Scotland's Economy

Scottish Business Buzz (15.10.15)

Written by Michelle Rodger

Screenshot 2015-10-14 12.10.17Commsworld has announced a substantial growth in revenue, with 2015 set to be the most successful year in its history.

The network, telephony and internet service provider (ISP) started the year on track to post £10m revenue, however the ensuing months have resulted in significant developments in the growth of the business, leading to a 28 per cent growth on that forecast.

The firm has seen rapid growth since expanding its services from telecommunications and building a new Scottish centric network. This growth has intensified in the first half of 2015 with the business landing significant deals and helping deliver the ground breaking Edinburgh CORE project, which will see the capital become one of the best connected cities in the world.

2015 has seen Commsworld add many household names to its already well established client list including Arnold Clark, The Edinburgh International Conference Centre and The Law Society, with a strong pipeline of new business set to boost forecasts further before the turn of the year, by which time the Edinburgh headquartered firm hopes to employ 60 full-time staff.

Commsworld CEO Ricky Nicol believes this is indicative of a transformation in the Scottish market with organisations turning their backs on industry giants such as BT and Vodafone to benefit from more affordable, tailored solutions and more engaged customer services offered by smaller local firms.

Ricky Nicol, Commsworld Chief Executive, said: “2015 has certainly been the biggest year in our history.

“A decision taken many years ago, to go it alone and service Scottish businesses with what we believed would be a more personal and effective set-up is further justified each day that passes and with each client that joins or renews with us.

“We’re now competing at a far higher level than ever before and we know for a fact the Scottish operations of Vodafone and BT are taking notice.”

Earlier this month Commsworld announced a milestone £12m contract with CGI to be a key provider in the City of Edinburgh Council’s new ICT contract that will see it help to deliver a 400 site Wide Area Network (WAN) delivering faster and more reliable connectivity for schools, libraries and other council buildings. It was also selected as a preferred partner for CityFibre’s ‘Gigabit City’ project in Aberdeen, helping drive business in the North East.

Ricky continued: “Our partnership with CityFibre and the opportunity to deliver on the hugely exciting Edinburgh Gigabit City project by propelling my own home city to the forefront of the digital revolution is a source of immense pride.

“However, the most satisfying part of our success is being able to offer more people a strong career that will allow them to share in our success. We’ve risen steadily to 50 full-time staff in recent years and we expect to get that up to around 60 by the end of the year.

“With all these talented individuals on board it is a very exciting time to be part of the Commsworld team taking on the likes of Virgin and BT and that excitement shows no sign of winding down any time soon.”

Energy procurement expert Donald Maclean is sharing his cost-cutting knowledge in a new free guide.

Donald, managing director of Business Cost Consultants, has more than 20 years of experience in saving businesses thousands of pounds.

He said: “If your organisation wants to make better use of its budget, then one of the most effective ways of doing so is reducing the amount spent on energy bills. Unfortunately, there are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding energy contracts that business energy cost reduction can be easier said than done.”

The Secrets to Successful Energy Procurement: An expert energy consultant’s tips for reducing your business’ energy costs was written to dispel many of the myths that surround controlling and reducing business energy costs and offers effective strategies for reducing your company’s bills.

The topics included in the book include:

  • The most common myths about energy contracts
  • What strategies you could use to minimise your energy costs
  • Would you benefit from the services of an independent energy consultant?

As MD of one of the UK’s leading independent energy consultancy firms, Donald has extensive knowledge in this field making his advice invaluable to many different types of businesses. Business Cost Consultants has managed to create extensive savings for an array of clients across many sectors including housing associations, football clubs, charities and hotel chains.

The book is available in a PDF or  hard copy. To find out more and claim your free copy is visit

Screenshot 2015-10-14 11.58.08Scottish-based Internet radio station, Scotland69am, has been voted one of the best in the world by the listeners of internet radio directories and

Chris Carter, head of administration at StreamFinder advised the station of its success in an email, saying only 10 stations are nominated every month from more than 13,000 radio stations around the world.

He added: “Thank you for providing such great music – the listeners love it Happy streaming! Much respect!”

Alan Smith, founder of Scotland69am, said: “This is great news for all our presenters, technicians and management teams at the station. To be nominated as one of the best top 10 Internet stations in world is a clear indication people enjoy our presenters and programmes. It validates our belief that Scotland69am provides a viable alternative to the established and similar programming available elsewhere.

“Unlike other Internet stations we produce individual and entertaining music programmes in which we make dedications and entertain our different audiences around the world. We do not broadcast back-to-back music wallpaper or on-air babble chat.

“The vote is also a validation of our nine main DJs who produce programmes from their home studios. These include former Clyde DJ Steve Jones, ex Pirate Radio Scotland DJ Tony Meehan, Dee Webb, Ray Nelson in Toronto, The Sheriff, Alan Kidd, AJ, Bionic Bob and Gerry Hogan. ”

He added: “The decision to compete in the highly competitive broadcasting world was the belief that the majority of radio stations around the world all sound the same. Most, if not all of them, are business entities dependent on regular commercial interruptions coupled with the inevitable news, weather or traffic reports. Our listener figures continue to validate this decision.”

