The Silicon Review
Thirty years ago, the thought of hiring experts in networking and information technology was practically unheard of. These days, most businesses have little choice in the matter. The rapid advancement of new technology is something companies cannot afford to operate without.
Businesses have the option of hiring full-time staff for the purpose of building and managing IT systems, both simple and complex. However, this is often quite expensive and it may not adequately suit a company’s needs. In some cases, companies don’t need a full-time professional. In others, they simply cannot afford the quality of candidates they require.
Fortunately, there is another option available for full-scale technical support -- one that could solve the problems inherent to having on-site staffing: hire an external consulting firm.
In view of the above mentioned, we are thrilled to present Shamrock Consulting Group, a full-service telecommunications and IT consulting agency.
Shamrock was formed to provide customers with the best pricing, service, and support in the telecommunications industry. It has partnerships with 200+ carriers and helps companies make the best selection for their business networks, without having to deal with countless sales reps. Shamrock prides itself on its infinite scalability – they have the ability to work on single-location clients or, which is more frequently the case, companies with hundreds of national and global locations. Its quick-witted team are experts in cost reduction, MPLS, SIP, cloud computing, data centres/hosting, inbound/outbound voice, Internet (DSL to Gig+ circuits), private line, and many other communication services.
Shamrock was established in 2008 and is headquartered in El Segundo, California. It has locations in San Diego and Hollywood, California, as well as Boston, Massachusetts and Seattle, Washington.
Interview Excerpt: Paul Cooney, Founder/CEO
Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
I founded Shamrock in 2008 because I noticed a large gap in the industry for a really good, independent direct sales agency. I was working for AT&T at the time, and I noticed that there were very few agents working in the marketplace who weren’t extremely myopic in their offerings. In other words, direct sales teams only knew about the specific product they were selling and nothing outside of that. A majority of my customers at AT&T were frustrated by the same things: the lack of continuity within sales teams due to high sales rep turnover, sub-par customer service and most of all, having to shop around for products because they couldn’t get the answers they needed in one place.
With Shamrock, we were able to address those issues immediately. As independent consultants focusing directly on core telecom products, we’re able to work with any carrier, see the full market of options and provide our customers with a comprehensive analysis of solutions from a single source.
With regards to our vertical, we didn’t select one. Instead, we selected the telecom industry because that’s what I knew best and it’s where the clear market gap was. This allows us to serve many different verticals, and it’s a huge benefit for us because we can be very fluid in who we work with. Our value works across almost every industry on both national and global levels, as the solutions we provide can be applied to any number of client locations.
How successful was your first project roll out? Share the experience.
Shamrock’s first large project was for a client with 100 locations, and it went really well. They were moving their MPLS network from AT&T to Qwest (now CenturyLink), and we were able to save them 40 percent off of their current offering while increasing their bandwidth across the board.
The project went so well, in fact, that it led to additional projects down the line and they are still a customer today, 10 years later.
What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
Telecom is a huge industry. I knew AT&T very well, but the offerings of other companies were mostly new to me. It was a constant learning process trying to familiarize myself with everything I needed to know to become the best consultant in the industry. One thing I learned very quickly was that I didn’t want to go solo; I wanted a crew to grow with and reach more customers. I knew my limitations. It was important to me to bring in people who I trusted and could grow Shamrock with. Fortunately, I have been able to build a team of intelligent, driven individuals who all pull for each other and hold one another accountable. That’s why we have been as successful as we have.
What drives/inspires you to excel in your field of business?
Knowing that we can help customers make the absolute best decisions while taking every possible factor into account. We compare all technologies and providers to give our clients a full view of the market. We don’t push for decisions to be made based on deadlines or stress, but instead on logic and rationale. Once a client makes a decision based on our research and analysis, they can provide a clear, logical explanation to their company as to why they chose A or B. We can objectively say that we provide value to every customer we work with, and we are very proud of that.
What are the biggest assets to your organization? What would they be and why?
Shamrock’s core values are summed up as: unique client experience strategy, pride in our work, integrity, collaborative teams, and a fulfilling work environment.
Every employee at Shamrock – from management on down – adopts these values as their perspective when applying efforts to every project and in every aspect of developing client relationships. Operating at this level of understanding and perspective keeps the focus on our larger goals.
The most important advice I can provide is to surround yourself with a passionate group of talented people who aren’t afraid to argue their opinions. By checking your ego at the door and fostering a culture of accountability, ultimately better and more informed decisions are made.
Two-way communication is most effective, and employees need to feel they have an outlet for sharing their observations and ideas. How does this idea come to life at Shamrock?
Shamrock’s office culture is innovative and energetic, and everyone is willing to assist co-workers when needed, regardless of roles. We look for employees who share a similar sense of purpose, as it is imperative to surround yourself with great teams—both at work and at home. Having teams that you can rely on allows you to maximize your time, whether you are in the office or on the road.
Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
I would say, in a couple of years we may have doubled again in size, but more importantly, we will continue to be an exceptional team delivering agile services to our clients.
The Brain Behind The Operation: A Brief Background
Paul Cooney: Paul Cooney grew up in the small town of Pleasantville, New York and graduated from the University of Richmond. After moving to Boston, he found early success selling fixed wireless for Teligent, Inc. (a dot-com casualty) in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Seeking stability during the tumultuous burst of the dot-coms and ubiquitous telecom bankruptcies, he headed out West to Hermosa Beach, California and worked for AT&T as an enterprise sales representative. Paul worked his way up to the top rep in the country before taking over the struggling Los Angeles sales team, where he turned them into one of the best in the country within six months.