Creating Connections

Madison Technologies

A simple network in a small business, for example, will encompass computers, business machines like printers and scanners, CCTV cameras, phones, and a central server connected to the internet, enabling the system to connect via a Virtual Private Network or VPN to another main server that could be located thousands of kilometres away.

This type of setup allows for businesses with a large corporate structure or multiple locations to send and receive data very efficiently within a secure private network. The head office of an establishment, for example, can view all the security cameras at one of its branches with the push of a button or have its technical team log into any computer on the network and remotely perform maintenance on the software.

Daily counts, inter-branch emails, an intranet that allows employees to communicate with each other without being able to go online and surf the web, proxy servers that filter out certain social networking sites – all need a network with a central server. Similarly, customer relationship management (CRM) systems that keep track of customer details or accounts need to be networked with a central data server so that they are available from one branch to the next.

Of course, the kind of network found in a small business is only one type of network; there are a million different devices in the world that can be networked for any purpose. No matter the function, it all comes down to how the devices are connected. By and large, the connections are the most integral part of the network-dependent machine.

Madison Technologies has been doing business since the deregulation of the telecom industry in 1991, which allowed new products and ideas to start being introduced to the market. Since that time, the industry has changed from providing simple voice and fax to allowing customers to transmit any kind of data – anything from an email to a high definition broadcast signal. Similarly, Madison Technologies itself has continued to evolve with each new technology that has come out, broadening its expertise into all areas of communications, including data, industrial communications, and broadcast communications.

Recently, the company has expanded into providing test and measurement services for all of those types of communications. Beginning with just a single office in Brisbane, the business has expanded to include offices and warehouses located in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth.

“We’re a vendor now of connectivity products,” explains Owner and Managing Director David Redfern, “and it really doesn’t matter whether that’s a copper communications cable or a 3G or 4G cellular modem. Depending on what industry vertical (and we cover many industry verticals), we believe that we have connectivity solutions for a fairly broad range of industries and a broad range of customers. We see the business as a connectivity business these days, regardless of the medium that’s used.”

Madison Technologies is actually the name of an umbrella organisation under which are four business units specialising in different areas of communication technologies. “We operate four major businesses: networking, wireless, audio visual, and what we call cabling and connectivity, which is general optical fibre and copper LAN communications,” says David.

Depending on what one is looking for, a customer call will be routed to a different member of Madison’s specialist sales team. The sales team consists of staff members who have each been trained in a specific area of expertise. The company also maintains an external sales team that can support customers face-to-face.

Along with sales, Madison has a dedicated technical support and engineering team that works closely with the sales team during pre- and post-sales. These employees are there to offer customers a hassle-free experience. “What we ask people is, ‘tell us what you’re trying to do,’ and then we’ll come back to them with a different number of alternatives that will meet their needs,” says David. “We have excellent technical depth and good engineering depth in the business, and we’ve got a lot of application experience.”

According to David, the company’s business model is to employ technically qualified staff members who are also very good at managing relationships. The front line staff is also backed by a technically savvy internal staff, and they are all eager to help, whether they hold a technical degree or a trade ticket.

“Out of the four business units within Madison Technologies, three of them are pretty specialised,” explains David. “You need a particular background in each of those specialised businesses to be able to be taken seriously.”

The Industrial Networking business unit run by Madison Technologies is there to provide solutions across a number of industry verticals, whether it be transport and rail, mining, or infrastructure. Most of those solutions are tied to industrial Ethernet communication systems or cellular solutions for remote location communication. The company is particularly interested in products that can be used in harsh environments – for example in the middle of the desert or on the side of a frozen mountain. Most often, systems operating in such harsh environments are mission-critical to what most often are large-scale operations.

David tells us, “Because there is no room for error within these applications, we have a large team of specialists involved in that business.”

Another arm within the company is a Telco and Wireless business, which often interfaces with other companies like Telstra, Optus, and NBN. Madison has also held contracts for many years with a series of different carriers of connectivity and CPE equipment. This business also looks after everything else cellular, such as long range, microwave, wireless SCADA systems for industrial use, or any other general cellular applications.

The broadcast and audio visual business has always provided communications infrastructure products for the major broadcasters around Australia. Over the past ten years or so, it has also evolved to include a whole suite of products aimed at audiovisual integration, which can include huge AV systems in sports stadiums or high end digital signage in a retail setting.

Madison Technologies also distributes cabling and connectivity products through resellers such as electrical wholesalers or similar. Through these wholesalers, the company provides a broad range of products that are available to contractors for diverse projects throughout the country.

“We’ve enjoyed very good growth over the years,” says David, “and with that comes all the issues of maintaining and continually developing a culture that’s attractive to staff and customers alike. The larger you grow a business, the more difficult that exercise becomes, so we spend a lot of time on our internal culture, and we believe that permeates into the market.

“Madison is a privately owned organisation; most of our competitors are global goliaths. We manage to do well in a fairly competitive environment these days, and we’ve won some wonderful contracts with some very large customers over the years, and that always pleases me because we’re generally up against very large multinational organisations. We seem to have maintained the ability to remain flexible and keep our focus on customer requirements as well as keep our knowledge growing so we actually maintain great value and relevance to our customers, which is the hardest thing to do in this business.”

Madison works very hard to maintain its steady organic growth by taking care of its customers, and in doing so, gains the majority of new customers through referral. With its knowledgeable staff and diverse inventory, the company continues to grow and bring new communications technology to the world, one customer at a time.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

January 18, 2019, 3:33 AM AEDT