At ANS, working closely with our partners is key to forming long-lasting partnerships. As our partner showcase continues, our Indirect Sales Manager, Ryan Martin, sat down with Alan Stephenson-Brown, CEO at Evolve, to have a chat about the company, our partnership and how we continue to grow together. With that said, let’s get to know Evolve…
First of all, please introduce yourself and the company…
Alan Stephenson-Brown, the CEO of Evolve – a Managed Network Solutions company that’s redefining the way multi-site brands harness the power of network technologies to unleash their full potential.
With our global footprint covering 11 countries, we currently manage a staggering 9,500+ sites, helping businesses of all sizes stay connected and thrive in today’s hyper-connected world.
Our journey began in 2005 when our founder, Jon Shaw, had the foresight to pioneer guest Wi-Fi services. Fast forward to 2012, and we hit a turning point with the deployment of the Mako solution – today, we’re the only platinum provider of this cutting-edge technology.
We’ve since gone from strength to strength, attracting some of the best talent in the industry. In 2018, Rob Brown joined our leadership team, bringing with him a wealth of experience in team coordination and supplier management. And in 2022, we successfully completed the acquisition of IT support business GB3 and mobile company 4G voice and data, with zero redundancies.
And that’s not all – we’re thrilled to have recently welcomed Neil Muttock as our Commercial Director. With a 10-year leadership career in retail and extensive experience as a Partner Account Manager within TalkTalk Wholesale Services since 2016, Neil is a valuable addition to our team.
At Evolve, we believe that connectivity should be a gain, not a pain. That’s why we offer a comprehensive service desk solution that’s fully manned, multi-lingual, and available 24x7x365. And with our values-first approach, we strive to do everything with pace, dedication, and curiosity.
In short, Evolve is your one-stop-shop for all things network solutions. Let us help you take your business to the next level.
What does your company stand for? What are your values?
Evolve was created in 2005 to solve the headaches of hard-working multi-site brands. They were being underserved and neglected by the incumbent technology providers, facing high costs and lack of access to transformational technologies. Today, we are big enough to deliver, small enough to care, and always there.
Our values are extremely important to us here at Evolve, we believe our values, define us.
Our first value is Pace. We appreciate that time is valuable. Everyone’s time is precious, we do things right and efficiently the first time.
Next is Curiosity, we encourage our people to be naturally curious, to question everything in pursuit of knowledge and a true understanding of what is most important to each of our customers.
Our final value is Dedication. Dedication is something that thrives naturally at Evolve. Our people want to make a difference and strive to do so every day. We make the right, informed decisions because it is the morally correct thing to do, and when we make a mistake, we learn from it.
We believe in being forever learners.
Tell us about your proposition, key tech partners, and how you want to work with others…
Our three primary services – Business Connectivity (EvolveISP), Guest Wi-Fi (EvolveODM), and SD-WAN (EvolveWAN) – provide all-encompassing solutions for all your telecom needs. Our patented SD-WAN Level1 PCI certified technology offers top-notch hardware with software-defined WAN paths, ensuring layers of redundancy, high availability, and cloud-based control.
We have created valuable relationships with key partners who share our commitment to delivering the highest quality managed networks worldwide. Our long-standing and exclusive partnership with SD-WAN specialists, Mako Networks, has spanned over a decade, enabling us to stay ahead of the game in terms of providing secure and flexible networks. As their only Platinum Partner worldwide, we work in close collaboration to continually enhance their product offerings with new features that provide real benefits to our customers.
In addition, we have a strong partnership with ANS Group, where we leverage and trust each other’s product portfolios to create mutually beneficial opportunities for our customers. We have great confidence in their technical abilities and customer-centric approach. Early on, we recognised the synergy between our networking expertise and their security practises, which has been a win-win for all parties involved.
Our goal is to seek out partners who share our values and mission and who exemplify the key principles of true partnership. We seek out organisations that are dedicated to tailoring solutions that meet each customer’s unique requirements. Honesty is also a core principle for us, and we foster open and exploratory conversations to maximise the potential of each partnership and ultimately drive the best possible customer experience.
Ultimately, what do you want your company to be known for?
Our Evolve Business Group was formed with the aim of providing our customers with a comprehensive, fully managed network solution under one roof. We recognised that businesses often struggle to find a single provider who can manage all aspects of their network, from design and implementation to maintenance and support. We also discovered that billing was a key challenge for customers so developed an in-house, fully customisable, and multi-currency billing system.
We want our company to be known for providing managed network solutions with ease, reliability, and pace.
