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General election 2015: Fairsail CEO Adam Hale – I’m voting as…

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Hopefully by now you’ve picked up on our “I’m voting as…” series of features, quizzing the nation’s enterprise talent on what each would put together if they could assemble a future government.

From now until the electorate go to the polls on 7 May, Real Business will be showcasing two features a day, creating a diverse range of opinions and hopefully informing future MPs on what they should be doing.

Who are you and what does your business do? 

I’m Adam Hale and am the CEO of Fairsail, a cloud software company operating globally from the UK. We compete and win against much larger typically US-based firms like Workday. Fairsail enables mid-size, multinational companies to manage modern workforces through its global cloud HR management system transforming how organisations acquire, engage, manage and develop their people. 

Implemented quickly and simple to use, the system increases company productivity, reduces operational costs and provides better experiences across the entire workforce. Fairsail’s customer portfolio includes VSO, SolarWinds, Betfair, SDL, Monitise, and SmartStream.

How has your business changed over the last five years? 

We have grown revenue 1,000 per cent in five years, making Fairsail the fourth fastest growing technology company in the South East (according to the Deloitte Fast 50 table). The UK has an incredibly vibrant atmosphere of growth for new tech businesses, and it appears that things will only get better. 

Our business has changed dramatically, not least in the way it has grown, but in the market demand for the product. Talking to organisations over the past two years, it is glaringly obvious how many are often held back by antiquated people systems. There is an enormous gap that exists between the art of the possible, driven by a number of global firms largely headquartered from Silicon Valley, and the hard reality of life on the ground for most organisations around the world.

To recruit, reward, and retain the very best, companies need systems that back up their fantastic customer propositions. At Fairsail we like to work with disruptive international businesses, providing clever software quickly to support their growth. 

What are your growth plans for the next five years? 

Another 1,000 per cent growth, via continued investment in R&D (as a software company based on the campus at Reading University, we have plenty of access to the skills that we need to continuously innovate), and expansion among of our international teams and offices. We are investing heavily in the US market, to be able to increase visibility among our customers and prospects that are headquartered over there, and so far the reaction from the US has been incredible, but we are only just starting to make our mark globally. 

What kind of government would you like to see elected? 

I’d like to see a government that cares about the technology industry – there were no mentions of it in the leaders’ debate, and there has been little or no dialogue about it from any party. Technology and education are likely to be the foundation stone of this country’s future, yet politicians are too busy trying to win “people points”, directing their energies towards winning arguments with a populist agenda.

Immigration is a perfect example. We need immigration and yet all parties seem to be aiming for zero net migration; this is an absurd aim. I think they are all wrong. Let’s have far more focus on technology in education and stop harping on about an issue just to win a few minority swing voters. We want progression and innovation, a focus on what we can make the UK proud, which will ultimately create more jobs.

Read other “I’m voting as…” features:

Do you think government in general is doing enough to support businesses of your size?

They are providing the wrong kind of support. We don’t need funding or advice from government, that’s not what they do well. Funding is available from the private sector for anyone with a decent product or idea, and who wants business advice from a government? I’m not sure how my business would prosper with massive over-spends, untenable delays on contracts, and a change in strategy every three months.

What we need more than anything is educated young people to hire, less immigration restrictions, and lower personal taxes to help further motivate these people to succeed. 

Has the impending general election caused any uncertainty regarding how you run your company?

The election is still a few weeks away and during that time there is a lot that we can achieve and there’s plenty of scope for growth. I can’t waste that time by being overly concerned about all the potential effects that any of the myriad of potential election outcomes may have on the business.

We can’t ignore the outside world, but we have incredible talent working with a fantastic product led by an experienced and bold management team. We managed to disrupt an industry at the depths of a recession, so we’re confident that we can deal with whatever the new administration puts in our way. We can hope that the new government removes more obstacles than it builds, but in the meantime we just have to keep doing what we do.

In one sentence, please finish this line: “I’m voting as…”

I’m voting as a CEO of a world-beating UK headquartered technology company which has grown 1000 per cent in five years and plans to do that again in the next five, creating hundreds of new jobs in the UK.    

Read more from our general election coverage:

Do you agree with Adam Hale? Is there anything you’d like to add? Please let us know in the comments box below.

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