Network Utilities Ltd, an integrator of network and security solutions, has announced the successful acquisition of Metropolitan Networks, a provider of customer-centred network support and security managed services, that will create the UK’s leading specialist integrator of identity-centric network, security and data solutions and services to enterprises, telcos, MSPs and ISPs.

The newly enlarged Network Utilities will also gain its own on-premise data centre and 24/7 Network Operations Centre in the UK and new offices and staff in the Middle East, Caribbean and West Africa to support an expanded roster of international clients including Cable & Wireless, Judiciary of Trinidad & Tobago and Nutrien. 

Focussing on excellence over growth

With this deal, we now have the depth and breadth of people, technologies and services to expand our customer footprint"The combined company has over 400 enterprise and service provider clients including many listed within the FTSE 100 along with household names in financial services, education, healthcare and manufacturing.

This acquisition marks a great day in our 25-year history and brings together two companies that have a highly regarded and trusted reputation with clients and partners,” said David Bundock, Chief Operating Officer.

As one of the oldest serving specialist solution providers with customer relationships that span over a decade, Network Utilities has focussed on excellence over growth. However, with this deal, we now have the depth and breadth of people, technologies and services to expand our customer footprint without sacrificing the values that have made us so successful.

Hallmark of ethics and service

Michele Lewington, one of the original founders and Managing Director of Network Utilities for 25 years commented: “I am delighted to hear this news. The two companies have worked together on various projects over many years and both bear the hallmark of ethics and service that customers have come to expect.

The acquisition will see Network Utilities take over all staff, premises and ongoing maintenance contracts from Metropolitan Networks"

My heartfelt thanks go to those Network Utilities employees who are amongst some of the most talented, hardworking and loyal of all in the industry. It is their commitment to the business over many years that has enabled me now to leave the company in safe hands to enjoy semi-retirement and the pursuit of other interests.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will see Network Utilities take over all staff, premises and ongoing maintenance contracts from Metropolitan Networks with a full equivalency of agreed service level agreements. All staff will consolidate at new headquarters in Orpington which will also maintain the new Network Utilities NOC and data centre.

Offering clients more benefits

Metropolitan Networks has grown rapidly, and the last 15 years has been a fantastic journey,” explains Ashok Thomas, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Metropolitan Networks. “However, to keep on meeting the expectations of our clients while expanding the business proved challenging through organic growth alone.

This investment by Network Utilities and the merging of expert technical and sales teams into a new entity offers our existing clients more benefits, including access to some of the best security focussed people in the UK plus a management team that have vast experience in successfully growing a business over the last two decades.

The deal also expands our footprint into new regions around the world such as the Middle East, the Americas and Africa"

The new company hold top tier accreditations from key vendors including Juniper Networks, Pulse Secure and Fortinet as well as in-house CISSP experts and Security Clearance for its ongoing work with several UK governmental and security agencies. Network Utilities also holds ISO 9001 and 27001 certifications.

Expanding footprint globally

At a time of uncertainty around the UK’s place in Europe, the deal also expands our footprint into new regions around the world such as the Middle East, the Americas and Africa where, although initially small, we have long established, international clients that offer us growth potential,” says Paul Rowe, Sales Director.

Our enlarged size and new areas of the business such as training, private cloud and Cyber Essentials certifications also provide us with a more rounded portfolio that allows us to offer additional value-added services that are beneficial to both existing and new customers.

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Catlin, CTO for Polar Capital Holdings Plc; a long-standing client of Network Utilities said, “Network Utilities have been a trusted service provider for over 10 years. Finding a supplier that consistently offers insightful expertise to help us deliver stable IT while meeting complex cybersecurity requirements is always a challenge and knowing that we will be able to retain this relationship over the longer term is good news for us.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

What is the biggest change in the security industry since 2010?
What is the biggest change in the security industry since 2010?

