Barclay Communications is Tayto’s go-to for mobile and fixed-line connections, as it has been for more than 15 years. Ulster Business speaks to the telecoms business’s founder Britt Megahey and Tayto’s head of group systems and infrastructure Christopher Milligan about the ‘seamless’ integration into its business, the personal touch and Barclay Communications’ continued expansion and growth trajectory.
As a major player in the communications sector, Britt Megahey’s Barclay Communications has forged a strong, long-term relationship with snacks giant Tayto – an organisation that has itself, grown into a huge £200m business across multiple sites and a global reach.
“The Tayto brand is a great one to be associated with and one of the strongest in Northern Ireland,” Britt says.
“We have been working with Christopher and the leadership team for 15 years and it’s been a great relationship for us. We have watched and supported each other through significant growth and change over the many years of partnership.”
Christopher Milligan is Tayto’s group systems and infrastructure manager and has worked side-by-side with Barclay Communications for more than 15 years.
He says the crisp and snack business was going through acquisitions and had been jumping from supplier-to-supplier, when seeking a new deal, before turning to Barclay Communications.
“We had a chat with Barclay Communications and explained what we were looking to achieve,” Christopher says.
“There was a bit of hesitancy at first as we had previously been dealing with the networks directly, but we realised very quickly Barclay Communications could help us achieve our goals.”
Barclay Communications operates across a range of areas, with mobile at its heart. Alongside this is its VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) products, field service software, WorkPal and IT products and management.
And it’s the personal touch and the little things which have helped strengthen and continue on that burgeoning relationship between Barclay Communications and Tayto over the years.
“We have always built Barclay Communications with our customers at the forefront of any decision making,” Britt says.
“It’s exciting to watch our clients grow throughout the years, while utilising our products.”
Barclay Communications is Tayto’s dependency for its mobile needs, across multiple sites and throughout all departments within the business.
“The transition to Barclay Communications was seamless,” Christopher says. “The account management team is fantastic at problem solving.
“At the time when we moved to Barclay Communications we were much smaller, operating as a £23m business. By the end of an eight-year acquisition process it was sitting at £200m. There has been massive growth.
“Dealing with the team at Barclay Communications is an enjoyable process. It was refreshing to be able to say ‘here’s my problem’ and having them respond with ‘we’ll fix it for you’.”
Tayto’s relationship with Barclay Communications started off with 100 mobile phone connections. But in the 15 years since, it has evolved to include 500 connections across mobile, tablet and fixed-line.
That includes connections for staff who may service a vending machine with a data-only package, right up to its chief financial officer and shareholders, one of whom uses a 5G plan for his home broadband due to its reliability and cost-effectiveness.
Paired with that hands-on and direct access, Christopher says: “In one case a member of the Barclay team actually drove to our offices in Tandragee to provide same day SIM activation.
“What has been evident with this partnership is that Barclay Communications has actually taken the time to learn about our business and what we need. In Northern Ireland a lot of business is based upon the people you are dealing with, and it’s a credit to Britt and the team which he has developed. They want to solve your problems and give their best. As we have grown as a business our needs have too and they seem to relish the challenge and succeed at every opportunity.”
Britt says the company is continuing on a period of growth which has seen it expand its office space, reach and the markets which it sells into.
“We have just opened our office in London which will primarily focus on our WorkPal product, and our office in Glasgow continues to deliver impressive results,” he says.
“Fixed line has become a very big part of our business and will continue to be at the forefront, with the switch off of ISDN by 2025. WorkPal also continues to grow at a phenomenal rate for us, with no sign of slowing down – add to this the impeccable work that our fledging IT team deliver, we have never been in a better place to fully manage our customers complete tech infrastructure.”
In recent years, companies have begun to make the integration of technology a priority. The importance of offering remote or hybrid working and a smarter, more flexible way of doing business has had a major impact on businesses long-term investments.
“As a telecoms and software company we have seen an acceleration in people’s thinking and adoption of new types of technology, our goal is to ensure our product suite and team are the very best,” Britt says.
“Companies are now very experienced in utilising software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It’s great to see investment being made in technology which will help push businesses forward by five to 10 years.
“Christopher’s experience is a credit to the team we have and how passionate they share our vision to deliver the best.”
The demand for services such as WorkPal, means Barclay Communications is now selling into global markets, including the US, along with the introduction of new lines and products.
“We have been looking at expanding our offices into the US,” Britt says. “We are also starting to sell our fixed-line services into the Republic of Ireland, which is another new market for us, and we have lots of new ideas and products coming to the market which join mobile, IT and fixed-line together.”
Barclay Communications continues to pave the way as a leader in business-to-business IT and telecommunications, offering a host of products to companies and organisations across the UK and Ireland, servicing prestigious accounts such as the University of Cambridge, Welsh Parliament and over 25 housing associations across the UK.
The business now operates offices in Belfast, Glasgow and London.
And Britt says deep-rooted relationships with companies such as Tayto and the University of Cambridge remain key in attracting the attention of new customers.
“If the likes of a huge brand like Tayto can put their faith in us, it gives other clients some comfort and helps develop trust in our brand also,” Britt says.
“With Cambridge, there are now around 6,000 connections. They had always dealt with networks directly before moving to us. Similar to Tayto, the team continues to show the key differences in dealing with a business that cares and delivers.”
Christopher says he’s able to pick up the phone and speak to his long-term contacts at Barclay Communications, directly. “It’s seamless,” he says. “As we have grown, Stewart, alongside Donna and her team have grown with us. The whole team have managed our account incredibly well for the 15 years we have been a customer of Barclays. They continue to provide a service with great attention to detail, from renewal negotiations to delivery.”
One of Barclay Communications’ other strengths is that it isn’t tied to one particular network and is able to sell products to customers utilising the wide swathe of connections out there.
“You could be in one place where one mobile network is fantastic, and another could be terrible,” Christopher says. “Barclay Communications gives us the option to mix and match, depending on what we need.”
Britt says: “We are heavily invested in providing the best possible customer service. It’s what makes us different to the other telecoms businesses. We value service over everything, and it continues to show. On average, our customers have been with us for over nine years. That’s more than four contract terms. Referrals and word of mouth have helped us to win some major contracts and we are very thankful for this.
“We have an industry low churn rate. That comes down to a multitude of reasons, service being one but also we deliver on what we promote and sell, the sales team continue to perform fantastically by providing wholesome advice and solutions. Add to that continued investment in developing the infrastructure and systems we have in order to handle the demand of our customers in both the public and private sector of all sizes and demands.
“I am very proud of the experiences customers such as Christopher at Tayto has received and it drives myself and the team to keep raising the bar.”