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Vodafone Global Enterprise’s acquisition of IT services leader Bluefish underlines the growing importance of unified communications.

Lyndon, you’re one of the founders of Bluefish. How did it all start?

Phil Howarth and I started Bluefish back in 2004. The idea was to create a flexible resourcing model to build and deliver programmes for our clients. Scalability was key. When Vodafone Global Enterprise approached us, we thought long and hard about the proposition. We really liked the mobile heritage. Combined with our skills and services, we could potentially bring about something powerful. We could make unified communications work for the customer in a mobile centric way. That’s what really interested us.

How will customers benefit from the Bluefish acquisition?

We work almost exclusively with larger organisations, so we have a real understanding of their needs. What Bluefish will bring to Vodafone Global Enterprise is fulfilment capability. Vodafone Global Enterprise has got a really good message and a clear roadmap. That’s important, because the CIO’s function is more and more about managing external partners to get the best possible value and quality of service going forward.

What is unified communications?

Unified communications is the integration of real-time communications services, including fixed and mobile telephony, video, email and IM (instant messaging), to provide a consistent and unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

Or to put it another way – it’s being able to provide your workforce with the information they need – whenever they need it, wherever they need it – on any device you choose.

Why do unified communications matter so much?

For Vodafone Global Enterprise’s customers, the marketplace is global – there are no longer any boundaries. People expect to be able to trade with an organisation and have a single point of entry. So when a customer phones up to discuss buying something, or has a problem with the thing they’ve bought, you need to appear as one joined-up organisation.

To do that, you need to be able to use your global capability to drive costs as low as possible. Technology enables you to do all of those things. That’s what we’re here to do.

How will this save money for customers?

If you consider what Vodafone Global Enterprise are looking to do, they’re looking to take the customer from the purchase of large capital items to an operational cost-per-user in the organisation.

If you buy unified communications, and cloud and collaboration services, you’re buying future proofing. You’re not making a big capital investment decision, you’re making a partnering decision. We can make the investment decisions to enable you to get on with running your business.

What’s your vision?

If you look at Vodafone Global Enterprise, it’s an innovative, exciting, young organisation. It has a lot of big customers that want to do really exciting things. That marries very well with Bluefish. We’re only seven years old. In technology terms, that’s not infant, but it’s not old either.

Businesses come to us because they know we’ve got people with the intellectual capability and experience to deliver results. We’ve been to the top of the mountain, seen the view and know the way back. We can take you there. What we bring to Vodafone Global Enterprise is the ability to take those messages and turn them into products, services and managed services.

Just one last thing – why Bluefish?

We thought long and hard about names and decided Knight & Howarth was not a good one. Then Phil went off on a fishing trip. He was out in the boat with his son who was eight at the time and they caught a fish. Phil’s son said: “Dad, you should call the company Bluefish”. Phil rang me from the boat and said: what do you reckon? I said I really like that – and that was it!

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