We are extremely proud of our in-house fully manned, multi-lingual service desk that operates on a 24×7 bases 365 days of the year – we are currently a finalist for the ‘Service Desk of The Year’ award presented by Technology Reseller. Our service desk is known for being proactive, not just reactive – in fact, only 10% of our calls are inbound, in the majority of cases we are able to identify and solve a customer problem before they are even aware there is one.
Are there any technology areas on your radar screen/any trends in the market that interest you? And why?
I am truly fascinated by the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the limitless possibilities it presents. The projected growth of 19% in smart cities globally is nothing short of ground-breaking, as the global IoT market is set to skyrocket from $130.6 billion in 2021 to $312.2 billion by 2026. To ensure the effectiveness of IoT devices in smart cities and properties, a reliable network connection is paramount. This is precisely where our managed network solutions come in, providing high-speed data transfer, low latency, and dependable connectivity that are essential for IoT success.
Digital transformation is another major focus, with industry-leading events like the WLR Switch Off driving organisations to adopt a Cloud-first strategy across their ICT estate. We are proud to be at the forefront of this transition when it comes to Wide Area Networking. However, the sheer magnitude of the broader transformation necessitates strong partnerships. Having trusted partners like ANS to identify and advise on areas like Cloud Security and Digital is absolutely essential.
What is your biggest achievement/what are you most proud of?
Since starting at Evolve, I have been able to use my years of international telecommunication experience to achieve high goals. Since my appointment, our services have expanded to 11 countries and 7500 endpoints, with revenue growth reaching over £17 million.
Underpinning this significant expansion has been the continual development of our 24/7/365 Network Operations Centre which is housed within our head Office in Wigan. We have invested heavily to form a brilliant team of skilled Engineers who are passionate about delighting our customers. They have driven a customer satisfaction score of 98% over the last 12 months through a genuine passion to be proactive in their support. To demonstrate this, we are proud that 86% of all fault tickets raised last year were raised proactively by our team to inform our customers that whilst they were still live and able to operate, they had in fact failed over to either their back up fixed or wireless connectivity.
The automation of our internal systems has also been a key driver to our operational excellence. We have grown out in house (entirely UK based) Development Team to 200 hours per week to ensure we can personalise our service wrap and continually evolve our solutions.
Largest personal achievement was completing my specialist master’s degree (MACD) whilst working full time growing a new business and bringing up two young children.
How do you see your company evolving?
Over the past few years, Evolve has experienced remarkable growth, 49% YOY organically, and we are determined to maintain this trajectory – I recently spoke about how we grew the company on the new Barclays Bank Podcast series, so stay tuned for that coming soon! Our ultimate objective is to foster strong and meaningful partnerships with our customers worldwide. To achieve this goal, we remain steadfast in implementing our values in all our endeavours. We are focused on constantly enhancing our service and solution offerings, driven by the passion to improve our customers’ experiences and satisfaction. With every passing day, we strive to move forward and build a brighter future for our customers and the communities we serve.
How would you describe your partnership with ANS?
Our partnership with ANS is truly invaluable. Not only does it allow us to expand our portfolio with complementary services, but it also enables us to align strategically with a business that shares similar growth ambitions. However, what truly sets this partnership apart is the human touch. We place a high value on face-to-face interactions, and we have established a strong working relationship with ANS based on mutual trust and respect. This has enabled us to collaborate effectively and provide exceptional service to our customers. Overall, we are thrilled to have ANS as a partner and look forward to many successful years of working together.
What sets ANS apart from the competition?
We are truly impressed by ANS’s unwavering commitment to customer service. Our experience thus far has been nothing short of exceptional. ANS’s approach to solving complex problems is nothing less than remarkable – they possess an unparalleled ability to simplify solutions, making them easy to understand and implement. The marketing support and resources that ANS makes available to partners are second to none, outpacing their competition by a considerable margin. These resources have proven invaluable to our Account Management Team, enabling them to comprehend a new wave of product options with ease. ANS’s dedication to excellence is apparent in every aspect of their operations, and we are honored to have them as a partner.
How do you see the partnership growing over the next few years?
We envision a promising future for our partnership with ANS. We are committed to working closely with them to further enhance our product offerings and explore opportunities that are mutually beneficial for both parties. We believe that fostering strong peer-to-peer relationships is crucial to our success, and we will continue to invest in building these relationships over the coming years.
As we move forward, we will remain focused on delivering exceptional service to our customers and creating innovative solutions that meet their evolving needs. We believe that by combining our expertise and resources, we can achieve great things and drive significant value for our customers.
To find out more about Evolve, please get in touch or visit their website.