Ever had a great idea for a website or social media business, but need the expertise to put it into action? That is the dilemma that a growing number of people face – with the result that a Bangor company is expanding rapidly to meet the demand.
Omnisoft Services is rare in offering this type of support. Although it was only formed in January last year, it already directly employs 25 staff, as well as working with a number of other local businesses as outsource partners. The company is currently recruiting two more developers and is likely to need another six staff by the end of the month.
“Some of our clients are starting small, but are growing fast,” reports Omnisoft managing director and founder Andrew Cuthbert. “Very few companies in the UK are entering our sector, so we have picked up some major international clients. We work in support of agencies and aim to expand pay per connection – PPCo – as a real alternative to traditional PPC – Pay Per Click, with Google.”
Cuthbert explains how the business was inspired. “I used to focus on designing and developing websites and software,” he says. “I began to get interested in social media probably in 2008. We were commissioned in 2009 to build a computer game by a young client. I took some involvement in the business planning, and now through that and other experiences I decided to take the business down the route of focusing on ‘Return On Investment’ for clients rather than purely building software – and the rest is history.”
That same business model is used by Omnisoft much more widely. “We usually manage social media, in some cases though we manage the whole online aspect of a business and work together with our client to get the client a return on their investment,” says Cuthbert. “We generate our money either as a direct fee, or on a profit share arrangement, not through adding costs to a job, but through it making money. All our clients become long term partners: we aren’t really interested in short term gains but rather long term partnerships.
“Our biggest project is keystagetwo.com. This is a major schools project, through which children can do their homework online in the form of a computer game. Sixty Northern Ireland schools are using this and that number is expanding all the time. In the process of doing homework on the system, children win ‘gold coins’, which they can spend on pirate ships and new pirate outfits. The system has recently been installed in the first of English Primary schools and this will be the first of many.”
Other major projects have included selling property investment online, for a location in Southern Spain. Omnisoft also works in the health, financial services, medical and retail sectors.
One of the most exciting current home-grown Omnisoft projects is ‘This is You Online’, which has a presence on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. It offers clients the opportunity to build their social media profile. “With ‘This is You Online’ we aim to allow individuals and small businesses to use social media more effectively,” says Cuthbert. “A small business can generate new business connections through TIYO, as can a charity, each in its own way.”
Despite expanding its engagement with the small firms sector, most of Omnisoft’s activities are with established larger corporates. “We generate company-specific connections based on the areas that a company is involved in,” says Cuthbert. This can either be aimed at complementing traditional marketing avenues, or creating new online revenue streams.
Either way, Omnisoft is increasingly positioning itself as the partner to work with to exploit online opportunities.