Tech firm thrives at SFA small business awards


5 Mar 2009

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Indigenous telecoms technology firm Surecom has emerged as the winner of the Best Services Provider category at the Small Firms Association’s (SFA) National Small Business Awards 2009.

The SFA Awards took place today at the Mansion House in Dublin. Founded in 2005, Surecom Network Solutions provides telecommunications managed services and solutions to major European players such as Telefonica, Meteor and Ericsson, as well as domestic clients such as Eircom.

One of the recent strategies Surecom Network Solutions (Surecom NS) has embraced in order to maintain its reputation for technical competence and service delivery has been to actively pursue cross-skilling and upskilling among its workforce of 50 people.

Investing up to €100,000 a year on training and development, Surecom NS sends its engineers to countries such as Norway and Sweden for specific expertise and, in most cases, a ‘train the trainer’ approach is taken, whereby employees are trained to pass on the knowledge and skills they acquire to other members of staff on the job.

“In the past year, we have nearly doubled our number of customers and broadened our scope of work within the existing client base. We have restructured the company into key areas to best engage with customers and meet their needs — Network Radio, Network Support Manager and Network Build,” said founder and managing director, Jim Sheehan (pictured).

The managed services that Surecom NS provides include: mobile and wireless networks, radio design and engineering, field support services, telemetry systems, data acquisition, network installation, and product supply and distribution.

“We go in with a general offering and then customise. A lot of what happens in telecommunications requires general technical skills, but then you have to be product specific or the client won’t accept the service. We ensure an underlying level of competence, then actively look at what’s coming up in the industry and gear towards that.

“We targeted fibre-optic cabling in 2007 and trained our engineers in this area. In recent months, there has been a big take up in our offering, as all the operators are rolling out their 3G networks. They use our services to deliver the capacity required to the base station sites. When there is a knowledge-based niche market which needs a high standard of expertise in installation, such as multiplexer services, we seem to have a winning formula,” Sheehan said.

Surecom NS operates from a small premises beside Sheehan’s home in Tipperary where six people are based — the rest work from home.

“We aim to double our turnover this year, increase staff numbers and look at more projects abroad such as in the US and developing countries. We want to open up more services and be proactive. This means thinking laterally and partnering up with other companies to develop new marketplaces,” Sheehan added.

Pictured: managing director of Surecom NS, Jim Sheehan, receiving the Best Services Provider award at the SFA’s National Small Business Awards from An Taioseach, Brian Cowen TD.

For more information on the award winners, keep an eye on businessandleadership.com‘s special SFA NSBA page, which will feature profiles and video interviews with the winners.