Steve Shelsher Hamilton Rentals Cloud Expo Europe 2020
JIM MARSDEN [00:00:25] Hello and welcome. My name’s Jim Marsden and we’re here with Disruptive Live at Cloud Expo 2020. I’m joined today with Steve Shelsher from Hamilton Rentals, Sales Director and Dan Feasey, the Head of Marketing from Bell Integration. Welcome, guys.
STEVE SHELSHER [00:00:42] Good to see you, Jim.
JIM MARSDEN [00:00:43] Steve, tell us a little about Hamilton Rentals and your relationship with Bell.
STEVE SHELSHER [00:00:48] So Hamilton Rentals were actually, we’re fast approaching our 50th year since a corporation. I’ve only been there for a small fraction of that time. But back then, we started as an organization that provided short-term hire of electronic office equipment, golfball typewriters and things of that ilk. Fast forward to where we are now, we’ve got circa 10 million pounds worth of fleet, which ranges from enterprise level servers and storage through to laptop, tablet, personal system device. And all of that is available to rent from a day to a week to a month.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:01:25] So, Steve, does everyone rent?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:01:27] That’s a very good question, Daniel. We deal across most of historic verticals, so finance and media, telco construction, and that could be for someone that needs just one laptop for 100 days or someone needs a 100 laptops just one day.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:01:47] And typically, why do people rent?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:01:50] It’s very much around where the need doesn’t justify the cost of ownership. Not not too dissimilar to the car hire analogy. You wouldn’t buy a car if you need it for a day, you wouldn’t buy one if you need it for a week or a month. So it’s things like projects for temporary office space, for proof concepts, events, shows and events wherein companies will need a spike of IT or AV. But beyond that, no necessary need for it.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:02:15] And the benefits are rentals Steve. What do you think those are?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:02:18] Well, obviously I think certainly within the SME, SMB marketplace. Cash is always king and you need to fulfil these projects and these exhibitions and shows. And why tie up that cash in equipment? It’s only gonna be used for short periods. So, you know, that’s one of the main, main benefits for our customers to be able to scale your IT and AV without the CapEx.
JIM MARSDEN [00:02:43] Steve sounds very, very similar to the kind of models we’re seeing in the cloud computing industry. How do you feel the IT rental business has been affected by the advent and the growth of cloud computing?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:02:54] Well, I think to be honest, certainly across the last 10 years, we have seen a decline in terms of the demand, particularly for server and enterprise level storage. I think it has very much levelled off and maybe even slightly go back up again, certainly with the likes of hybrid cloud. Obviously, a lot of people were looking to move to the cloud. And for that for us in terms of datacenter moves and you know, obviously with are now being part of Bell Integration part and parcel of the services they provide for moving data centres, migrations and consolidations, there’s a necessity for Swinking. And that’s where we come in. We can provide small or large volume of enterprise server, enterprise storage, go into place, allow an organization to move off premise, on premise, data centre to data centre, swing across zero downtime. And again, without that, CapEx of having invested in for equipment, they’re only gonna need for a short space of time. So it’s taken away, but it’s coming back in as well.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:03:52] Again is that across all verticals again Steve?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:03:54] Very much so. Very much so. And that’s that’s that’s not just from the server and storage level equipment, but right the way down to personnal system and device.
JIM MARSDEN [00:04:06] Steve, just to sort of bring things to current events, obviously we are experiencing worldwide the outbreak of Corona Virus, COVID-19. How are Hamiltons seeing and approaching these current events?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:04:22] Well, I think firstly, the events and exhibition market has quite honestly been decimated. You know, of Mobile World Congress being cancelled was was the first big hit. World book Fair. I think the diabetes show was one that was cancelled this week and obviously sporting events. So certainly the event’s industry has taken a big hit. So I’m so pleased to see such good footfall here you know. It’s really pleasing to see this event being well attended. The flip side is more and more organizations are looking to put temporary staff into homeworking, even making DR measures. I mean, how are they going to cope with this or the volume of staff needing to work from home? So we’ve seen increase amount of inquiries for small and very large volumes of of laptop hire, which goes back to what we said earlier on in terms of we now got this period where companies need high volume of IT equipment, but just for a short period of time, you know, we all hope that this three to six month period, they’re saying is going to be true and this thing is going to die down. So if companies are investing capital in hardware, they’re not going to need in three to six months time. It’s crazy.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:05:32] And is there an element of companies provisioning just in case Steve? Better to need it and.