Ten years is a long time, but it seems to pass in an instant in the world of security. In terms of technology, 2010 is ages ago. Changes in the market have been transformative during that decade, and we called on our Expert Panel Roundtable to highlight some of those changes. We asked this week’s panelists: What was the biggest change in the security industry in the 2010-2019 decade?  

SIA composing code of conduct for U.K. private security, seeking comments
SIA composing code of conduct for U.K. private security, seeking comments

The Private Security Industry Act of 2001 gives the Security Industry Authority (SIA) the function of setting standards of conduct in the United Kingdom’s private security industry. Time is winding down to provide input during the SIA’s six-week consultation on a new draft code of conduct for SIA licence holders and applicants for SIA licences. The authority is inviting the industry, licence holders, and anyone with an interest in private security to have their say on the draft code of conduct by taking part in a survey. The consultation will end on 23 February.   “The ethos of the code of conduct is that it will improve standards and public safety by setting out the standards of conduct and behaviour we expect people to uphold if they are entrusted with protecting the public, premises and property,” says Ian Todd, Chief Executive, Security Industry Authority (SIA). Security's Code of Conduct A code of conduct sets out what standards of behaviour professionals have to meet in order to work in the profession In security as in many professions, a code of conduct sets out what standards of behaviour professionals have to meet in order to work in the profession. SIA is suggesting Six Commitments of behaviour that will apply to all licensed security operatives and to applicants. If the code of conduct is sanctioned by the U.K. Home Office, it would become mandatory and incorporated into SIA’s licensing criteria Get Licensed. A commitment to certain standards of behaviour is fundamental to what it means to be fit and proper, and to being part of a profession. The six commitments are: Act with honesty and integrity Be trustworthy Protect the people and property you are entrusted to protect Be professional at work Act with fairness and impartiality at work Be accountable for your decisions and actions “We will review the comments from the consultation once it concludes on 23 February, analyse the results and publish a report on our findings,” says Todd. “The SIA will then use the comments it has received to write a final version of the code of conduct. The introduction of a code of conduct will be subject to final approval by Home Office Ministers.” SIA’s current Standards of Behaviour provide guidance on professional behaviour but are not mandatory. The draft code of conduct builds on the Standards of Behaviour. Upholding SIA's Standards The SIA’s Partnership and Interventions team is the unit that enforces the Private Security Industry Act “The majority of licence holders uphold the standards of behaviour that the SIA, their employers and the public expect of them,” says Todd. “Their professionalism and dedication keep the public safe and tackle crime. However, there are incidents in which some licence holders do not behave in this way. This minority lower the standard of service the public receives, harm public safety, and bring themselves and the rest of the private security industry into disrepute.” The SIA’s Partnership and Interventions team is the unit that enforces the Private Security Industry Act. It is likely that they will be required to enforce the code of conduct should it become mandatory. The draft code of conduct is currently out for consultation and the proposal has been shared widely to licence holders, private security businesses, and enforcement partners encouraging them all to take part. “Once the consultation has concluded, we will analyse the findings from the feedback, produce a report and publish it on our website and share this widely via social media,” says Todd.

Satisfaction criteria differ for DIY vs. pro-install companies, says J.D. Power
Satisfaction criteria differ for DIY vs. pro-install companies, says J.D. Power

