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20 Jun, 12
Interview: John O'Donnell, IT Manager, FEXCO

Founded in 1981, Fexco has evolved over the past 30 years to become a successful company with an expanding focus on foreign exchange, managed services and business process outsourcing.


Fexco has offices dotted around the world and is continuing to grow its business both at home and in foreign markets. Licensed Wireless News spoke with IT Manager John O'Donnell to find out how Fexco is using technology to support its expanding business.

Q: Technology has changed so much, how has FEXCO harnessed it? 

FEXCO are always striving to be at the forefront of harnessing technology innovation particularly around the call centre space. One of the main changes that come to mind is in the telephony space, and specifically the advancement of IP telephony. We've fully embraced IP telephony, which has really brought a superior level of flexibility to our organisation. With IP telephony we can use the infrastructure already in place for our LAN/WAN to bring phones to desks; no hardwiring is needed. 

We've used IP telephony to great effect with many of our business areas particularly in the call centre space: an example of this was when we deployed a call centre in Tralee and serviced it out of our Killorglin office. At the time we did not have enough space in-house to cater for the business we received so we were able to deploy a call centre very quickly remotely and we were also able to leverage all of the technology we had in Killorglin in this remote office. 

As a service provider in the call centre space we have applied for numerous tenders, basing our applications on IP telephony and our ability to rapidly roll out call centre facilities from our own offices.  We feel it gives us a competitive edge as we are also able to centralise and offer functionality such as call recording and call distribution locally. Essentially we can offer all of the services built into our own FEXCO call centre to remote offices. 

Q: Does FEXCO see technology as a strategic enabler, or is it more of a cost centre? 

Technology is a critical part of our strategic proposition across our various business divisions, from call centre provision to bureau de change.  A key example of that is our internal email system, which is currently going out of warranty. We are looking at replacing it with a cloud-based email solution - either Google Apps or Office 365. By outsourcing our email system we can eliminate the significant capex investment. A cloud-based solution also offers us significant flexibility to scale up and down as we need it, and we can pass on these benefits to our customers; for example, if they require an additional 100 email accounts, we can deliver that easily.   

And these tools - Office 365 and Google Apps – are so much more than just email; they offer excellent collaboration capabilities, which is a growing strategic factor for us as we continue to expand worldwide. Being able to share files across our worldwide offices helps to increase productivity and efficiency. 

Q: What's the role of technology in a company like FEXCO that's experiencing consistent growth? 

We've grown consistently over the past few years, both organically through contract wins, and through strategic acquisition.  We've recently acquired some new businesses in the UK including five bureau de change outlets in Brighton and No 1 Currency, a corporate payments and bureau de change business based in Edinburgh.  This means we now have 20 bureaux in the UK operated by FEXCO and we see this number increasing in the future. As a growing company, and particularly a company that is expanding outside of our home market, communications is critical and the links connecting our international offices with our back end systems need to be consistent and reliable. 

We have a number of other offices worldwide, from the US to Australia and the South Pacific, so collaboration is also a key factor. Technology plays a crucial role here too in connecting our global businesses together and we are currently assessing solutions that will allow us to collaborate more efficiently with workers in our international offices. 

Q: What criteria do you look at when you're considering an investment in technology? 

Cost is certainly high on the list.  While we take a cautious approach to any investment, we are prepared to invest in technology that will provide us with cost benefits over the long-term. 

Competitive advantage is another one of our key criteria for investment in technology. One of our main business areas is in the call centre realm. We regularly keep an eye out for new or advanced technology in this particular niche area, such as email handling for example. We will invest in these technologies if they can demonstrate a competitive edge for us when tendering for new business, or if we can pass on the benefits of these new systems or solutions to our existing clients. 

Reliability is also of paramount importance. With every investment we make in technology and communications, we have to be 100% confident of its reliability. For example, our bureau de change business is based on having access to real-time exchange rates and information so downtime is not an option. Resilience is crucial for us.

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