Check out this interview with David Lindores, CEO of SIS member Eureka Solutions, in The Herald.
What does Eureka Solutions produce/what services does it offer?
We provide and support the software systems that can underpin the running of efficient businesses.
This was once seen as a specialist space but it’s becoming increasingly high profile as firms look to technology to better manage financials, clients, teams, their supply chains and processes.
To whom does it sell?
We have 3,000 customer contracts across myriad sectors and throughout the UK. We’re big with ecommerce and tech firms and also have clients across life sciences, wholesale, sports clubs, not-for-profits and hospitality.
Our core clients are the mid-market, customers with £20-£250m turnover and we have a few customers with revenue over £1billion.
What is its turnover?
£4.5m last year, aiming for £5m this year.
How many employees?
When was it formed?
Why did you take the plunge?
The business was started by our chairman Alistair Livingstone. Sage – one of our suppliers – had developed a new product on the latest technology at the time and Alistair saw an opportunity in the market for Eureka Solutions to become the technical experts in the product. By 2009 we had become Sage Developer of the Year.
In 2012, a further technology change, the cloud, became prominent in our field and that opened a new opportunity for business growth. The business looked at the solutions available and added Oracle NetSuite, the first software of its type built and designed for the cloud, to our portfolio.
A few years later we set out a roadmap to develop our own cloud-based platform, Cloud Data Exchange. It was launched at the beginning of 2020. We have over 100 customers using it.
I moved into the chief executive role at Eureka Solutions in 2020. This involved stepping up from a technically-focused role into one with a strategic business focus. Having been in the process of studying an MBA at Strathclyde University, I felt that it was the right time to make that transition. I had a plan on how we could improve the business, a deep understanding of our opportunities and, based on that, I developed a re-structure plan to take the company to the next stage of our growth.
It was challenging taking that jump, but I believe it was a brilliant move. I’m still studying my MBA and that means I’m still applying new learnings into the business every day. The MBA has given me a strong understanding of business strategy.
What were you doing before you took the plunge?
I started as a graduate at Eureka Solutions 15 years ago in a software developer position after studying Computer Science at the University of Glasgow. At that time the business had four staff and a handful of customers. Working for a smaller business you learn to quickly adapt into different roles and gain a huge amount of hands-on experience.
How did you raise the start-up funding?
Eureka Solutions does not have any external investors, it is a family-owned business, and all initial capital was raised by the Livingstone family.
What was your biggest break?
Our very first Sage MMS customer, Kelvin Power Tools, gave us the foundations for implementing and developing our expertise – and in turn we’ve been able to develop a strong relationship, so much so that they remain a client 18 years on, having progressed them to Sage 200 as they grew.
That enabled us to move from simply being one of many providers in the field to pivot to become a developer. In a very short period of time competitors became our customers – as they would come to us to enhance a product or to integrate it.
It was a massive break for me to land a job with Eureka when I did and to be able to watch it grow – while growing alongside it.
What are your ambitions for the firm?
We want to be the top UK partner in both NetSuite’s and Sage’s partner programmes, while offering clients an exceptional customer experience.
Our integration product is built in-house and provides us the opportunity to open the business to international markets. The potential for the product is enormous as it scales with each customer’s business. We currently process over 13 million transactions a year through the platform.
What could the Westminster and/or Scottish Governments do that would help?
We have a stark skills shortage in the IT industry. One of our largest challenges is finding staff – both consultants and software developers are in high demand with a lack of candidates. We have gone down the route of “grow our own”, employing graduates.
However, our industry is not one that is commonly thought of when young people are leaving school. More emphasis needs to be placed at high schools on promoting graduate apprentice schemes, giving students the opportunity for real life experience while also attending university and gaining a degree.
The skills crisis, Brexit and energy price surges are creating a perfect storm.
What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?
Failure is not necessarily a bad thing. You need to learn from it to grow.
We give every member of the team a book called “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell. It concludes that to truly master your field you need 10,000 hours of practice. In our industry there are no short cuts, to become technically the best takes hard work and dedication.
How do you relax?
Between running the business and doing a part-time MBA, I don’t have much free time. However, walking my Boston Terrier, Hugo, gives me some really valuable time for reflection.
I do have an unusual hobby in the form of Horology. It stems from the engineer in me, enjoying problem solving, understanding how products work and a general fascination with watches. As a young boy I’d spend hours taking watches apart and putting them back together – it is an incredibly simple way of learning Mechanical Engineering.
Source: The Herald