Posted on Thursday 10 May 2012 by Ulster Business
“It’s a misconception some people have, but there are lots of other clever things we do and we are starting to raise awareness of them,” he adds.
Speaking to Ulster Business at Barclay Communications’ head office on Donegall Pass in Belfast, the company’s Managing Director has a clear message that he wants to get out about the range of services his firm offers.
Having been around since 1997, Barclay Communications has grown into a market leader in the mobile space, employing 160 full-time staff and attaining a centre of excellence status with O2, one of its network partners.
But in addition to mobile, Barclay Communications also provides clients with a fixed line service called Barclay Telecom, IT services, web design and mobile app development – a blend of products it feels helps it stay competitive in an increasingly integrated and connected business world.
“Our unique blend of products and services has enabled us to successfully compete against some of the UKs top communications companies.” explains Megahey.
“Although we are still very much committed to our mobile service and mobile clients, we want to let people know that we’re not just mobile anymore, we’re much more.”
“We’ve a fixed line service that can merge the capabilities of landlines and mobiles using a clever app. For the last four years we’ve been designing and developing successful websites for clients throughout the UK, and last year we moved into Smartphone app development for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. We also acquired an IT company three years ago that enabled us to create our IT services division, which provides IT support services, including our new Smartphone IT Support offering to businesses across the province.”
Megahey believes Barclay Communications’ success and growth is down to their ability to spot emerging trends in business technology.
“In a technology landscape you have to be flexible and create a company that can quickly respond and meet new trends, because if you’re last to react in this business, you’ll be left behind,” he says.
“It’s thanks to this business thinking that we’re now able to supply our clients with a wide range of services from just one company, which are all managed by one, face-to-face Account Manager.”
Although he acknowledges that the company operates in a competitive space, the MD believes that by focusing on customer service, price and a wide range of quality products, they’ve carved out a strong niche for themselves in the business technology marketplace. Megahey says that Barclay Communications has invested in more face-to-face field-based and office based account managers than any other UK telecoms company.
“We don’t employ 160 people for nothing. Our goal is to try to look after our customers and to offer an exceptional customer experience.”
The company has also invested £200,000 over the last year (with Invest NI’s help) in a new customer relationship management system to meet clients’ account management needs.
As well as being an O2 Centre of Excellence, Barclay Communications is also a Microsoft Certified Partner and an official Google Apps Partner
While it might be expected that it is larger organisations who have the most to gain from accessing the services offered by Barclay Communications, its founder says this isn’t the case.
While it works with sizable outfits including B/E Aerospace, Tayto and Value Cabs, they’ve also provided successful web and app work for small to medium sized businesses, such as House of Elliott Flowers and Wallace Contracts. Megahey believes that many business owners don’t realise their company could see big benefits from introducing bespoke applications.
“I would say probably 80% of businesses could benefit from some sort of mobile app that would either save money from a production or a workforce management point of view, or a customer facing app that would give them a competitive edge,” he says.
“People have got past that stage of seeing apps as just games. We create apps that can help improve business, and that doesn’t necessarily have to be customer facing or just apply to companies that sell online,” he adds.
For example, Barclay Communications is about to launch a new app it thinks will revolutionise the way we use our mobile phones by enabling users to make calls over a Wifi connection. It is the sort of quick, smart and cost effective innovation that will make the company attractive to new customers, believes Megahey.
As well as apps that sit on Smartphones he predicts there is huge potential in the development of apps for tablets as more companies use them to link their remotely based employees to internal office systems – all allowing that business to better monitor where they are spending their money.
When you’ve grown as much as Barclay Communications has over the last four years the temptation might be to take your foot off the gas – or to slow to a canter if you’re keen on racing analogies.
But as it prepares for its annual Barclay Communications race evening at Down Royal on June 1, it is clear that the company is still approaching business at a gallop.
As well as plans to grow all of its businesses organically, the company is also pushing into new geographical markets. It currently has three offices in Northern Ireland, an office in Glasgow and last year opened a new site in Darlington. It is now investigating the opening of two new offices in the south of England.
In terms of products they have recently launched an all-Ireland mobile tariff which will allow all calls from North and South to come out of the same bundle of minutes – an attractive proposition for businesses operating across the border.
“Businesses in Northern Ireland are very aware of technology and are more cost conscious than other parts of the UK, so they are very receptive to anything that will save them money, and that’s what we try to provide across our range, along with a quality service” adds Megahey.
“A phone no longer is just a device to make calls on. You can go on the internet, get your emails, open your gates at home, switch your heating on, monitor your security – you can do so much that wasn’t possible even a few years ago. We have fully embraced these changes and this integration of mobile, IT, web and even fixed line, which is helping us to stay ahead of the curve.
Barclay Communications provided professional maintenance, landscaping, snow-ploughing and gritting service providers Wallace Contracts with a native iPhone and iPad app that equips its field team with a new paperless solution. The team can now receive their jobs, complete worksheets, take and upload photos, and even have their vehicle tracked turn-by-turn through the app. Graeme Wallace, Managing Director of Wallace Contracts, said: “I would not hesitate to recommend Barclay Communications, they have been excellent! The app has given us faster communications with our staff on the road. We’ve also reduced our invoicing timeframes, and we can now share job information with our clients much faster than before.”
For House of Elliott Flowers, one of Northern Ireland’s premier wedding florists, Barclay Communications developed an ecommerce website that included its BarclayCart online shopping system, which enables customers to purchase and order arrangements online. They are now receiving wedding enquires and orders from as far away as Dubai and Australia. House of Elliott owner Karen McDowell said: “We have been working with Barclay Communications ebusiness department now for almost a year. I have found them to be very efficient, fast acting and they have dealt with any problems I have had immediately. All the staff are very approachable and they have delivered us an excellent and professionally laid out website, which is working to perfection.”
Value Cabs are Belfast’s number one taxi company, with over 600 vehicles in their fleet. Barclay Communications has been providing them with a mobile phone package and strong after sales service for a number of years. Value Cabs’ Managing Director, Christopher McCausland explains why: “Barclay Communications’ after sales support team is one of the most impressive aspects of their service. On the rare occasions that we‘ve had an issue with our account, their after sales support team have quickly and professionally resolved it for us, which has saved us any hassle or worry.”
The Tayto Group, makers of one of Northern Ireland’s favourite crisps prepare Barclay Communications service for their Blackberry Smartphone needs. Tayto’s IT Systems and Infrastructure Manager, Christopher Milligan explains: “Barclay Communications’ Account Management service has been a big benefit. We now have the joy of speaking to a single point of contact who actually takes ownership of any query we might have, and ensures it is seen through to the end. The responsive service Barclay Communications provides has complimented our ability to quickly react to business changes, both from internal and external requests.”