We’re continuing our quest to show you more about the huge range of exciting companies we support with legal services in our ‘Meet the Client’ series.
This time, Nick Thompson, Managing Director of DCSL Software, which designs and delivers bespoke software and professional services, talks to us about rapid growth, management buyouts and smashing financial targets.
Name and job title:
Nick Thompson, Managing Director of DCSL Software
What is it your company does?
We design, develop, deliver and manage bespoke operational software for business, build products such as web applications and mobile apps, as well as taking on and maintaining other types of software. The software we develop can come in a variety of forms to suit the needs of the client, whether it’s web, desktop, cloud or mobile apps or other operational systems such as databases or customer portals.
The systems we design are matched to the specifications of our clients, and are made to be intelligent, agile and cost-effective.
Who do you work with?
Most of the work we do is with established businesses requiring operational software, such as a database or workflow system to suit the precise needs of their business. We work with startups, who require unique software products that they want to sell on, all the way through to trusted brands like WaterAid, Lidl and IKEA. We work across a range of sectors too.
In the last few years we’ve been taken on as a commercial partner on agile digital transformation projects for a government department, which has led to an even more varied client base as we adapt to suit different types of clients across the public and private sector.
How long have you been in business and how has your business grown?
The business started in 1994 and I joined in 1997, working my way up through the company from Software Developer to Technical Director. Things were running smoothly, and our capabilities changed alongside the digital landscape. However, as the technology sector grew even further and faster, I saw the opportunity for us to take what we were doing and go in a different direction.
In 2013, I completed a management buyout, and we’ve been upscaling ever since. In the last 6 years we’ve grown from 12 people to almost 100, and our turnover has increased from just under £1 million to £6 million.
What inspired you to start/join your business?
I saw that the market was changing, and that there were gaps in the processes and methods we were using that could be updated to give our clients a better experience, offering bespoke packages and driving what we were producing to a higher level.
It was quite a big risk. Starting again was almost like being a startup ourselves, as we had to mould and grow around a whole new set of processes and values. But, luckily, I was right about what our current and potential customers wanted, so we’ve been able to keep scaling up, producing great products and delivering agile services.
What have been the biggest recent challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Scaling up in such a short amount of time has been a steep learning curve. I saw that when we reached employee numbers of 50-60 that it was getting harder to treat the business like a close family, so we had to adapt our infrastructure to make sure we were supporting staff in the right way and keeping a successful balance.
In the last few months, we’ve opened an office in Central London, primarily to allow us to access a wide talent pool . That step, whilst costly and very much new territory, has helped us to hire the right people for the job, and to expand our client base.
An additional part of the challenge of a new office was the increased overhead costs – but once again we pulled together to make it so that we are still able to deliver competitive prices for our customers.
What are your hopes/goals for the next 1-3 years?
As much as growth has been something of a challenge, it’s also what we’re striving for. We’ve been smashing our financial projections, and we want to keep on exceeding those goals over the next few years. If our forecasts are correct and demand remains high, we want to be twice as big as we are now.
We also want to keep making sure our approach is optimised for everyone involved, being analytical with our methods and processes so that our existing clients receive a consistently high-quality service and our new customers get to experience the best of our approach.
What has it been like to work with Harper James?
Working with Harper James has been fantastic. In fact, we work with solicitors from the firm, and in particular commercial solicitor Sarah Gunton, almost every day, and throughout that time we’ve been continuously impressed with the quality of the service. Throughout our period of growth the support of the firm has been invaluable, and we look forward to continuing our work with the team.