Member of the Week - Converged Communication Solutions
Converged Communication Solutions was started in 2005 by Neil Christie, a hands-on techie in every sense of the word, who is still at the helm of the company today. It was set up with the goal of providing a single point of contact that can take care of the telephony, Internet and IT support needs of a company, and that aim remains at the core of the business today. By supplying these services under one banner Converged sought to reduce the number of suppliers a customer would need and eliminate any grey areas that otherwise existed between a customer’s IT support, Internet provider and BT/Openreach. Neil is passionate about making sure technology works for a client’s business, and that passion and attention to customer service has led to positive annual growth for the business.
Converged Communication Solutions now employs 25 staff across the north-east and Highlands, covering Dundee to Inverness, with the majority of our team based at their head office in Aberdeen.
We spoke to Steve Smith, Business Development Manager for Converged Communications who told us about his role: “I joined Converged earlier this year, but it’s a business I’ve known since its inception and have followed closely. I have around 20 years’ experience in IT, including owning my own business and working within both the SME space and at the other end of the spectrum for huge multinationals including Xerox and Apple.
My role at Converged is to grow the commercial side of the business, concentrating on building a strong business development team, delivering marketing that fits with our brand and providing personal development plans for each team member.”
Steve told Inverness Chamber why Converged would like to feature as member of the week: “Converged has worked with businesses in the Highlands and Islands for a number of years and having employed home based staff in Inverness for some time, recently opened an office in the city. Getting online and staying online are crucial in all aspects of business today and a resilient Internet connection is fundamental. The reliance that businesses now place on Internet connectivity means that they should view it as a utility, the same way we treat electricity, gas and telephones. To do that businesses need to be aware of the connectivity options available to them and that is where we can help. We can work with them to select the most suitable and cost-effective Internet connectivity and telephony options for the size and location of their business, backed up by fast and efficient IT support and stringent IT security strategies.
Converged is here to help local businesses of all sizes to flourish, which in turn can benefit the wider economy.”
Providing an integrated and cost-effective Internet connectivity, telephone and IT support service is at the heart of what Converged does. Every business, regardless of size and location, is reliant on an Internet connection as a result of the digitisation of our economy. Fast and resilient Internet connections are a priority for businesses – from accommodation providers across the Highlands to life science and energy companies in Inverness – and they are passionate about delivering that for customers, coupled with good customer service.
A robust Internet connection can deliver many benefits for businesses and also open up a raft of data and telephony hosting options that can bring additional advantages. There are many connectivity options available – from high-speed broadband to wireless and mobile – and it is about finding the one that best fits the current and future needs of a business. Improving connectivity for businesses in more rural locations is something that they are particularly keen to do – Scotland’s landscape can bring challenges, something their technical team always like to try and overcome.
With data compliance high on people’s agendas and big brand hacks or data breaches making headlines, Converged have recently enhanced their cyber security service. The service is now headed up by two cyber security experts who aim to simplify, guide and ultimately achieve data compliance for small businesses.
Cyber security is an increasingly important matter for every business and their employees, and their service is designed to ensure customers are better protected in the face of what is an increasing global threat. The investment Converged have made in developing this service means that they can deliver a fully integrated offering to customers.
Steve shared with us Converged’s business plans over the next 12 months: “Converged has consistently grown year-on-year, a trend we hope to continue. During this year we have appointed a number of new staff and also established our Inverness office, both of which will support our growth going forward. Setting up an office in the Highland capital was part of a six-figure investment we have made in Inverness, which included unbundling Openreach telephone exchanges in the city. This is a process that allows Converged to place its own equipment in exchanges and then provide flexible and more competitively priced Internet connections directly to business customers.
As a tech company, along with growing our business and investing in developing our skilled team, we must keep abreast of advances in technology that can benefit the services we deliver to customers or help them to overcome challenges they face and enable them to operate more efficiently. For example, mobile and wireless technologies can, in some cases, solve the connectivity challenges posed by the geography and topography of a local area. It is these types of developments we must be aware of in order to support firms in rural locations.”
We asked Steve what he values most about his Inverness Chamber membership: “Inverness Chamber is the pulse of the business community and our membership provides access to its unrivalled local network. We have become frequent attendees of Chamber events, which are always extremely well organised, and we never fail to walk away without having made new business connections. The Chamber is a pleasure to deal with and undoubtedly have the best interests of its membership as its priority.”
Steve shared his top-tip for helping other Chamber members maximise their membership: “Attend as many networking events as possible. In this age of social media, meeting people face-to-face is still the most effective way to grow your network and your business. As we say at Converged, it all starts with a connection.”
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