Business Connect Magazine were very keen to meet with Ram Gupta, Managing Director of Nybble, which has seen successful growth over the years in the IT and AV sectors.
Ram – your business name is very memorable – does it have a specific meaning?
“Nybble is actually half a byte, which is a basic unit of information in computer storage and processing. It fits really well with our branding and people certainly remember us.”
When did you start Nybble, and how was your business journey?
“We started the company just over 20 years ago. Our intention was to change the perception of IT providers, which at that time weren’t very good. We adopted a very strong customer-centric philosophy, and with the Richer Sounds brand as our aspiration, we opened a number of retail stores in the North West. After 8 – 10 years, with a great set of customers, we moved away from retail and became a managed service provider (MSP). The growth continued, and today we have three distinct but related parts to the business. We’re a managed service provider, we’re also a software house, and thirdly an audio-visual company.”
What do you provide as a managed service provider?
“This part of our business covers all things cloud, all things cyber – essentially from an IT perspective we look after your business, so you can look after your business! A good MSP should also ensure you’re not vulnerable to external forces or attacks. We cover all elements safeguarding including firewalls and cyber security for example. We also provide 24/7 helpdesk support, and if there’s a problem we offer a comprehensive range of support measures both in and out of office hours. We have a mantra – we’re your ‘In-house IT department’.”
You mentioned writing software as part of your business?
“A couple of years after moving away from retail we were asked to develop some software, and this became a service that we felt comfortable offering to other customers. Since then, that side of our business has grown considerably – now we have 16 people in the UK writing for us, and a team of 30plus abroad. We write software for the automotive sector, steel manufacturing industry, corporate clients and e-commerce. We develop single lines of code right through to millions of lines of code. Areas covered can be simple, from API integrations to front end portals. We saw a lot of that in lockdown, with businesses bringing their back offices to customer facing.
“Also, since the pandemic appeared, there have been a lot of new business start-ups with very specific e-commerce needs. We developed software around existing e-commerce platforms to make those platforms more intelligent. Things like WooCommerce, Magento, etc. The combination of the MSP part of the business and our software development teams pretty soon established ourselves as a ‘One-stop shop’ for businesses to rely on. The fact we are one company helps enormously in saving time and expense in any problem solving for a business.”
Where did the Audio-Visual part of your business develop from?
“One of our core sectors is Education. This sector has a strong appetite for AV equipment, and we have always acted as a re-seller in this area. In 2017 we had the opportunity to buy the business we were acting on behalf of as a re-seller, and from then we have enjoyed fantastic growth in this area of business.”
What do you provide in terms of AV?
“Blackburn Rovers are a great example of one of our customers. We’ve installed, and maintain, all their digital signage pitch-side at the club. AV is a massive opportunity for many businesses to promote their brand. I think this is especially the case across the hospitality and retail sectors. For the hospitality sector, good function rooms, good boardrooms, all rely on good AV equipment and the ease of use that any prospective business customer needs (and expects) to enjoy a seamless user experience.
“For the retail sector, in particular the high street and retail parks, the ability to rotate messages in terms of visual signage as part of their shop window displays is a massive promotional tool attracting passing footfall. Also, interactive touchscreens are commonplace now, and add the flexibility of messaging that we can help develop, support and maintain across any retail environment. Also, visitor entry systems have become very popular with businesses across all sectors. From a greetings and visitor tracking functionality to another opportunity to promote your brand and services, we can support you with both the hardware and software needs.”
The automotive sector features strongly as a specialist area for you, can you tell us more?
“My background before starting Nybble was at a Mercedes Benz dealership, and one stand-out I recall was the lack of support from our external IT company. I left the job to actually study my MSc at Lancaster, but the dealership asked me to help one day a week. During that time we started Nybble as both a consultancy and also a retail business, and it was the working relationship I had with the dealership that resulted in Nybble being awarded the position of official Mercedes Benz App developers which is operated from their headquarters in Stuttgart.
