When describing what Business Communication Inc. (BCI) offers clients, it might be easier to say what it doesn’t offer rather than what it provides users in the field of information technology services for commercial customers.
“BCI is a total solution provider to our customers,” said Tom Hinds, vice president, BCI, Ridgeland. “We are there to provide the best solutions for a customer to solve their business problems. At BCI, we have built our business by helping other businesses succeed. BCI offers a range of technology services that are scalable to meet the needs of the entire business spectrum — from small businesses and retail operations to the largest corporations.”
BCI is the largest structured cabling company in Mississippi. It also provides software, hardware, network products and services, IP telephony and traditional phone systems, security, wireless and storage services.
In the past three years, the company has been growing approximately 30% per year.
“That is phenomenal growth,” Hinds said. “We are growing by leaps and bounds. We now have 165 employees. We have offices around the state — Gulfport, Jackson, Laurel, Hattiesburg, Greenville and in North Mississippi. We also have offices in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and western Tennessee. And just this year we continue our growth trend and have acquired a company in New Orleans. We have nearly doubled the space in our building in Ridgeland from about 10,000 to 19,000 square feet. We recently acquired a building in Gulfport to more than double our size down there.”
From a partner standpoint, BCI continues to become more and more integrated. It has been named a Gold Partner with Cisco Systems. The company is in the process of being certified as a master’s level with Cisco, having a dual masters in security and unified communications (voice over IP). Only four companies in the world have that dual master’s certification.
“We’re blowing and going,” Hinds said. “We are just really proud of what we have done. We have managed to grow. Over the past two years, we have been a finalist in the Best Places to Work in Mississippi. Our employees are more than satisfied. And we have been one of the 40 fastest-growing companies in the past four years.”
While most of the core functions like payroll and accounting are centralized in the Ridgeland office, management is decentralized in each of the locations. Customer operations, sales and technical support happen out in their branch locations.
With technology changing rapidly, it is important that employees stay up to date. BCI provides incentives for its employees based on attaining certifications and training.
“And we fund it,” Hinds said. “We don’t expect employees to go out and get it on their own. And we tie their compensation to it. There is really no reason not to do that. To stay ahead in technology field, they have to be on top of the technology. And it isn’t just our sales team or technical team. We encourage everyone, even internal purchasing and customer support functions, to get additional training. It is an ongoing process, and it will continue as technology evolves.”
BCI employees are challenged to spend part of their time on training and continuing education each week. Every BCI engineer holds at least one certificate, and some hold as many as five.
One of the bigger trends in BCI’s business right now is security. Because of increased government regulations regarding privacy for medical records, and security of data from companies such as those that are publicly traded, security is a big need for many companies.
“A lot of government regulations have pushed security and the need for security initiatives in general,” Hinds said. “That’s a very good thing.”
Another major trend is unified communications, merging and consolidation of different platforms.
Technology in many cases is not only improving, it is becoming less expensive. Mississippi has only a few really large companies in the state. A lot of technology applications are geared to large customers. But now newer technologies are being introduced that are geared towards the medium and smaller businesses that form the backbone of the state’s economy.
Hinds said BCI’s success can be traced to the way it interacts with employees to support customer satisfaction.
“We want customers 110% satisfied all the time,” Hinds said. “We want every interaction to be a win for our customer and a win for BCI. We want balanced transactions.
“We find it important for employees to have life-to-work balance. If an employee says, ‘In the last five weeks, I’ve worked 80 hours a week,’ we would ask why. We aren’t doing something right. We want employees to have time with their families and have time to be involved with their community. That plays a lot into our employee satisfaction and why we were voted one of the top places to work. Happy people do better work. We respect our employees. Anyone can sell technology. But satisfied employees are the ones who deliver for you and make the difference. BCI as a company is in good shape if employees are in good shape, and customers are in good shape. It has to be a great balance.”
BCI hopes in the future to sustain its growth, and continue to grow in the markets where it makes sense.
Major types of businesses served by BCI include the healthcare industry, government contractors, manufacturers, financial institutions and law firm
Contact MBJ contributing writer Becky Gillette at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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