Cogeco Peer 1 reboots with new name [Aptum] and new strategy

Susan Bowen, CEO of newly-rebranded Aptum

Managed hosting and cloud services provider Cogeco Peer 1, which was acquired from Cogeco in April by investment firm Digital Colony, has unveiled its new name, and indicated it has something of a new strategy. The new name is Aptum Technologies. The new strategy will give greater weight to the Fibre network of small cell and 5G infrastructure than the old company made in the past.

Clearly, with Cogeco no longer being a part of the equation, a new name was required. However, Susan Bowen, who became President and CEO of Cogeco Peer 1 last fall, and now moves to the Aptum CEO role, said that Peer 1, which was the hosting company that Cogeco acquired, wouldn’t work now as the name either.

“We are no longer a hosting company, as the original Peer 1 is only one of seven core companies that we are today,” she said. “We have to remove the Cogeco name, but we are at a point of the company’s development where we had to appeal to an emerging market, and we felt that this was the optimum time for a completely different name.”

The word Aptum – likely to send most scurrying for a dictionary – means ‘adaptability.

“We wanted one word that represented what we are moving forward,” Bowen said. “We have had some challenge with the company name, and we wanted something here that is completely different, which would moved away from our traditional names and logo. It refers to handling data, and empowering that.”

When investment firm Digital Colony acquired the company from Cogeco in February, they indicated then that the new company would operate with two focused business units — Data Centre and Fibre.

“The Fibre business today is the network in Montreal and Toronto, and has been very much an underserved market that we wanted to invest in.” Bowen said. “It wasn’t something that we invested in much before. We will build out a neutral host network of small cell and 5G infrastructure. By calling it out as a separate business, we can focus on that customer experience.”

The Data Centre business, which is focused on multi-cloud services for enterprises, has been the company’s core, but Bowen emphasized that major changes have been made.

“We have completely changed the way we are going to market in the data centre business,” she said. “We have made two important strategic hires. Leigh Plumley is our new CRO, and Cindy Jordan-Ford is Executive Vice President, Global Strategic Accounts & Alliances. Plumley has been at Sungard Availability for years, most recently as Vice President of Enterprise Sales, Northeast U.S, while Jordan-Ford is an internal promotion who has been VP and GM of U.S. and Latin America for the last two years.

“We are moving to drive three areas of business,” Bowen said. “One is global strategic accounts, and another is strategic alliances. There will be more focus on Tier One and Tier Two partners, with the Tier One being Dell, Microsoft and AWS. The third area is the emerging market in Mexico, where we have developed a presence in the last two years. Historically, we structure by regions, but now are providing a truly global offering.”

Aptum is also appointing Jeremy Pease as their Chief Operating Officer.

“Jeremy will work to ensure an end-to-end digital customer experience,” Bowen indicated.

Along with the new company name, Aptum is also announcing a new service, Managed Amazon Web Services, and an enhanced one, Cloud Connect Availability, an expansion of Cloud Connect, which provides a dedicated and secure connection to cloud services.

“Historically, we had been a reseller of AWS, but what is new here is the managed component,” Bowen said. The Managed AWS services include consultation, architecture and design, solution build and configuration, migration, project management, and ongoing service management and optimization. Managed AWS is available in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

“The expanded Cloud Connect extends the offer, and extends global reach to all regions,” Bowen stated. “It really does mean that vendors can get managed AWS, Azure, a private cloud, or all three.” Cloud Connect is now available for AWS Direct Connect, Google Cloud Platform, ServiceNow, Salesforce, SAP and Oracle in addition to Microsoft ExpressRoute.

Cogeco Peer 1 had a somewhat erratic Go-to-Market history, emphasizing and de-emphasizing the channel as a market route at different times. Aptum’s Go-to-Market strategy is complex, but Bowen said it will be consistent.

“What we have done is defined six different routes to market,” Bowen said. “One is a pure direct model, and we are still investing in that, in the midmarket, and in the enterprise.”

Bowen said that the channel is also very important to the company, and has multiple components.

“One is referral opportunities,” she said. “Another will be DataBank, a Digital Colony company, which sill support a colo offer, but we wouldn’t necessarily be building it. We have piloted a Master Agent program as well around Avant, and have been very successful with that. That channel has also done well in Canada as well as the U.S. It was originally slow on the takeup in Canada, but since we launched it re six months ago, it has done well in Canada. Finally, we have our value-added partners, which are often around Microsoft.”

Bowen also touched on the strategy going forward.

“We have been very focused in the last 10 days on being a standalone, and getting the new services ready for launch,” she said. “We are already shifting attention to FY 2020, and it’s all about pivoting to growth. Next year is about where we are going to invest. We made some tough questions about data centres, closing down aging facilities in New York City and San Antonio. We will focus on enabling customers to shift between the public and private cloud, and on the continued development of small cell 5G solutions.”