“It’s fair to say the entire automotive sector is an area that we do specialise in. For example, our software is used widely across the sector to help dealerships reduce the amount of paperwork required and cut their carbon footprint. This is after-sales software that allows for full digitisation of an after-sales platform. Also used widely across the sector is a fantastic product called Kerridge which is an aftermarket platform. The problem here is that it is essentially a data store that sometimes makes finding information tricky. Our software has been designed to make the job of finding specific data much easier – it’s a great example of how we can support not just the automotive sector but all businesses that need a better user experience with their existing digital tools.
“To be able to follow that journey we’ve needed to attain several accreditations, so we have now become an ISO 27001, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 business. In addition we’ve also been awarded a Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation from the government’s National Cyber Security Centre.”
What kind of businesses or sectors would be your ideal client?
“We’ve obviously covered automotive, particularly fleet management who require the crucial 24/7 support, and there are several other sectors that we have done a lot of work with – hospitality and education for example. We work best with businesses that are forward thinking and require IT solutions that don’t just ‘come off the shelf’.
“Businesses that are actively growing need a good, reliable IT partner. The optimum word there is partner. When we engage with a customer we feel as though we’re part of that business. Understanding that business is very important as we’re constantly reviewing solutions and options that may or may not be suitable. Everything we suggest as a course of action has only one outcome – to make that business work better, whether it’s cutting edge hardware, AI, or any new process, software or product fresh to the market.
“Customer service is at the core of our own business, and the 24/7 support we offer is crucial for our customers. It’s simply not acceptable that you’d have to wait for Monday morning for someone to answer a ticket, many businesses operate outside of office hours and need a quick response as soon as any potential problem arises. If you were to suggest the perfect customer for us I’d say offices between 20 and 250 people. Location isn’t an issue as we operate nationally from different sites, nor is sector.”
What are your plans for growth?
“We’re on an acquisition trail. We’re actively looking for businesses that can add value to what we offer as an organisation. Our motto is ‘Your vision, our solution’, and there are many areas that we’re currently looking at in terms of acquisition so we can deliver on this – ideally businesses that are established with say 10 – 20 employees.
“Our future growth is very much down to relationships. We’re not a sales-focused organisation, we operate on conversations and a personal touch. We’re also very clear on a mandate for social value.”
Please tell us more about your CSR and approach to adding social value?
“Anybody we see, anywhere that we go, we try and add social value. This has been a core part of our business ethos since we started in 1998, and we have a maxim that we’d like to leave the planet in a better condition that we found it in. We’re constantly aware of supporting our local community, and have won a mayoral award at the end of 2021 on the work that we have done in our local area – Blackburn with Darwen. During the pandemic, we gave customers who were struggling payment holidays. We also lent 1,400 laptops to children in need during lockdown through our charity partners Blackburn Youth Zone and Secret Santa based in Blackburn and Manchester.
“During the last year we supported the Diwali Festival at Blackburn Rovers, raising funds for the Mayor’s Charity. We’re patrons of our local Community Foundation, East Lancashire Hospice, Saffron Group, we supported Rummage Rescuers and took part in the Nightsafe Sleepout – raising £5,560 donated by our generous business community supporting local homelessness charities.”
What would you feel is your one USP that would mean businesses take you on as an IT partner?
“I would say it’s our strapline ‘One stop IT Solutions’. By covering multiple areas of support we can save many businesses both time and money when any problems occur.
“A great example would be the hospitality sector. Let’s say a hotel has a TV that isn’t functioning in a particular room. The management phones the AV company that provided the TV and they send out an engineer that comes back with ‘It’s not our problem – it’s the WiFi’. The company that installed the WiFi then send out an engineer who says ‘It’s not our problem – it’s the TV that should be picking up the WiFi but isn’t’. Next, they both blame the connectivity saying the bandwidth is not adequate. By the time someone stops finger pointing and offers the correct solution, the hotel has spent a fortune on call-outs and the room’s been vacant for days. By using Nybble, and our holistic approach to IT, problems like the one above can be instantly solved as we have expertise across so many areas of IT. For businesses, that level of support and approach is crucial”.
- MANAGED IT SOLUTIONS
- UNIFIED BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
- SOFTWARE & APP DEVELOPMENT
- AV / DIGITAL SIGNAGE
Find out more – connect with Ram Gupta on LinkedIn
Phone: 0330 002 0886