You can listen to the station here:

Screenshot 2015-10-15 09.34.19UK businesses are not taking cyber crime seriously, according to a report by PWC.

Whilst 91% of businesses have a security framework, nearly 10% of them don’t know how many cyber security attacks they have had this year and 14% don’t know how they happened.

‘Turnaround and Transformation’, the latest Global State of Information Security Survey 2016, released by PwC.

Cyber attacks continue to escalate in frequency, severity and impact. Prevention, detection methods and innovation are on the rise globally as business leaders focus on solutions that cut risks and improve business performance.

The vast majority of organisations – 91% – have adopted a security framework, or more often, an amalgam of frameworks. These technologies are producing opportunities to improve cyber security and produce holistic, integrated safeguards against cyber attacks.

Incidents now cost an average of £1.7m, and insiders – current or former employers – top the list as a major source of incidents.

Richard Horne, PwC cyber security partner, said: “Many business leaders see cyber security as the risk that will define their generation. The most innovative companies are rising to the challenges they face, looking at new technology and seeing how they can best protect their assets and reputation to gain competitive advantage.”

Adapting traditional cyber security measures to an increasingly cloud-based world is an example of this effort.

According to the report, 69% of respondents use cloud-based security services to protect sensitive data and ensure privacy and the protection of consumer information.

As the number of internet-connected devices continues to surge, the Internet of Things will inevitably increase the stakes for securing cloud-based networks. Investment intended to address these issues doubled in 2015, but only 36% of UK survey respondents have a strategy specifically addressing the Internet of Things.

Richard added:  “In our digitally-interconnected world, businesses cannot stand still. They need to prepare and continually test their defences – and respond to breaches – in the face of incredibly sophisticated attacks.

“This requires commitment and leadership from the very top of an organisation to prevent breaches, but also to detect and respond to them rapidly and in the right way when they happen.”

Business Quarter has the full story.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 09.35.28SCOTLAND’s first ever digital skills academy has opened with the aim of creating the 11,000 new digital and ICT workers needed every year to service Scotland’s growing IT industry.

Speaking at the launch of the new CodeClan academy, deputy first minister John Swinney said that the new courses would help “close the gap” in Scotland’s IT skills: “The digital and ICT sector is very important to Scotland. It contributes over £4bn GVA to the economy. Estimates show there are over 84,000 people working in digital or IT jobs across the economy as a whole and this number is rising fast,” he said.

“Scotland needs an estimated 11,000 new digital/ICT workers each year to meet current and future demand in the sector and we need to take urgent action to close this gap.

“We know this challenge will not disappear overnight, but CodeClan is a strong step in the right direction. By providing a pool of job-ready talent, CodeClan will not only help businesses to achieve their full potential, but also help Scotland build its reputation as a global player in the digital economy.”

However, with only 15 students enrolled in its first semester of CodeClan and with the 16 week intensive course costing £4,500, more measures are likely needed to make up for Scotland’s IT skills shortfall.

John F McClelland CBE, chair of Skills Development Scotland, said: “The CodeClan graduates will become part of that dynamic industry and will also help to meet pressing skills shortages within the sector and help safeguard future growth.”

Though Scotland has IT success stories such as Rockstar North, the Edinburgh-based video games developer known internationally for the success of its ‘Grand Theft Auto’ franchise, it is disproportionately weaker than the UK industry, which is worth £58bn annually.

Read more on Common Space.

Screenshot 2015-10-15 09.45.17The £1 billion transformation of Dundee Waterfront, the third largest regeneration project in the UK, has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The Dundee project, spanning 240 hectares of land stretching 8km along the River Tay, is the figurehead for the ongoing regeneration of Dundee. It has been shortlisted for Regeneration Project of the Year, and will battle against Longbridge Town Centre in Birmingham and MediaCityUK in Manchester, the home of BBC North, ITV and Coronation Street.

The potential investments on Dundee Waterfront feature in the Scottish Cities Alliance’s £10bn Investment Prospectus, an online catalogue of available investment opportunities across the seven cities of Scotland. Dundee is part of the Alliance, a collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities and the Scottish Government working together to deliver economic growth.

Mike Galloway, director of city development at Dundee City Council, said: “As well as recently being named the coolest city in the UK, we’re pretty certain that Dundee is also the most exciting at the moment. The regeneration continues to progress to plan and to schedule. A number of new buildings are being developed, including H&H Properties’ residential development, the new railway station and V&A Dundee. A growing number of investment enquiries from businesses and entrepreneurs – many new to the city – should result in a range of new enterprises opening during the next few years.

“We might not have Coronation Street’s famous cobbles, but we believe there’s more than enough inspiring infrastructure in our own bid to excite the judges.”

The winners will be announced on 22 October, during MIPIM UK, the largest gathering of the country’s most powerful property professionals which takes place in London.

More in Scottish Construction Now.


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About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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