Intellia’s on the march

Ericsson-LG champion Intellia has marched into Edinburgh waving the Korean vendor's flag. Its mission is to firmly establish the brand in Scotland's capital having secured a new operational base in the city, according to Directors Tony Whelan and David Fisher.

Intellia is a small company with big ambitions and by sales volume one of Ericsson-LG's larger dealers in Scotland. "After a long time being based in the Falkirk and Stirling area we have opened a new branch office in Edinburgh," explained Whelan, Business Development Director. "Intellia has many customers in Edinburgh but for a long time, with no incumbent dealer, I've felt the Ericsson-LG brand has been under-represented in Scotland's capital city. We intend to create a much stronger profile for Ericsson-LG in this commercially important part of Scotland; and use this office as a springboard to scale by around 20 per cent."

As well as promoting the range of Ericsson-LG iPECS on-premise and cloud solutions Whelan sees Edinburgh as a key market for the recently launched SO Wi-Fi product which is designed to increase customer flows by using imbedded Facebook likes and Trip Advisor reviews for customers who log on to the Wi-Fi.

Intellia has also shown great ambition in its adjustment towards VoIP and unified communications, improving its skill sets in these areas. "So much so, last year we won the iPECS Innovation Award from Pragma Distribution for a major multi-site business win," added Fisher, Technical Director.

Intellia has a stable group of employees, 600-plus customers and turnover in excess of £500k. Revenues are generated mainly in the SME sector, typically 10-25 users. "We offer a bespoke service with a close contact approach to customers," said Whelan. "We look for opportunities with any business or third sector organisations particularly where related services such as network cabling, lines, broadband or mobiles might be required."

While a big emphasis on cloud and UC are Intellia's biggest opportunities, along with the roll out of fibre, its main challenge is to increase its penetration into the market and be more aware and involved in opportunities that are currently missed. "Another serious issue is the ability to recruit suitable staff, but an Edinburgh location will help overcome this hurdle," added Whelan. "We also need to completely refresh the way we get our name out via website updates and improvements in how we connect with existing customers. There will be increased marketing, re-branding and a shift in emphasis from a local company to Scotland's capital Edinburgh."

Whelan's career began in 1984 as a seller of office equipment, moving into telecoms soon after deregulation. He took a five year break in the early 90s to study for a degree in Business Studies as a mature student, aged 30. With the degree under his belt, Whelan returned to the comms sector and worked as a freelancer contracting with others to do the install work. He was introduced to Fisher (who was then an engineer with 17 years experience at BT before deciding to set out on his own) in the late 90s through a mutual supplier and they began to work together on projects. "After about 18 months it became clear we were a good team so we formally merged our two small businesses into Intellia in December 2001 and as co-owners have never looked back," noted Whelan.

"I'd previously been looking for a dealership to improve our margins and at that time Ericsson-LG, then known as LG, was making a big push in Scotland. We've been an exclusive partner ever since. In 2005 we moved from our Stirling offices to a new home in Grangemouth after acquiring a 5,000 square foot building that we also operate as a business centre with seven tenants."

Opening an Edinburgh office has already boosted Ericsson-LG's profile in the city and Whelan is currently addressing key issues that must be overcome to take his strategy to a new level. "It's really about finding the right staff with a good baseline of skills, even if not directly related to the sector," he said. "We need to improve the way we handle information about customers and manage our growth within the constraints of the time and finance available to us. We are still quite a small company, so this isn't always easy.

"However, we will become a more all round company offering end to end solutions from network services to hardware including IT infrastructure and support. We're aiming to be around 50 per cent larger in terms of staff and turnover and want to use technology and better connected data about what we do to help us improve."

Pictured above: Tony Whelan (left) and David Fisher