Networking solutions provider Bootstrap was acquired by IT services company Arkphire during 2016. The company recently celebrated its’ 40th anniversary in business milestone. Irish Tech News caught up with Brendan Martin, Head of Bootstrap, to learn more about the business and what lies behind its success to date.
Describe the business of Bootstrap – the elevator pitch …
Bootstrap is in the business of building better IT networks, so our customers can concentrate on what they do best. Today we have established our position as a leading networking solution provider and one of Ireland’s longest established, Irish owned and managed IT companies. Critical to our success has been our focus and strong relationship with Cisco and their world-class product set. For the past 25 years, Bootstrap has maintained a strategic partnership with Cisco, and with Cisco Gold Partner Status, our customers have an assurance that we can provide the highest levels of service and expertise.
Based in Sandyford we design, implement and support networking solutions for our customers across Ireland, the United Kingdom and internationally.
Now as part of the leading IT solutions company Arkphire, Bootstrap continues to evolve into a more fully enhanced single enterprise offering with capabilities across the full spectrum of IT services.
How are you different?
Bootstrap’s unique point of differentiation which sets us apart revolves around our people and our company culture. Since taking on my role as Head of Bootstrap, I have been really struck by the company’s ‘Can-Do’ attitude, its ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ and the obsessive focus on putting the ‘Customer First’.
These values which have been ingrained in the company’s DNA have contributed significantly to our reputation for delivering quality, customer-focused solutions and very high levels of service. This, in turn, has earned the company a high rate of customer satisfaction and retention which we are very proud of.
Constantly evolving our business offering to meet our customers’ needs, Bootstrap as part of the Arkphire Group can now provide solutions from desktop applications/PC/Apple to LAN/WAN networking/collaboration right through to servers/storage in your datacentre.
Essentially, we provide the complete scope of IT requirements for a typical enterprise, enabling customers to optimise their connectivity and network access to cloud applications, mobile workforces and within office environments.
All of Bootstrap’s services and solutions and backed up by a team of highly skilled professionals and Cisco certified engineers with cross-architectural accreditations varying from Cisco Certified Network Associates to Cisco Certified Internetwork Experts.
Where are you based?
Bootstrap is headquartered in Sandyford, Dublin where we have shared offices with Arkphire Group.
Our overall company size combined with Arkphire now numbers 100 people.
When was the company launched and by whom?
Bootstrap was first established in 1978 /79 and this year we are celebrating our 40th anniversary, which is a major milestone achievement for the business. The business was originally founded by Pauline and Martin White, who has recently retired from the business.
What significant technology changes/trends have you witnessed in this time?
Bootstrap has always been a networking company. It has continuously evolved to be at the leading edge of every new wave of networking technology.
Our portfolio evolution started 40 years ago with modems and fibre multiplexers evolving to basic bridges and routers.
Historically security was at the username and password level. In recent years, with many high profile security breaches profiled in the media, security has taken top priority in the minds of IT managers. Bootstrap has evolved on this wave with appropriate technology and highly trained staff to meet the continuously changing security needs of our customers.
IP telephony is another area which has driven significant change in how enterprises connect their sites with telephony. It is much more cost effective to combine both data and telephone on the WAN infrastructure. Typically in this scenario telephony services will break out to the public network at one or two headquarters sites. Existing remote numbers plans can still be maintained meaning there is no change in telephone numbering schemes. Significant cost saving can be made by eliminating legacy phone lines or PRA’s. Bootstrap customers are increasingly leveraging this cost saving as part of their network upgrades.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
Bootstrap is fortunate to have many large long-term customers, some of whom have been with the company since it was first established.
A particularly interesting project has been AerCap – who is a global leader in aircraft leasing
with 4 core global locations. Bootstrap provides network infrastructure and managed support at all locations.
Who are you trying to attract to your product/services?
Our mission is to satisfy the IT requirements for any mid to large enterprise from desktop to datacentre. We can also provide product, design and support for individual components. In particular, we are interested in providing a managed service to our customers where we take on the day to day responsibility of managing and running our customers networks. This is driven from an awareness of a trend that enterprises are experiencing challenges hiring and retaining suitably qualified IT staff.
What have been the ingredients behind your success to date?
Our high level of customer retention and satisfaction is based on the following:
- Focus on hiring high quality staff
- Focus on ensuring our staff have a challenging and rewarding work experience
- Focus on customer satisfaction – the culture of Bootstrap is continuously focused of delivering on customer expectation
- Use of process and technology to manage the customer experience – this ensures that nothing is missed and that we have metrics on performance to enable continuous improvement.
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
The old business mantra ‘Customer is King’ which rings out as loud today as it did 40 years ago when Bootstrap was first established. To deliver on this, you must give your best to customers, listen and provide honest advice and make things easier for them. To enable this you need a customer supporting culture and can do attitude.
When was Bootstrap acquired by Arkphire and what does this new relationship now mean for customers and the business as a whole?
Bootstrap was acquired by Arkphire during 2016. The Arkphire acquisition has enabled us to leverage their long term expertise in the procurement, deployment and support of server/storage infrastructure and desktop IT and their provision as a managed service. Our combined resources allow us to now offer our clients the benefits of the extended enterprise capabilities across the full spectrum of IT services.
Tell us about your team?
We have an innovative and entrepreneurial team with a can do attitude who are highly customer focused.
All engineering staff have Cisco accredited technical skills. We have a diverse range of nationalities including Irish, Polish, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Portuguese, each with unique experience enhancing our combined experience.
Any customers of note?
Bootstrap has a varied and rich customer base including five of the top 10 law firms in Dublin, two of the largest Irish pharmaceutical distributors and the top aircraft leasing company in the world.
What are your plans for the future?
We will continue our high level of service to our trusted partners while beginning to grow our customer base and expand our services.
When a customer has multiple suppliers there is always compromise on end to end system design as no one supplier is looking at the end to end performance.
We see substantial market demand from enterprises for a managed service where we take over full responsibility for managing and running customer networks. Bootstrap is well resourced to deliver on this market demand.
Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?
Arkphire Bootstrap is an exciting company. We have great people who are dedicated and will go the extra mile for our customers. We are resourced and positioned for growth. Talk to us today! You won’t regret it.
How do people get in touch with you?
Contact Brendan Martin, Head of Bootstrap by email at [email protected] or
Tel: +353 1 293 8200