How companies Skore with new work efficiencies.
When a savvy suitor approached the co-founders of Portsmouth tech start-up Skore, the penny dropped.
Whilst going through the books to prepare the sale, owners Craig Willis and Colin Claverie reconsidered: Why would they want to give up such a good thing?
Skore had real commercial potential, even if it was in its infancy and, at that time, yet to generate cash.
Craig, who attributes his business analytical skills to reading International Relations and Spanish as a mature student at the University of Portsmouth back in the mid-2000s, and Colin, the technical brains behind the product development, politely declined the offer after seeing Skore in a new light.
Now the management consultancy and software business, which has just relocated from the homes of the three employees into a serviced office at Portsmouth Technopole in March 2017, is thriving profitably.
There are upwards of 40 clients, spanning the UK, USA, Australia and mainland Europe, in a range of sectors such as construction, food production and software technology, as well as private healthcare providers, the NHS and a major bank.
They are benefiting from costs savings identified by Skore, which is staffed by Craig, who is Operations Director, Colin, Technical Director, and Chris Green, Head of Partnerships and a fellow University of Portsmouth graduate, with a master’s degree in Information Systems.
In one example, 80 days of wasted time in a builder’s training administration system were exposed. Following the findings, new efficiencies were implemented, with a resulting increase in productivity.
In another case, a global food producer was able to halve the expensive time spent on the design phase of change management projects, from three weeks to 1.5 weeks.
Skore’s success has come from merging on-site consultancy with software created by Colin and Craig, who both have a background in technology development and business consulting.
They found that off-the-shelf alternatives were far too expensive and only geared to corporates, not small-to-medium enterprises of which there are 5.4 million in the UK, representing more than 99% of all businesses.
Craig said: “There was a clear gap in the market. Our propriety software is being increasingly utilised by consultants, analysts and end users on a licence fee basis, with recurring revenues to complement our face-to-face management consultancy revenues.
“Blending digital technology and human interaction, Skore is very much a proven approach to diagnosing and treating business pains, starting with understanding the symptoms, investigating the causes and identifying the right solutions.
“We find many inefficient processes in firms, irrespective of size or reputation.
“These often relate to legacy systems or traditional ways of doing things, and are hidden away or ignored because no-one within the business has either considered change management or fear it.
“Either way, inefficiencies weigh on profitability and output - they will become amplified over time unless action is taken.”
Craig added: “The Skore software was originally a side show for us, until we realised its incredible potential when we were approached by a potential buyer.
“Since that light bulb moment, we have strongly invested in product development, with our desktop app a core part of our service offering. A number of customers are also using our recently unveiled cloud platform on a daily basis.”
“The Technopole team made it so easy for us to move in and settle in, with a superb office package which includes telephone answering and messages, reception services, mail handling, use of meeting and conference rooms and access to networking events, workshops and business support. What’s more, we are being introduced to new commercial opportunities with fellow business occupiers and, just weeks of moving in, the Technopole’s Innovation Director, Richard May, has already opened new trading doors for us."
Craig Willis - Co-Founder, Skore
Skore’s growth meant that Craig, Colin and Chris could no long justify working from their homes.
Craig explained: “Clients wanted to meet us in our office, so before moving into Portsmouth Technopole, we had to resort to seeing them in hotel bars along the M27.
“We are a professional business and now we have a professional office at the Technopole, which I found out about from a free event at the University’s Business School, where the serviced offices centre was being discussed because of its support for start-ups.
“The Technopole team made it so easy for us to move in and settle in, with a superb office package which includes telephone answering and messages, reception services, mail handling, use of meeting and conference rooms and access to networking events, workshops and business support.
“What’s more, we are being introduced to new commercial opportunities with fellow business occupiers and, just weeks of moving in, the Technopole’s Innovation Director, Richard May, has already opened new trading doors for us.”
Owned by the University of Portsmouth, the Portsmouth Technopole is managed by Oxford Innovation, which runs 21 innovation centres across the country on behalf of freeholders and investors, with the emphasis on supporting start-ups and early-stage firms.
Stephen Brownlie, Oxford Innovation’s Regional Manager for the South, said: “Skore in another inspirational example of a flourishing start-up here at the Technopole, using proprietary software to drive positive changes at companies and organisations in Britain and internationally.
“Skore joins a thriving ecosystem of tech firms at the Technopole, where there are 60 businesses supporting 230 jobs. Portsmouth, backed by the University’s excellent support for enterprise, is playing a proud part in this incredible digital revolution.
“Nurturing enterprise is very much what we are about and this is reflected in one of Technopole’s occupiers, maritime intelligence company Dryad Maritime, being presented last year with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation.”
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