A pint of the '˜Black Stuff' reaps great rewards for Qualsys

Sheffield software company Qualsys owes much of its global success to a pitch it made to the brewing giant Guinness in 2006.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:46 pm
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:49 pm
Mike Pound, MD of Sheffield based software specialists Qualsys.

At that time, the company had just 11 employees and a small office at Aizlewood's Mill in Sheffield when  founders Mike Pound and Mike Bendall found themselves bidding to work with one of the world's most respected brands.

Managing director of Qualsys Mike Pound said: ''We were up against some huge IT names. Initially they didn't realise how small we were. We had one member of staff for every billion the Guinness brand is worth.

'We got the contract, still have it to this day and it paved the way to Qualsys landing contracts with other international household names.'

Now the 49-strong team works for clients across the manufacturing, life science and food and drink sectors and the company is set to reap £5m this year.

 'Sometimes, all a business needs is one big opportunity and the courage to run with it. Guinness offered us that golden ticket,' said Pound.

Today organisations in 124 countries rely on the company's flagship EQMS software system which Pound and Bendall bought on a floppy disc in 1995. They developed it and in the first year turned over £285,000 and grew the staff to six.

The user-base includes a host of government agencies and global blue chip companies as diverse as BT, Virgin Media, Honeywell Global and hospitality giant Sodexo, the 13th largest employer in the world.

Its software enables businesses to improve governance, risk and compliance management by managing all processes in a single, unified system.

Qualsys revenues have doubled in the past 12 months and the order book for 2019 is an anticipated £5m, with recurring revenues from annualised licenses in excess of £2.2m.

A 30 per cent growth plan in staffing will see a recruitment drive throughout 2019 and there are ambitious five-year targets - revenues of £50m and a 200-strong Sheffield workforce by 2024.

For 2019, Qualsys is focusing on inspection-readiness.  Pound said: 'Customers are telling us their regulatory and customer audits are becoming more frequent and more rigorous. EQMS tools mean any employee can find anything the auditor may ask to see.'

In the first quarter of 2019 a new inspection management module, developed in partnership with University of Leeds, will come to fruition and Qualsys is enhancing its business intelligence dashboard, an analytics tool already used by Well Pharmacy to identify risks across 780 pharmacies.

'By the end of 2019 we plan to be the only UK software company offering industry-specific, best-practice management system templates within the software, speeding up the time it takes to be inspection-ready from several months to several days,' said Pound.

The company's most recent product, Kiosk, is running successfully at Mondelez throat lozenge production plants around the UK. A touch-screen system which expands the QMS systems of factories and work bases, Kiosk allows employees to log incidents and risks in seconds using simple graphics.