THE establishment of new facilities and obtaining accreditation to assist the drive for new business has helped Comscentre spear growth.
Comscentre managing director Ben Shipley (pictured) is relishing opportunities since moving the company to Milton, where he is also preparing for the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out.
“We moved into our new head office in Milton last year with improved facilities for our National Operations Centre (NOC) which is the engineering and technical support team that is the backbone of our communications and data service,” he says.
“We also established a second NOC in Manilla in 2010 to provide support for the head office and prepare us to push into Asian markets. This required substantial effort to locate an office, complete the fit-out and staff it with skilled engineers.
“Establishing two major facilities at the same time was a challenge, but the outcome provides us with high flexible operational ability. This flexibility was tested and proven during the floods as no customers lost their communication or data networks.”
The company has been appointed as one of the initial 12 retail service providers for the NBN.
“We’re now working with the Government to ensure efficient access to the network and our customers will be amongst the first to be able to benefit from the increased speeds available from the network,” he says.
“Another opportunity we’ve identified is expanding our operations in the use of video, voice and data as part of making businesses more competitive in this environment. We’re also decentralising some of our staff and growing our branch office network. We’re expanding into Adelaide and expect staff numbers to increase in FY12.”
Shipley was recently named Young Business Person of the Year in the 2011 Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards and says his staff are the company’s greatest asset.
“I count my staff as my greatest asset and although IT is a pressure business I do what I can to keep them happy and motivated,” he says.
“I place great emphasis on empowerment and personal development and the commission structure encourages the achievement of goals. Staff who show initiative are rewarded with responsibility and the opportunity to grow. We also provide a cafe with fruit bowls, a good coffee machine, soft drinks and juices in the cafeteria, and a PlayStation for recreation.
“We don’t monitor staff use of social media and we also have a clear policy of respect, sharing and tolerance of the many cultures, ethnicities and religions in the company.”
Shipley cites the continuing lack of confidence in the economy as an ongoing challenge.
“We’re reliant on companies putting in new systems and providing services to them after that. Consumer confidence is low and, as the global economy recovers, there will be the risk of inflation,” he says.
“The amount of money sitting in people’s bank accounts can easily be spent, causing inflation and we’re only as profitable as our customers at the end of the day.”
His background in IT helped to start the business in Sydney with $300,000. “My business partner and I invested $300,000 in starting up the business – we needed a lot more but we made it work,” he says.
“We set it up at home in Sydney but when my wife and I split up, my daughter moved to Brisbane and I followed – I’m originally from Queensland anyway.
“I invested everything I had in the business and if we’d failed, I would have gone bankrupt but we’d spent a year-and-a-half building the business.
“The systems that run our networks and building software, we had technical people delivering and then we just went out there and started selling.
“Our five year plan is to be the biggest business communications company in Australia.
“If we work hard and achieve this, Queensland could have another large head office company here, which helps everyone. We don’t just have to be digging rocks in the ground, there can be another communications company working towards the goal of being the premier company in our space.”
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR FINALIST
Business Est: 2002
Growth: 23 per cent
Turnover: $13 million
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