The One Point has highlighted a push into the public sector as a key area for growth over the next 12 months, as deals with healthcare organisations and the local education bodies gather pace.
The Hull-based unified comms operator has seen a financial growth of 40% in turnover and profit over the last year, and managing director Martin Lauer wants a similar achievement during the next period by building on its customer base. He told Mobile: ‘We have started giving advice to the public sector in general. Working in large, complex organisations with large staff numbers and greater needs is a particular target area for us moving forward.‘
The education sector has been getting in touch about providing a system that records student attainment levels in terms of reading and writing. If teachers continue to do it manually via an Excel spreadsheet then they can’t do it in real time. We have developed a system to monitor attainment where teachers can update their records via an app on an iPad. We are still in the process of developing this, but we should have it in place in one school in about two months. If that’s successful we have 10 schools waiting in the wings.’
Originally set up as a mobile only provider, Lauer now manages an organisation that is responsible for supplying over 500 customers - many with a ‘total unified comms package’. The One Point now describes itself as ‘the only national complete provider to supply and look after all IT, business telecoms, business mobiles and digital web media’, and holds an increasing national presence with additional offices in Dorset and Manchester.
Unique selling point
Lauer points to the operator’s ‘innovative commUNITY telephony system’ [see below] as its unique selling point, which offers full visibility of mobile, fixed-line and data, and according to the MD it is with this development of products and services that The One Point can ‘successfully cross-sell and grow organically’.
‘We have seen a big increase between 2011 and the present in the number of services per client,’ he added. ‘We have “the One Point” model, where we can offer clients everything under one roof. We sell 2.9 products per customer, and we only have nine core products. Cross-selling is big for us - it’s natural. We have started to increase our product base to existing customers, now we are trying to increase our customer numbers.’
Organic growth is a major part of The One Point’s business plan, but the company has developed other strategies such as staff recruitment, investing in core services and acquiring smaller companies. Lauer said: ‘This year we have joined up all of our different divisions – IT service and support; business telecoms and broadband; business mobiles and internet; and web design and marketing. We have invested heavily in technical support and we now have six full-time staff devoted to that. We have also invested in the qualifications that these members of staff require to do their jobs. Our products and services have to deliver. If there was an area of growth we want to concentrate on it would be technical support. When we link all these elements together it means we can truly offer fully unified comms.’
The last 18 months has also seen The One Point enter the business of acquisitions, purchasing two companies – ‘a small IT business and a mobile competitor’ – with both principles becoming equity share holders and joining its senior management team.‘We would consider more if the fit was right,’ said Lauer. ‘We are continually growing. We own our own premises; we are investing more and more in our services. We want to be a leading technological facilitator for the public and private sector.’
CommUNITY spirit from The One Point
The commUNITY platform is the pbx hosted telephone system developed by The One Point, pinpointed by Martin Lauer as an important component in the operator’s overall development. It provides customers with a ‘complete business telephone system’, merging a number of features and allowing clients with many phones and employees to work off ‘one easy to manage platform’.
Combining call centre facilities, call recording and integrated customer relationship management (incorporating ‘Click to dial’ and ‘Direct SMS’ facilities), the service claims to offer the customer ‘simplicity and cost savings’. Fixed mobile convergence, unified messaging, conference calling and hot desking (among other features), are all delivered via a WAN data connection, making traditional phone lines redundant and therefore cutting out line rental charges. ‘In the last year we’ve had significant growth with the commUNITY platform,’ said Lauer. ‘Although it was developed in 2007 it has come on substantially in the last 12 months with broadband speeds increasing and compression technique improving.’