Tech

Version 1: a people-first strategy for success

August 30, 2019 No Comments

A joint focus on customers and employees ensures this pioneering IT consultancy continues to go from strength to strength.

Version 1 is a market-leading IT services provider on a mission to prove that IT can make a real difference to their customers’ businesses. Core to its business model is a belief that their employees are just as important as their customers. Having been voted a Top 10 Great Place to Work in Europe for a third consecutive year in 2019, this strategy certainly seems to be working.

Empowered employees drive customer satisfaction

“Our greatest strength is balance in our efforts to achieve customer success, empowered people and a strong organisation, underpinned by a commitment to our values,” says Tom O’Connor, CEO.

“Version 1 doesn’t look at revenue growth in isolation as an indicator of success. We believe this balanced approach to success is what makes our business unique and inimitable, but more importantly – our customers and employees agree.”

Nikki Greenway, Head of IT at The Legal Ombudsman concurs, “Since the beginning of our projects with Version 1, the relationship has grown at all levels and we have been impressed to date. Colleagues in Version 1 are accessible and constructive and deliver what they say they will, when they say they will.”

By empowering employees, Version 1 is able to sustain a more positive customer experience. With industry-low employee attrition levels, the person with whom a customer starts their Version 1 journey will most likely be a long-term partner, ensuring consistency in service levels – and a 98% customer retention rate.

“I can vouch for their customer focus,” adds Greenway. “Version 1 works closely with us to understand life in the public sector in the UK and is capable of delivering sensible solutions that help us better serve the public.”

Doing the right thing by clients

And therein lies the company’s other key strength: an empathetic approach based on what the customer needs, not on selling or recommending a new solution for the sake of it.

One of the company’s areas of expertise is in application modernisation, to help clients navigate the rapidly changing digital era of business. By exploiting modern capabilities and maximising the power of digital, cloud-native services in a cost-effective way, clients are able to update systems and digitally transform their businesses without breaking the bank.

“Often the business case for wholesale replacement does not stack up,” says O’Connor. “We have a process and an approach to modernise applications while protecting existing value. If we can deliver the same outcome through enhancement, saving time and money, we will do the right thing for our customers.”

Boundary-pushing innovation

Version 1 employs nearly 1,300 staff internationally. With six UK offices in Belfast, Edinburgh, the West Midlands, London, Kent and Cheshire, the company has been assisted by Enterprise Ireland to build a robust base for servicing clients as diverse as Primark and the NHS.

In 2018, annual revenues increased to approximately £105 million. Such strong financial performance allows the business to not only optimise its own operations, but to invest in upskilling staff, as well as developing innovative products for clients.

“We push boundaries through our Innovation Labs,” explains Ken McMahon, Head of Technology and Innovation. “We invest a significant sum annually directly with customers to prove the value of emerging technologies, such as the Robotic Process Automation we developed for CAFCASS. The Labs really are the vanguard, and help us to help our customers to open up new value streams.

“Furthermore, our Continuous Professional Development programme ensures that our people are empowered with the appropriate learning and development pathways to grow their skills, while our Associate Programme provides a continuous infusion of incredibly bright graduates who bring new ideas, get exposure to new technologies in the Innovation Labs and challenge the status quo.”

David Corcoran, UK Technologies and Services Market Advisor at Enterprise Ireland says, “We are delighted to support Version 1 as they scale significantly across the UK and into new export markets. They have firmly positioned themselves as one of Ireland’s most impressive IT services companies and their commitment to continued innovation and customer-first focus has ensured that leading UK organisations seek them out to help digitally transform their business.”

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