Cloud-first for 20 years

The current industry obsession with Big Data and Business Intelligence plays directly into the hands of Sentel, according to CEO Ger Connery who has spent two decades working with telecoms analytics in the cloud.

Against the backdrop of the late ‘90s dot.com gold rush Connery first worked as a Sales Manager in payroll software and mailing equipment before joining Sentel, a telecoms start up, as Sales Director in 1998. The company serviced the network reporting market which at that time was only served by BT. It won a number of large corporate and public sector accounts including Barclays, AIB, the Department of Social Welfare and MOJ, along with many SME accounts mainly through the partner channel.

"Our USP was online access to reporting suites for CDR management with graphical as well as statistical display, not DOS which was the standard presentation output back then," explained Connery. "We were the first true cloud-based provider of telecoms analytics taking a managed service approach. We targeted all of the alternative telcos and resellers, and becoming profitable within three years of launch was a milestone."

Connery put his house on the line to lead an MBO before becoming CEO in January 2006. "When the stock market crash came we had to readjust," he added. "Our move into more traditional call logging through vendor channels such as Cisco, Avaya and Mitel followed, but always in the cloud and with a managed service wrap. It didn't suit everyone as many were still wedded to the on-premise approach. But we had developed a hard shell, always believing that cloud was the future."

To drive revenues the company branched out into other areas such as billing analytics for Your Communications which then became C&W, and ran a mobile reporting service for the NHS. "The market changed quickly during the noughties," recalled Connery. "After the building downturn and the following economic downturn of 2008, and drawing on our broad experience of all things telecoms, we decided to invest in an all-in-one telecoms platform focused on cost reduction, audit and asset tracking, tapping into the growing Business Intelligence and Big Data space.

"We built and launched our TEMS solution targeting enterprise and the public sector. This service is a strong performer for us today. We never lost sight of our telco and service provider history and thankfully there has been a huge upturn in activity in this space since UC adoption has become the trend. Sales are rising for our UC analytics and our new toll fraud protection service propositions, tapping into the cybercrime defence market."

Sentel has now streamlined its services into two clear lines of business - a Service Provider UC Analytics wrap and Enterprise with full TEM managed service wrap. "Instead of all things to all people, with 10 services we are clearly defined and better resourced to pick our battles," added Connery.

Sentel has over 500 customers and expects to grow 30 per cent this year as part of a three year plan to achieve 100 per cent growth, with staff numbers forecast to rise by 50 per cent. Connery says a young management team and more dynamic product development will speed up the delivery of products and services to market, thereby accelerating growth. "Our drive is to double turnover in the next five years and build the business into a BI market leader in the telecoms space," stated Connery.

The growing popularity of UC and the cyber fraud issue has also improved Sentel's position in the service provider market, resulting in a product roadmap that includes toll fraud protection, voice recording integration, contact centre, SP facing UC adoption reports, revenue assurance and CTI wraps. "The consolidation of SIs and telecoms vendors served to trigger a refocus on our channel driven services, making them sharper and more stable," said Connery. "All the chat is data analytics and business intelligence. This is good for us and we are in the right place."