J.D. Power is a well-known name when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction, and they have been measuring satisfaction in the home security industry since 2016. Changes affecting the marketplace – both in terms of disruptors and technology – make this a unique time. For example, in 2019, J.D. Power expanded the Home Security Satisfaction Study to not only measure the traditional pro-install/pro-monitor companies, but to separately evaluate self-install/pro-monitor brands.  “At J.D. Power our rankings are meant to support an industry in two key ways,” says Christina Cooley, J.D. Power's Director, @Home Intelligence. “First, we provide consumers who are shopping for products and services with a ‘report card’ of who provides customers with high levels of customer satisfaction. Second, we provide companies with actionable insights to help them prioritise their initiatives to improve and maintain high levels of customers satisfaction that drive loyalty and growth.” Differentiating between companies The traditional Pro-Install/Pro-Monitor companies are challenged to differentiate from one another In home security, J.D. Power is in a unique position to report on the changes taking place in the evolving industry. The 2019 rankings show that the traditional Pro-Install/Pro-Monitor companies are challenged to differentiate from one another, as each have their individual strengths and opportunities, but overall the score range is relatively tight. On the do-it-yourself (DIY) side, there is more differentiation. A set of brands has been able to challenge the traditional industry by achieving extremely high customer satisfaction levels. Price is always an important factor that impacts customer satisfaction, whether for security or another market J.D. Power serves. The equation is simple, says Cooley: does the price paid equal the value the customer feels they have received from the product or service? “For Home Security, we didn’t specifically look at price until this year,” says Cooley. “With the changes that have occurred in the market, price can be a differentiator as we’ve seen with the emergence of DIY-installed systems. However, lower pricing does not have a direct relationship to quality of service.” The price factor For example, there are some higher-priced pro-installed brands that perform lower on customer satisfaction than lower-priced competitors. And DIY-installed systems as a whole are less expensive, and price is the customer satisfaction driver in which the DIY segment most outperforms the pro segment. Price is the customer satisfaction driver in which the DIY segment most outperforms the pro segment The equation is: performance minus Expectations equals Customer Satisfaction. “Obviously, price point will be a factor in the purchase decision and the expectations the customer has about the product and service,” says Cooley. “Any pro or DIY system has the opportunity to differentiate the customer experience regardless of price point.” There are clear differences in the pro vs. DIY experience, which is why J.D. Power evaluates the brands in separate rankings. However, Cooley says the drivers of satisfaction are consistent across both groups. The key to each group goes back to the equation above.  Evaluating the purchase process For the both pro and DIY companies, J.D. Power evaluates the purchase process the same. Though the customer may take a different path to purchase based on the offering they seek, the drivers are still the same: Usefulness of information provided Reasonableness of contract terms Professionalism of sales representative Ease of purchasing home security system. For installation, there are clear differences. DIY systems are evaluated based on: Ease of completing installation Quality of installation instructions provided Timeliness of receiving home security system. Pro systems are evaluated based on: Professionalism of technician Timeliness of completing installation Quality of work performed. Interestingly, purchase and installation are the customer satisfaction driver where both pro and DIY providers (as a whole) are most closely aligned on performance. Customer loyalty The price a customer is paying must align with the quality of the system they receive What drives a customer to purchase a home security system initially will often be very different than what will keep them as a loyal customer, Cooley notes. The price a customer is paying must align with the quality of the system they receive, and the service provided through the professional monitoring and customer service. “With the expansion of home security offerings, it’s more important than ever for home security companies to understand the motivations, intentions, and usage patterns across different customer segments to ensure that regardless of the decision to go pro or DIY-install, they are able to meet their customers’ needs and differentiate in the very competitive market. The J.D. Power Home Security Study provides these actionable insights.” The study is focused on the companies/brands that comprise the top two-thirds of market share in each segment, pro and DIY installed. A number of the brands included may work with local dealers or retailers for sales and install, but the customer is essentially evaluating those services as part of the system purchased. It is one and the same from the customer’s perspective, and the sales/install process can either delight or frustrate a customer from the beginning, which can then set the foundation for the entire experience moving forward. Reasons for shopping for a security system tend to differ between pro and DIY shoppers: Both sets are most focused on wanting a newer, more up-to-date system Between the two, pro customers are more often moving into a new home or wanting to take advantage of a discount or bundling opportunity with other products For DIY customers, they are shopping for a system to give them more peace of mind and to protect their property. Reasons for selecting the provider also vary: A pro company is often selected based on brand reputation or a special offer/promo A DIY company is primarily chosen based on price or a positive review. In terms of brand image, we see that customers see both pro and DIY providers similarly in terms of reliability. However, when it comes to being customer-driven, DIY providers receive higher image ratings compared to pro-installed companies.