The investment will also fund the launch of a new landline call centre
The Barclay Group, which includes Barclay Communications, Barclay Digital Services and WorkPal, has announced it will invest £2m in its landline division, creating 35 new jobs.
The funding will be part of a major growth strategy for the company, which is Northern Ireland’s largest and fastest-growing indigenous telecommunications business.
The spend is already evident in new systems at the business, including cutting-edge customer relationship management software (CRM), an expanding engineering team, which will treble over the coming months, and a major office fit-out that started this month.
In recent months the Belfast-based Barclay Group has also undergone a full rebrand of all companies including new website and logos to reflect its growth over the past 25 years. The new company branding is set to launch at the beginning of June to coincide with its office refurbishments.
An additional 20-seater call centre will also launch later this year at Barclay’s existing headquarters at Grove House in Donegall Pass in south Belfast.
Other technological investments in the pipeline will include a £500k cash injection into new landline software specifically designed for businesses that don’t need the complexity or cost of a fully cloud-hosted telephone system, but due to the PSTN and ISDN switch off, are now in a position that they must make the change to VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and upgrade to the full-fibre broadband network. This software will allow Barclay Group to deliver future-proof business communication at a highly competitive price and coincides with the new call centre.
Meanwhile, new human resources software and a new billing system will transform in-house administrative operations.
Among the roles created as part of the investment are engineering positions, support staff, direct sales, telesales and business development managers.
All 35 new positions will be filled by the end of this year, while more jobs will be added in the coming months.
The £2m investment is one of The Barclay Group’s biggest spend to date and follows on from its most successful year ever.
In 2020 The Barclay Group surpassed all of its targets, and its upcoming financial results are expected to show a turnover growth in excess of 33% on 2019. This incline means the business now handles over 100,000 business connections (landline and mobile).
Last year also saw Barclay Communications successfully tender for a £3m contract with the University of Cambridge, undergoing rigorous procedures and competing against some of the world’s biggest communication providers.
The new relationship is one of the company’s biggest and most prestigious contracts in its 25-year history and sees it deliver over 5,000 mobile connections that will be accessed by university staff.
Speaking about the latest investment in the business, Britt Megahey, Founder and Managing Director at The Barclay Group said: “We have been very privileged over the past year to have experienced so much growth during what has been a difficult era for many businesses.
“While it would be easier to sit back and enjoy that success, we know to be fruitful and sustain such growth we must always put into the business what we get out and that includes investing in our team who are the backbone of the company.
“It also means securing the best, most convenient and the latest technology so we can offer our clients, who are seeking the most efficient communications systems around, the best on the market.”
Mr Megahey says the investment will be ongoing. He added: “We won’t be stopping at £2m. We have big plans to expand our services globally.”
John Roulston, Sales Director, Barclay Communications, who has been with the company for 18 years, added:
“2020 was a challenging but rewarding year for Barclay Communications. We are still receiving fantastic feedback from our loyal customers expressing their appreciation for how we empowered their workforce with leading technology that stabilised their businesses at a very difficult time.
“We have exceptionally passionate staff and this was evident never more so than in the past 12 months. This investment and expansion announcement is a testament to their hard work and the amazing business community throughout Northern Ireland.
Mr Roulston adds: “It’s exciting times for the business. We are growing in-house and expanding our client base and will be initiating a number of campaigns in the coming months which will allow us to give back to businesses and further support them to flourish coming out of lockdown.”
In recent weeks Barclay Communications has rolled out its ‘Hang up on Auto-Rolling Contracts‘ campaign, which is now on its second stage and reaching out to businesses in GB and internationally.
Auto-rolling contracts cost NI businesses £4.5m annually through a loophole in regulations that allows comms firms to automatically enrol businesses into a new contract without warning or notice, usually for a minimum of 12 months or longer.
Hang up on Auto-Rolling Contracts is one of many initiatives the firm is undertaking beyond its typical remit.