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Getting to know you: Chris Ellis, CTO, CAS

CAS is an employee owned software company based in Edinburgh. We offer our highly successful case management software, Workpro, as well as other bespoke IT services to public and private sector organisations throughout the UK and overseas. Established in 1969, CAS has a proud record of designing and implementing high quality, robust IT solutions. The RAF for example has been a client for over 30 years. 

We have supplied case management systems since 2003, first to the Ombudsman/regulator community, now to organisations at the sharp end of case handling. Workpro helps organisations to effectively manage regulated casework, with versions available for complaints and Employee Relations, as well as FOI and Data Protection requests.

Where did your passion for digital come from?

At university I studied Classics (Latin and Ancient Greek) and didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I finished.  My first job was working in marketing for a cruise operator (they ran cruises with a classical flavour).  I started helping with managing some of their databases and found that I both had an aptitude for it and found it quite enjoyable.  This was during the dotcom boom of the nineties so I was able to teach myself how to code and move into software development from there.  I’ve worked in a variety of industries (financial services / university spin out / SMEs) and have enjoyed all my jobs – each with its own unique challenges and rewards.

 Where do you see yourself/your company in five years?

CAS is now focussed on developing our case management platform, Workpro, for new markets.  Workpro is well established as a tool for ombudsman and regulator organisations, the market for which it was originally developed.  With case management offering something for just about every sector, we’re now expanding into a number of new areas, particularly financial services and employee relations. Expansion involves ensuring that we have baseline versions of Workpro available to quickly deploy to new customers in these areas, which can then be configured to their exact requirements.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

Seeing members of the team grow and develop, discovering new things and taking on new responsibilities.  As an employee-owned company we’re fortunate to have a team who are extremely engaged and have a strong sense of pride and ownership about their work and the company.  So, it’s really rewarding to be a part of their career development.  At the other end of the spectrum we’ve been working with organisations like Codeclan, Equate Scotland and CareerWISE who are bringing new people to work in the tech sector.  It’s great to watch as they start to develop their potential.

 If you were speaking to a classroom full of 3rd year high school students how would you pitch the industry as the best place to be?

One of the joys of working in technology is that things are constantly changing – you never stop learning and things never become stale.  For students who enjoy rising to a new challenge each day they should know that it can continue.  It’s amazing what you can achieve with a small group of people – it’s really satisfying to be able to deliver a project or some new features which make a positive difference to how people work, even if just in a very small way.  

I would also encourage more girls to consider technology as a career option. It’s a great career option where you can work as part of a team, solving problems for your customers.  Push aside your preconceptions and find out where you can get involved!

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