November 1, 2018

North East Times talks with Tony Snaith, CEO of Communicate Technology PLC, the rapidly growing IT specialist provider based in the Tees Valley. The ‘one-to-watch’ firm has continued to surpass projections and is yet to slow down. We first spoke with Tony 12 months ago when he shared Communicate’s story so far. Now, we catch up with him to understand how the story has evolved since, and what the future looks like for the firm

If you were to reflect on the year, how would you describe Communicate’s evolution?
It has been another whirlwind year; we have advanced in so many ways. In July, we brought the cyber security business, Landscape Networks – which we acquired last year – under the Communicate brand. This move has not only been beneficial for our team but our customers too, as they now have access to a wider range of experts under the same trading entity.

Our quick growth has seen our services, clients and team increase. Offering additional support alongside our technical support was important to us. We want to continue to keep listening to what our clients are saying and to do this efficiently we employed a new client manager.

We’re proud to have been recognised for the second year running in the FT 1000 Europe’s fastest-growing companies list, which led to a listing in the FT100 UK list in the consistent growth category. To be acknowledged again for our growth demonstrates how far we have come in such a short space of time.

What do you believe to be the key factors in the organisation’s growth?
The past 12 months has seen a major shift in marketing the business to a wider audience. Previously, our growth relied on word of mouth from our partners, landlords and developers, while in-house we refined our model and put the processes in place for future growth.

We now have a dedicated marketing team in place to articulate our offer and ensure people know about the options available to them for their property; the interest has been phenomenal. We now have a pipeline stretching well into 2020 and beyond allowing us to invest in additional people and company locations.

What would you say has been the highlight of the year?
A pinnacle turning point this year was receiving £500k investment from FW Capital, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The investment will enable us to expand our services into an additional 35 buildings and create new jobs over the next 12 months, which is a key part of our future plans.

What sets Communicate apart from its competitors?
Our unique difference is our model; we fund the entire network infrastructure required on a park or building. Tenants are connected from day one and use what they need, when they need it, on a ‘pay as you use it’ model. We believe we are the only internet service provider or telecoms company in the country doing this.

What are the biggest challenges landlords face when providing fully-serviced offices for tenants?Tenants expect everything to work from the offset, as soon as they move into an office – and why shouldn’t they?
Developers and architects put the obvious things in place, like electric and plumbing; however, in today’s growing business world, the demands of technology are an essential part of modern day business. We work closely with the developers to ensure they plan and put the infrastructure in place, where it’s needed, when they are installing basic utilities.

We also work with the architects to ensure they design a site for all services, including technology, so there’s no retrofit and everything can be costed at developer stage. This removes costly surprises in the future and everything can be in place as soon as tenants move in. It’s about future planning.

What does the future hold for Communicate Technology PLC?
Even bigger growth; we are currently working on an acquisition that is going to be ground breaking for Communicate, which will be announced very soon – watch this space!

Forging more partnerships is definitely on the cards for the future. We’re currently working on connecting the Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TeesAMP) in partnership with Middlesbrough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Cleveland Property Developments, Logic Architecture and agents Dodds Brown and Cushman & Wakefield.

This kind of project is precisely the kind of thing we love doing as we’re involved at the early stage of the development and we can advise on the best ways for the infrastructure to be delivered to site before it’s built – a much cleaner way of working. The entire park will be built with “smart” technology designed into the infrastructure, allowing all parties (tenants, landlord and FM companies) access to information that previously would either not be available or take months to set up.

Looking further into the future, we are planning to float on the AIM market in the not too distant future. This will provide us with additional access to capital for the future growth of the company. We are developing more services in-house and growing our geographical coverage; combined with one or two strategic acquisitions, we will
be well placed for an expansion into Europe and possibly further afield.

Communicate Technology PLC
Communicate Technology PLC provides, installs and maintains IT, telecoms services, Cloud- based services and cyber security products and services to businesses across the UK, with a specialism in multi-tenanted spaces and business parks.
01740 661066