From typewriters to high tech in fast-moving world of modern office
Typetec is poised for significant growth, thanks to its latest innovation which gives firms greater access to their business applications
When Typetec started out, its business was selling typewriters. That was more than 30 years ago, and offices – and technology – have moved on.
Today the company has three main businesses: its graphic arts business, which deals with printers, designers and other publishing elements; the IT business; and its education division, known as Wriggle, which is set to benefit from the reform of the second-level education system.
It is the IT unit, however, that is poised for significant growth. Typetec currently employs more than 40 people, a number that is expected to rise thanks to its latest innovation, Global Office. Developed to offer companies the ability to access their business applications anywhere and at any time, it allows firms to outsource their core IT infrastructure.
The company first began looking for a solution to suit its clients about four years ago.
“There were lots of offerings from various companies, but it wasn’t really doing everything for us that we needed it to do for our clients; they wouldn’t just have the main applications, they might have bespoke applications,” explains Tom Close, chairman of Typetec.
This led to the company developing its own portal with a firm based in the US, which allowed it to offer everything required with what Tom Close describes as a nice interface for its clients, known as Global Office WebTop.
Global Office took about two years to develop in total.
Commercial director Brian Roe said there were a lot of “me too” companies offering the same services, and cloud was the buzzword of the day.
“I hate the term cloud personally, because it’s so vague. We prefer to say what it does,” he said.
The system was tested in-house extensively before being rolled out to clients, with Typetec moving all its own systems to Global Office first.
“It was a huge decision to do it, as well as the undertaking. It took about three to four months to develop it, and we were the guinea pigs,” said Roe.
“We put our own business in it about 15 months ago and let it sit for about six months to make sure were completely comfortable with it. Then we started bringing on clients.
“Once we realised the benefits for our business, we knew it was a winner.”
Typetec has already identified about 4,000 end-users among its clients that could benefit from Global Office, and has begun moving some over to them.
“The customer can get so many advantages that they would never get on a locally- hosted system, such as disaster recovery. Everything is online and in real time, no matter where you are in the world. It particularly appeals to businesses with multiple locations, whether throughout Ireland or internationally,” said Close.
One of these firms was Morrison Mainline, a utilities company named in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Award that is involved in collecting cash from meters, public phones, etc.
The firm has a number of offices in Cork, Limerick and Dublin, and also entered into a joint venture with construction company Murphy, forming Murphy Mainline, which is involved in the installation of water meters.
It currently has about 70 engineers on the road, using Global Office to send information back to the office, from urban and rural locations around Ireland.
About €1 million has been invested in the Global Office project to bring it to market.
By the end of 2016, the company is hoping to see Global Office generate about €2.5 million in revenue per year, with about 2,000 end-users on the system.
The Global Office platform will also mean expansion for Typetec, and with that a rise in jobs this year, with Close saying the company would likely increase from the current 45 employees to more than 60 by the end of the year as it grows the platform.
“We’re recruiting steadily every month,” said Close.
Expansion overseas is also on the cards, with Typetec talking to a number of companies in the UK to offer Global Office as a white-label product that can be run from Ireland. The company has big plans to keep expanding and moving beyond its current comfort zone.
“If we’d just stayed as we were, I think we might have become dinosaurs. We don’t tend to wait around,” said Close.
“The easiest thing to do is stay lazy and do nothing about it, but if you look at what Typetec started out as – we sold typewriters. If we’d stuck with typewriters I don’t think we’d be sitting here today.”