Belfast Telegraph

Strategic partnership with Northstone lays foundation for business success

Innovative technology and insights give growing company a distinct competitive edge

Pictured at Northstone’s head office in Dunmurry is Peter Gilgunn, Account Director at BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland, Harry Ritchie, IT Manager at Northstone and Barry Hughes, Enterprise Architect at BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland.
Pictured at Northstone’s head office in Dunmurry is Peter Gilgunn, Account Director at BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland, Harry Ritchie, IT Manager at Northstone and Barry Hughes, Enterprise Architect at BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland.
Paul Convery, Head of Business, BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland

Paul Convery, Head of Business, BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland

In our modern fast-paced economy, customers look for ever more efficient, innovative and flexible network and communication services which offer best value for money and help to future-proof their business.

Paul Convery, Head of Business for BT Enterprise in Northern Ireland, cites Northstone, the largest construction and building materials group in Northern Ireland, as a good example of one such company. Based in Dunmurry, Northstone has three divisions - Northstone Materials, Farrans Construction and Cubis Systems. Having grown significantly in recent years, the company has a multi-million pound turnover and over one thousand employees, so requires efficient and reliable networks and quick connectivity for its daily operations.

Following the adoption of the very latest technology, Northstone now enjoys around ten times the technological capacity it used to have, but at no extra cost.

Paul says: “Over the past couple of years, we’ve worked closely with the team at Northstone to fulfil their goal of having an improved ICT infrastructure which can offer increased capacity, both now and into the future. We’ve delivered flexible, next-generation services to help future-proof their business, rebuilding their unified comms platform, introducing SIP (internet calls) and delivering increased bandwidth and security with a new WAN.”

Harry Ritchie, IT Manager at Northstone, says the relationship with BT has seen a complete turnaround of service delivery. Working alongside the BT account team and technical experts, he says expectations are fully aligned, with clear strategic objectives in place.

Adopting a more strategic approach to the relationship, BT initially restructured and rebuilt Northstone’s Cisco unified comms system, creating a platform capable of handling the large volume of calls Northstone manages across 70 sites and 12 regional offices. With the company using everything from Skype and video conferencing, as well as document sharing and communicating across multiple platforms, the system was adapted to meet the growing businesses requirements.

BT redeveloped and future-proofed Northstone’s ICT infrastructure, creating a more efficient and reliable network to give the business the increased capacity it requires. The result is a solution which meets current demands but also future-proofs the company moving forward.

Alongside this, BT also delivered a WAN upgrade, giving Northstone increased bandwidth, along with better security and disaster recovery, while also ensuring business continuity and high-quality services. As Harry says: “It’s an entirely different way of managing the site.”

Another innovative solution BT put in place was SIP (internet calls), which has reduced Northstone’s costs and provided secure back-up, again with built-in business continuity. “Throughout the business we have about 700 channels,” says Harry. “With SIP we can consolidate these and pay for about 200 at a much reduced rate. It’s flexible, secure and future-proof. We’re one of the first companies to do this sort of thing.”

Northstone’s firewall security is now also provided by BT and a team based locally in Belfast, with a full Managed Services contract ensuring clarity of service delivery as well as proper processes.

Meanwhile, innovation remains at the heart of the relationship with BT. “New innovations and products come to the market all the time and we need to know about them,” says Harry. Regular meetings with BT ensure the business is up-to-date with all the latest developments and as Paul Convery concludes: “What sets us apart is that we share innovative ideas and insights, as well as looking at vertical trends and what we can do to meet the future challenges of the company, to continue to give them a distinct competitive edge.”

For further news and insights, please visit https://business.bt.com/public-sector/regions-northern-ireland/

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