IT services provider, Flexsys, is celebrating 20 years trading in the North West.
The owner-managed business, headed by entrepreneur Adrian Smith, was established in 1991 - the same year as the world wide web went 'live'. Starting out as a team of six programmers with a single client, the company has evolved into a five site international operation, turning over £19m.
"Twenty years is a lifetime in technology terms," says Flexsys Managing Director, Adrian Smith. "Obviously there have been so many changes in that time, not least the evolution of IT into a business critical service."
As the IT sector focus shifted from programming and bespoke software development in the late 90s, through to 'office in a box' solutions and managed services into the new millennium, so too did the Flexsys offering.
"We saw our biggest growth spurt in the late 90s when the hype surrounding the millennium bug went into overdrive," recalls Smith. "The company scaled up to 40 programmers practically overnight in order to cope with the sheer volume of work. I think the team attacked something like five million lines of code to try and crack the Y2K data storage situation, which - put simply - came about from information being filed using the abbreviated two digit date format. The problem was also compounded by the Euro being introduced around the same time, so there were issues with customer systems not being compatible with the new currency.
"Then, post the year 2000, companies suddenly woke up to the fact that any development work had been on hold for at least two years and there was a growing need for long overdue updates. At that time, there was lessening demand for our 'bread and butter' mainframe programming applications for large organisations with bulk data processing requirements and a move towards off-the-shelf software packages for businesses of all sizes, in varying sectors. We made a strategic decision to harness our internal IT engineering expertise and reposition our service offering to regional SMEs seeking IT support.
"The current focus is very much on helping our customers harness cloud technologies. SMEs are actually in a strong position to lead the way in this arena because of their inherent agility. As well as upfront savings on physical hardware and deployment costs there are less obvious benefits of becoming early adopters of this model. For example, there are massive advantages from a business continuity perspective.
"While there is a common misconception that data hosted off-site is more vulnerable to loss and corruption, in fact the opposite is true. In reality, companies on a cloud network can set-up again almost immediately in the event of an incident. If you're reliant on data held on-site, however, what would happen if your facilities were affected by flood or fire? Imagine going back to square one after building your business up from scratch - because that's effectively what you'd need to do without any data records."
As champions of the cloud, Flexsys sets itself apart from other IT providers by taking a focused and straight-forward stance, which applies across its service offering. The company covers four core areas, namely: managed IT support, hosted desktop services, cloud wireless networks, and legacy application support. Its premise is providing enterprise level IT infrastructure and services to small to medium sized corporations.
"Many SMEs resolve themselves to the fact that being at the receiving end of IT issues is par for the course, but this needn't be the case," says Adrian. "It stands to reason that a one-man-band IT operation will not deliver the same support levels as a more established set-up.
"At the other end of the spectrum, however, the solutions/partner/consultancy approach taken by many of the bigger IT providers is beginning to wear thin. These buzz terms are pretty meaningless to most owner-managers - SMEs simply seek a supplier who can make their system work and make it work well."
The company's transparent 'price per user', fixed monthly fee approach differentiates its offer from similar providers by essentially productising IT services. All Flexsys customers can rely on unlimited support for a set cost that covers strategic input as well as ongoing maintenance requirements.
For further information visit www.flexsys-group.co.uk