STEVE SHELSHER [00:05:37] Yeah, I think I think it is certainly a wake up call. I mean, as an organization we’ve we’ve always had kind of steady flow of DR requests and it tends to be a hot potato. You know, some poor individual in IT is thrown a hot potato. Here’s our DR plan and there’s a folder and they open it up and it’s empty. So what do you do? And you’re making provision for a disaster that you hope will never have happen. But I think it’s very much been along the lines of kind of physical disaster in terms of, you know, building fires or terrorist events, et cetera. I mean, the Corona Virus is a real curveball, I think. And again, I think it’s given everyone a real wake up call to make sure their DR plan is in place and up to date.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:06:21] And it’s ticking the box for Hamilton Rentals really another thing that they do along with the event industry. So one hand taketh, the other hand giveth.
STEVE SHELSHER [00:06:28] Absolutely. Absolutely. And from our point of view, as I mentioned, you know, we deal across all of the verticals, but it tends to be the organizations that already know and embrace rental will know how to use it strategically for managing those peaks and troughs. But sometimes we are viewed as a bit of a white goods supplier. So back in the day when people take a fridge or a TV in the house, that’s that’s not what we’re about. We’re not an alternative to purchase. We are a strategic organization to actually use us to fill those peaks and troughs in terms of IT workload.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:07:02] I remember reading a very good case study you guys actually done for a retail outlet. And I understand Hamilton’s is actually working quite closely with the high street at the moment.
STEVE SHELSHER [00:07:12] Yeah, absolutely Daniel. Yeah it’s again, retail is a constantly changing animal and need for IT and AV and one that’s obviously suffering. Retailers need to get footfall. They need to draw people in. And for that, you know, they need the windows to be wow, let’s go inside and have a look. We recently worked with a leading retailer, high street retailer, where we put in circa 130 85 inch screens into every shop window of their flagship store. We provided them with a cloud based content solution where they can manage content that’s running on those screens and actually have it all managed through one single portal. So anyone time they can make sure that the screen is powered up, that its running content and it’s running the content they want. That promotion ran in autumn period running up to Christmas. And then we took screens away again. So a prime example where we can help retailers increase footfall in particular periods without the capital investment of all IT. And let’s face it, AV equipment screens in particular is actually moving faster technology wise than IT at the moment.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:08:20] And is there an element of skill for the deployment for the testing, for the monitoring, for the digital content?
STEVE SHELSHER [00:08:25] That’s a very, very valid, very valid point Daniel. I mean, as I mentioned at the beginning, we’ve got circa 10 million pounds worth of fleet. And actually it’s worth nothing if the service that we deliver it with isn’t up to scratch. We’ve got a bespoke facility in in Berkshire where we can actually test, build and implement equipment before it leaves us. So what actually gets to the site is, if need be, ready to go out of the box product or we can provide the services where we’ll install it to window to desk to server room from from from start to end. And, you know, obviously the nature of our business is that we then have the expertise to take it all back again.
DANIEL FEASEY [00:09:06] So we’ve spoken about a lot of verticles today really and Hamilton’s obviously across all the verticals. Do they operate in a channel at all Steve, in the IT channel.
STEVE SHELSHER [00:09:14] Very much so Dan, yeah very much so. And that that pretty much goes back all the way through through the company’s history. We’ve always had a strong channel program, strong channel partnership. And again, I’ll be honest and say that there are areas where in perhaps some channel partners might view what we do as a services, as a threat to a sale. And again going back to what I said earlier on. Absolutely not. Actually, there is a benefit to the channel partner because an individual, when it’s a retailer or an accountant or whoever, you know, they don’t need to buy this equipment. They don’t want to buy the equipment. And so that individual’s never going to get the sale. But how can they facilitate a customer’s need? And they do that through us. So, yeah, it’s a very good question, Dan.
JIM MARSDEN [00:10:00] Steve, Dan, thanks for your time. We’re here at Disruptive Live sorry with Disruptive Live, at Cloud Expo 2020. My name’s Jim Marsden. Thanks for watching.