He believes the print partner award in 2014 wasn’t a stepping stone to the overall award but it did give Datapac “the opportunity to review and identify our key competencies and successes in our print business, and apply these strategies across our wider business over the past couple of years”.

Kickham says Datapac won the award this year because “we grew revenues, new customer acquisitions and market share across all the areas we partner with HP, including printer, PCs and laptop sales, at a faster rate than any other partner in the region”.

The company’s “readiness and ability to embrace HP’s new technologies was also recognised. With 6,500 HP partners across the UK and Ireland, it was a huge achievement for Datapac to win this award”.

And that’s the point. Whatever competition Datapac may have faced in the relatively small Irish market, it was as nothing compared to the much larger number of HP partners it was pitted against from the UK. In relative terms, it’s a bit like a leading team in the SSE Airtricity League Premier division beating English and Scottish premier league rivals to come top of a combined UK/Irish soccer league. Although, despite the difference in the number of partners compared to football teams, the Irish HP partner probably has a much better chance than its Irish football counterpart.

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