Smart money is on Limerick’s action men

TIMES may be hard, but the smartphone and the cloud computing revolutions are helping Action Point Group, in Limerick, achieve significant sales growth.

A software developer and provider of IT services for the domestic as well as international markets, Action Point expects sales to increase from €1.25 million in 2010 to €2m in the current financial year.

“We are now in year two of a five-year plan and our aim is to have a turnover of €6m by 2014 and to increase staffing levels to 65,” reveals Action Point commercial director Ger O’Mahony.

One of eight finalists in this year’s National Enterprise Awards, the company has expanded its operations in Ireland over the last 18 months by setting up offices in Cork and Dublin and increasing its staff size from 12 to 23 employees.

Over the next three years, Action Point is targeting substantial growth in the Irish market. Now earning 90% of its revenue in Ireland, it also aims to double exports by 2014. As part of the plan to develop international sales, the company will be launching some of its own smartphone applications.

Software sales director Pierce McCarthy says the ongoing smartphone revolution is creating huge opportunities for companies with expertise in developing applications.

“It’s expected that within a few years everyone will own a smartphone and people will use them to pay bills, as an e-wallet and for a wide range of functions. In 2011 more smart phones were sold than desktop computers.”

Action Point is now working on applications which will link smartphones used by a company’s staff members to central computing systems. “We are also developing an application to record receipts for accounting purposes,” reveals Mr McCarthy.

Action Point is this year anticipating 120% growth in sales in the software development side of the business and is expecting sustained growth for the foreseeable future.

Revenue from IT services, which accounts for more than half of revenue, is set to grow by 55% this year and Action Point also sees scope for further growth in this area, especially in the provision of cloud-based solutions.

He says companies can save thousands of euro by using cloud-based data centres hosted on the Internet, instead of storing data in office-based servers.

“Instead of buying dedicated hardware for processing and storage, you pay for what you use. It’s cheaper and can be accessed anywhere,’ he adds.

Action Point has been in existence since 2005, when it was set up by computer systems graduates David Jeffreys and John Savage. Mr Savage had previously worked in the US and when the new company was set up at the National Technology Centre to offer bespoke software solutions, it also based an office in California. Initial clients for software development included University of Limerick and Milford Hospice. For a US customer, Action Point developed software for a teleprompting system which has been used by Barack Obama and in the MTV awards.

Within a few years of setting up, the company discovered a market for IT services in Ireland and expanded into this space. The Action Point Group now consists of software development company Action Point Innovation and IT services company Action Point Technology. Both companies are run by the same management team.

In recent years, an increasing amount of the software development work has involved mobile-phone applications. The company won a contract with British plc NorthgateArinso and was also chosen by the University of Limerick to develop an iPhone Logbook application, which is used by medical students.

Customers for software development include VoxPro in Cork and Time Point in Dublin. For Kerry solicitors Pierce and Fitzgibbon, Action Point developed software for the M50 barrier-free tolling system.

In the provision of IT services, the company has accreditation from both Microsoft and Dell and its range of customers includes Glandore Business Centre in Dublin and Munster Rugby.

All of Action Point’s IT services customers are in Ireland, while 23% of customers for software development are in the US and Britain.

Having received some early support from Limerick Enterprise Board, the company has been in profit since year one and is using those profits to fund expansion.

Enterprise Ireland is assisting Action Point with plans for its first software product launch.

“We are developing the Logbook application for sale in the US and the UK. This is the first of a number of products we have developed in the last two years,” according to Mr McCarthy.

Action Point has just been awarded the Best SME 2011 in the Limerick Region Annual Business Awards and is now a finalist in the City and County Enterprise National Awards.

Fact File

* Company: Action Point Group.

* Location: National Technology Park, Limerick.

* Managing director: David Jeffreys.

* Staff: 23.

* Business: Software development and IT services.

* Website: www.actionpoint.ie

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