Telling the truth about SME life today

Why it’s vital to continually share expectations and key success milestones along the way

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Lisa Hammond

Role and company: 

CEO and founder of Centrix Software

Growth forecast for the next three years:

Last year, Centrix Software enjoyed 400 per cent growth in revenues. We successfully increased the number of our customers and partners and expanded internationally too. This year, we re already on track to maintain this 400 per cent growth. Our WorkSpace software helps our customers modernise their technology quickly and saves about £300 per desktop per year. It is the value we create for our customers and partners that underpins this growth.

In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:

The usage information our WorkSpace iQ software provides turns today’s business computing on its head. IT departments can now understand exactly what people use and need and then can provide just that. It’s about 80 per cent less than they had to deliver and they can now deliver it through our company IT store, just like app stores at home.

What’s the big vision for your business?

We want people at work to get simple and secure access to all their work applications, services, and content. Wherever they are, whenever they want, so they can work flexibly without technology barriers getting in the way. At the same time, the company can save money by just providing what’s needed – and retain the control and visibility they are obligated to maintain.

Current level of international business, and future aspirations:

So far, Centrix has already expanded into Germany and the US. We received more international enquiries than we could handle last year, so this year we ve invested in our cloud based service to help successfully supply the international markets as well. This is already proving to be a great way forward – so watch this space!

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:

I don’t think there has been one single biggest setback! The reality is that business life is a series of hundreds of little setbacks that need to be overcome and navigated. We are fortunate that the people here, at Centrix, are brilliant at problem solving and seem to revel in facing issues and making things happen. It seems the harder the challenge the more we seem to enjoy it!

What makes you mad in business today?

I’ve two things; first, needless, expensive and time consuming red tape there’s still far too much for today’s fast moving businesses. Second, people who say it can’t be done or just wait for someone else to do it. We re fortunate that Centrix, our customers, partners and shareholders are such ‘can do’ people, and between us we re making a real difference. I?m so grateful to all of them.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?

The accelerating shift from building and running technology from within a company to simply buying or renting it across the Web. Centrix Software is well positioned to help accelerate this shift and our WorkSpace Management software helps companies bridge both ‘on premise’ and cloud technologies completely seamlessly.

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow” If not, what can be done to improve things?

It’s my belief that in our industry we can access funding. We just need to be good at communicating, in non-technical and simple terms, the opportunity. Many investors aren?t technical, and here in the UK many aren?t experienced about the growth phases of a technology company. Therefore, it’s vital to continually share expectations and key success milestones along the way. Centrix Software is very fortunate in our shareholders – and as always we cannot thank them enough for their continued and valued support.

How would others describe your leadership style

Interesting! Irritatingly positive at times! I have always wanted to be a quiet, calm leader but in reality I’ve too much passion and energy that can’t always be contained!

Your biggest personal extravagance

Hmmmmm, this is a tough one, so I?ll answer in two ways; the thing I spend most money on personally is school fees for my children. But having time is my biggest constraint, and so taking time out to spend with my friends and family is my biggest luxury.

You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:

I feel incredibly strongly about this, and Centrix has had quite some experience in this area. It’s really hard, time consuming and enormously expensive for smaller businesses to engage successfully with Central Government. The entire buying culture, systems and capabilities are geared towards large suppliers, particularly in the technology segment. Whilst there is a will at a senior level to buy more from small businesses, the reality is that there is a huge chasm between the leaders and the people on the ground running the processes and making the decisions. 

Even a simple, reward-based proposal that has been proven to save government more than £1bn each year, in technology spend, gets bogged down in endless red tape and ‘can’t do’ attitudes and processes. I would tell David that Centrix WorkSpace could save Central Government £1bn, in the next 12 months – and that he should personally make sure that we get the chance to do so.



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