Two NSC arms to carrier growth

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Specialist integrator North Shore Connections (NSC) has restructured and is expanding its operation across Australia, with strong growth in the telecommunications sector tipped to nearly triple company revenue to $100 million by 2006.

Craig Neil, managing director at NSC, said the contact-centre technology firm had relocated its Sydney office from Epping to bigger premises in North Ryde. It's also expanding its overall operation, adding seven staff in Sydney, two staff in Canberra and opening offices with four staff each in Adelaide and Perth.

Previously, NSC had service staff stationed in South Australia and Western Australia but no sales, office or technical presences, Neil said.

“For the past two years, we've had about 35 percent growth by revenue year on year and I think that's encouraging given that it has been a pretty tough couple of years what with tech wrecks and world wars and things,” he said. “Our plans are to grow our revenue by 2006 to $100 million.” According to Neil, the company expects to come in this year at around $35 million, and next year at $50 million.

NSC has also been restructured into two subsidiaries--NSC Carrier Technology and NSC Enterprise Solutions--to facilitate further expected expansion focused on carrier and enterprise business. NSC Enterprise Solutions amalgamates the former Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney operations, he said. “It's going to work a lot better for us, particularly bringing Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra together. We always had centralised administration but now have common national sales and operations management and processes.

“We have always been quite good at marketing in NSW but not strong in other states so this will increase our strength in other states,” Neil said.

He expects growth to come mainly from the services and carrier business, with an increased focus on larger enterprises as the telecommunications sector picks up. NSC's Canberra office opened 18 months ago to take better advantage of Federal government opportunities, and since then has grown from six to 12 staff.

“North Ryde is probably the home of technology companies [in Sydney]. What we like about this building is its huge warehouse and pre-staging area. [The premises] are three times bigger,” Neil said. At North Ryde, NSC now shares digs with its carrier division's main business partner, Lucent, which Neil tips to play an increasingly important role in driving growth for the integrator.

“I'm actually very encouraged by Lucent. They've been through the wringer but I'm seeing some very positive signs. There're no egos or anything any more, and they've got great products,” he said. Neil describes contact centre technology as being in refresh mode, with increasing numbers of businesses trading their old style analog PABXs for a converged voice-and-data IP-based platform.

“It's a big paradigm shift that will be good for five to 10 years [as] it will take a long time to replace all the old PABXs. People won't buy an old TDM PABX any more, and if they do they're not buying smart,” he said.

Convergence in telecommunications was no longer simply the buzz word that it was a year ago with two of NSC's most recent major jobs--for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Australian National University--combining voice and data via IP telephony on a large scale, Neil said.

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