A TECHNOLOGY company plans to invest £4.5million over the next three years after officially opening a “centre of excellence” in Hampshire.

The Maintel Technology Centre will bring together experts in cloud technology, software and artificial intelligence (AI).

IT specialist Maintel says it is looking to expand its workforce and accelerate its growth in digital workplace technology, customer experience and secure connectivity.

Its centre is at Maintel’s offices on Barnes Wallis Road in Fareham, where eight extra jobs have already been created, with more to come.

Rufus Grig, chief technology and strategy officer at Maintel, said: “The Maintel Technology Centre will play an important part in the future of this company, helping us to deliver the very best service to our customers and develop innovative new technologies.

“While you may see many companies moving their software development offshore, to the likes of the Philippines and India, we felt it important to invest in our already established Fareham office.

“The Maintel Technology Centre will become a real hub of talent and innovation.

“Moving forward, it’s our plan to forge strong relationships with further and higher education establishments in the Hampshire area, as we look to grow our own workforce while inspiring the next generation to learn valuable skills in areas such as software development.”

He said bringing the cloud technology team and the software developers in one place would create a “hub” of technical excellence in the company.

“We wanted to have a single place where all that research and development will come together,” he said.

“We are working predominantly in customer experience – how we help organisations and brands manage their customers most effectively. There’s been a big move away from telephone centres and contact centres and towards support by mobile apps, websites and emerging technologies such as smart speakers.”

He said despite the trend for more remote working, Maintel had found there were benefits to having teams sharing a site.

“They learn skills from each other, the more experienced teaching the younger ones, but you also get the new recruits teaching the tricks to the older ones,” he said.

He added: “We’re really trying to foster that culture of innovation and people are having lots of creative ideas and enjoying building new things.”

Mr Grig said the company believed it was better to hire talent in the UK than outsource work abroad.

“A key part of what we do is integrating our applications and our customer systems to make them work better together,” he said.

He said having staff in closer proximity to each other and to customers made for better products.