Archive for month: January, 2013


21 Jan
January 21, 2013

Just around Christmas we announced the acquisition of VCOMM, previously a subsidiary of Coms PLC. With all of the integration work that’s going on at the moment work has been pretty busy, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about what this means for my team and I – I’m sure our MD, Steve Harris would have plenty to say on the commercial side,  but I’m going to focus on the technical and service delivery aspects.

Those people who read this blog who are our customers are already familiar with the incredible quality of service that we already offer. We’ve made it a point that any new product we bring on board isn’t sold until we understand the equipment, how to design networks with it, deploy it, configure it, break it, fix it and debug it. We make a point of knowing the products well enough that most of the questions we see are answered within the team and not escalated to the vendor. As a result, we close some 75% of tickets in-house. This has resulted in some interesting feedback including one customer who’s a major UK provider of hosted telephony remarking that he would groan when we said we’d have to escalate to a vendor as he knew it wouldn’t be resolved quickly.

Of course, this kind of knowledge doesn’t happen overnight, so products in the VCOMM range that we don’t know will take a little time to get to that standard, however there’s some crossover there that we can take advantage of immediately. Our ideals and goals that our technical team applies to the work we do will apply equally to the work we do with the VCOMM customers, something I think will benefit everyone in the long run.

Although this isn’t going to have a significant impact on our operations in Siphon immediately we’re working hard to make sure that whatever changes we make are for the better for both companies – and I can tell you that the team is excited by the acquisition and the opportunities it’s going to bring us and our customers!


18 Jan
January 18, 2013

It’s as much a certainty that this country descends into chaos when the white stuff hits the ground as it is that you’ll find hundreds of people ranting about how badly we cope with the snow. With our new HQ and Technical Centre of Excellent in Cwmbran, in South East Wales, there was significant potential for us to see widespread disruption to our business. Yet, even with my car 10″ deep in snow outside the house, our entire team worked as normal today. I answered emails, attended conference calls and our TAC fixed customer systems, made critical changes and continued to offer the incredible support we’re renowned for. Just another day – how did we manage it?

Siphon has since its inception been a significant supporter of the concepts behind “cloud” services, SaaS and AaaS systems and mobility – and so we should be given that we sell hosted telephony systems! But that’s extended not only to our voice communications, but to our other communications systems, customer information systems and even our support system. Right from the start we based our systems and equipment around one simple concept – work from anywhere.

Every single person in the company has a laptop and a mobile phone. Couple that ability to connect to the Internet certainly from most of the UK and, in reality, from most of the places we travel to in the world to our use of SaaS systems and you have a perfect recipe. In theory, upon the evacuation of our office for some unknown reason, we could decant our staff to the nearest McDonalds if we had to (yes, we even have a list of places locally that provide wifi should we need it in an emergency)!

Our voice communication makes all this trivial. We have our own platform that we use to demonstrate our services to customers which contains just about every product we sell. The key piece of this on the mobility site is Comdasys, our fixed-mobile convergence platform that really does allow me to treat my mobile like my desk phone either over wifi or the mobile network transparently and simply.

On top of everything else, we have some careful planning. Several staff members have or still do spend some of their spare time volunteering with a variety of Emergency Services and their experience in emergency planning and incident handling provides us with an incredibly strong team when dealing with problems.

So the next time your staff are stuck at home and you’re struggling to deliver your normal service, stop and think a little about how you can use not only technology but your people to make your business more flexible and resilient.