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BC Technologies

A lifestyle choice turned out to be a savvy business decision for IT specialist Brendon Wallace and his company.

Supporting businesses with IT needs

BC Technologies is a leading IT specialist that supports small to medium businesses with IT and security requirements. The company provides a comprehensive range of support, including cyber security, IT support, phone systems, network design, CCTV and video management.

Founder Brendon Wallace started the company in 1994 from an office in Staines, just outside London. After spending up to six hours a day commuting, Brendon realised something needed to change. He and his young family visited Scotland, realised they could make a good life there – and set about making it happen.

Today, the company has its headquarters in Dunoon, Argyll, with a smaller office in London – and it’s proving to be a worthwhile move. Clients range from professional services to leisure and construction, and BC Technologies supports businesses right across the UK. 

BC Technologies has been located in the Argyll region of the Highlands and Islands for over 10 years now, and Brendon has found cheaper office space and costs of recruiting, along with HIE support and a much shorter commute, to be among the many benefits.

Quality of life and business benefits

“It was definitely the right choice for us,” says Brendon. “At the time, we had a very young family, and I barely saw them. I only lived 45 miles from work, but if I wasn’t on the M1 by 6am I had no chance of getting to the office by 9am. I was shattered at the weekend, and then it all started over again on Monday. We looked at house prices close to the office in Staines, and a comparable house was just a ridiculous price.

“We’re quite impulsive, so when we came to visit Scotland we noticed the house prices in the estate agent window and couldn’t believe it. We started to look into it. Could we live up here? Could I commute? We ended up buying a lovely house in Innellan, Argyll, with great views over the Clyde. For the next couple of years, I stayed in Staines during the week, and flew home for weekends. I spent more quality family time despite living away during the week.”

Two years’ later and with the arrival of another child, Brendon made the decision to set up a division in Scotland and move full-time to Argyll: “I was a bit drained by the commute, so we decided it made sense for all kinds of reasons to move the administration of the company up here to Scotland. We kept a smaller office in London, which is really a base for engineers to come in and out, but our main premises is here now. Office space is much cheaper here, and we also got rates relief, so that was very helpful.

“Recruitment has been easier and cheaper here, too. In London, you end up using an agency, which costs around 15-20% of the annual salary. That’s a lot of money – especially if they only stay with you for a while. Here we took out a half-page advert for £80 in the local paper – and we got some excellent CVs. We also took on a IT engineer who literally knocked on our door looking for an IT job, and he’s still with us now. It’s a different approach to what we’re used to. We’ve also taken on apprentices, which has worked really well for us.

“Our biggest challenge was getting superfast broadband, but we got it in place about three years ago, and it’s helped us a lot. So much more can be done remotely, and we’re able to offer many more services, like voice-over internet protocol (VOIP) telephony. I can also have video conference meetings with my team down south, which is only possible because of this high speed connectivity. Now we can pretty much do everything we could in London – but our costs are less!”

 

Moving here was first and foremost a lifestyle decision for me, though the business benefits have turned out to be excellent too. It’s been great for the whole family – we have excellent schooling here and it’s a good quality of life.
Brendon Wallace, Founder and partner, BC Technologies

Business Support in the Highlands and Islands

“In December last year we moved into a new HIE building in Dunoon, and it’s made a big difference to how we operate and function," Brendon commented. "It looks and feels very professional, and it’s been a way for us to up our game a bit.

“HIE has also supported us on the research and development side. For example, they helped us invest in researching technologies around cybercrime, and in running workshops and seminars to create awareness. We’re now certified Cyber Essentials Plus assessors – one of only a handful in Scotland and the only one on the west coast of Scotland. With new data protection rules coming into force in 2018, more and more companies need to prove they take it seriously.”

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