Shape Networks is a Customer Centric organisation and therefore operates an “Inverted Management Structure” where the Customer is at the very heart of what we do and therefore at the top of our organisational chart. The Board are at the bottom and work to ensure everyone else in the organisation has what they need in order to maintain a happy and progressive working environment which ultimately delivers the unrivalled service to our Customers which we pride ourselves on.
Oliver Woods - Network & Infrastructure Director
Oliver Woods has over 10 years of personal experience within the telecommunications sector. Oliver started his career as a reseller of Non-Geographic Numbering, and then decided to use his existing IT infrastructure and network management skills and combine the two co-founding IP Base Ltd together with Richard Wilkinson. Oliver then created a team and worked together with James and others to build a highly resilient network based predominantly in Manchester which is where the technical team are located.
James Munro became a Customer of Oliver’s in early 2002 and has worked with Oliver ever since. In early 2014 Oliver together with James and Richard decided to establish IP Wholesale. Oliver has an extensive knowledge of security enabled VPNs, network management, Cisco networks and Cisco voice solutions as well as high availability infrastructures, DNS and storage management and routing/switching.
Outside of work Oliver enjoys developing new technologies, and going to the gym.
Richard Wilkinson - Technical Director
Richard met Oliver Woods in 2001 and began working with him in the Non-Geographic Numbering market. Richard saw that this was a very manual and slow process requiring considerable human intervention. With the use of the internet becoming commonplace for businesses, Richard believed he could automate much of the process, whilst at the same time giving the customer far more control of their numbers.
In early 2002, Richard developed the first online ordering system for non-geographic numbers that allowed the customers to choose their numbers online and have near instant connection. Additional development saw an online customer management portal, providing call statistics and the ability to modify call routing. The business was soon the number one search result in all major search engines for 0845 numbers and had attracted clients including Volvo, British Gymnastics and Lifescan PLC.
In 2005 and with the rapidly increasing availability of high-speed broadband to businesses in the UK, Richard felt that the time was right to develop a product that took advantage of the emerging technology of routing telephone calls over the internet. After a period of development, Richard had built a product and a network of a quality high enough to take on customers and was approved by BT to interconnect directly with them. Richard has continued to develop the product and the network, with the core equipment now spanning two major UK datacentres with a third back-up centre, and additional equipment located in Chicago to handle traffic from customers based in the US. The network now handles traffic from customers as far afield as Spain, Norway, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Melbourne, Hong Kong and the Isle of Arran!
Richard is an experienced PHP developer and an expert in database design and MySQL clustering. In his spare time Richard enjoys cooking (or attempting to!), travelling and snooker.
Samantha Freeman - Operations and Quality Director
Samantha has over 16 years of experience in leading teams in the Financial sector. She has many achievements including being the youngest manager to be promoted within the Individual Pensions Teleservicing division for Standard Life Assurance Company in Edinburgh.
After relocating to London, Samantha headed up the Customer Service department at 1st Contact Ltd for 3 years where she focused on service delivery, customer retention and staff development. She was also responsible for the Contact Centre technology that the company rolled out as well as the outsourced call centre provider the company used 24/7.
In 2008 Samantha was head hunted by Pershing Securities (affiliate of the Bank of New York Mellon) to head up their Customer Support department which she successfully did until joining Shape Networks in 2012 as Customer Services Director. She has subsequently moved into the role of Operations and Quality Director.
In her spare time Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons who keep her on her toes. Whenever she has spare time, she enjoys playing competitive netball.
James Munro - Founder and CEO
James Munro graduated from Nottingham University with a BA (Hons) in 1998 and since then has spent his whole working life in Telecommunications. James started his career at Alternative Networks PLC where he quickly progressed to managing the Southern Account Management team. Under James’ management, Alternative Networks saw some of the highest retention in the telecoms market at the time. James and his team managed around £7m of annual revenues and James’ strategy was an integral part of Alternative Networks’ hyper growth.
In 2001 James co-founded Direct Response Ltd bringing his expertise of telecoms together with outsourced call centre services to create a business which in 2004 reached the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 awards and in 2004 and 2005 reached the finals of the Unisys / Management Today Service Excellence Awards. James had a responsibility at Group Board level for over £4m.
James has always had a passion for service and customer management and in September 2010 founded Shape Networks. He is a strong believer in the principals of Quality Management and a business grown from a set of inherent values. The customers and the people of Shape Networks are at the forefront of everything James does. Shape was built with a Quality Management framework, values and the people that James believes so strongly in so that the customers receive the best possible consistent, personal and professional service. James is an authority in best practice and the importance of culture, values and empowerment in the workplace and Service Excellence as evidenced by the articles written on the topic. He has also debated the importance of service adaptations in today’s business environment on live Radio & Television. In 2009 James was invited and recognised in “Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Elite” and featured in the Young Business Leaders 2010 and in 2010 James was recognised once again and entered into the “Who’s Who of Britain’s Business Leaders.”
Today James runs Shape Networks and is chiefly responsible for its growth and overall running. James and his team remain passionate about delivering consistent, unrivalled service to the customer and remain true to their values at all times. When James is not at work he loves spending time with his wife and two sons and is passionate about rugby and hacks his way around a golf course from time to time.
Alan Munro - Non-Executive Advisor
Alan Munro is a career pilot and has flown fast jets in the RAF as well as being an airline captain and flying instructor. He has always been an aviation quality and safety expert. He ran his own business for some 15 years prior to an overdue retirement. He has advised James’ previous business; Direct Response, on quality matters almost since its inception.
Alan is helping Shape Networks towards a futuristic paperless QA including continuous on-line auditing. With Alan’s help, Shape aims to demonstrate how basic quality disciplines can only enhance management competence, maintain focus on the satisfied customer, manage suppliers and produce a happy and productive culture.
With Alan’s guidance, Shape is currently in the process of working towards the new standard that is ISO 9001 – 2015 compliance.