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A bright future

Record growth for IT specialist plotting a £10 million sales surge

Following a record-breaking year in which revenues are expected to rise by 25% to £5 million, fast growing IT support and supply specialist Blue Orange is now planning to double its turnover through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

The Lancashire-based business specialises in remote and on-site IT services, as well as the supply of hardware to businesses, schools and colleges throughout Lancashire and beyond.

It currently services around 100 clients from its Adlington HQ – a former bank, complete with walk-in safe. Many customers have been with the business since it was founded 13 years ago, attracted by Blue Orange’s ethos of integrity, honesty and agility.

Managing Director David Silous-Holt has been careful to retain these qualities during a period of rapid growth.

“Four years ago, turnover was around £1m. We reached £4.2m last year and it could have gone higher, but we want to focus on more than just revenue. Customer satisfaction followed by longevity and profit are much more important,” he said.

To that end, Blue Orange has ploughed all profits back into the business over the last three years. This has enabled it to invest in new systems, such as a client management system that monitors 3,000 devices 24/7; five new vehicles for the company fleet; a major rebrand 18 months ago; and additional staff, including three new engineers just before lockdown.

Silous-Holt points out that these investments have served the company well during lockdown and the worst recession in recent memory.

“There’s no doubt that Covid had an impact on our Q1, but we actually grew our profit in the height of the pandemic, which is an amazing achievement, thanks mainly to recurring revenue. I’m sure things are getting back to normal. We had a storming July and August and it’s not unrealistic for us to hit £10m turnover in the coming years based on sustained and profitable growth.”

In order to achieve this he is planning further expansion of the company’s 30-strong workforce (including sub-contractors) and also looking at acquisitions that will enable Blue Orange to evolve its offering in line with key trends and customer requirements, such as cloud-based IT as a service.

Silous-Holt added: “We’ve worked hard to create the right culture for our staff and customers and we’re about 95% of the way down that journey in terms of our vision.

Blue Orange HQ

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Focus on education

As thousands of North West school children make a welcome return to the classroom and technology continues to inspire new ways of learning, David Silous-Holt warns that slow broadband and limited expertise, combined with unreliable and even unnecessary platforms, have left some establishments bottom of the technology class.

“When I first became involved in this sector four years ago, I was a little surprised at what I found,” he said. “In some cases, IT was so bad in primary schools, and it wasn’t always due to a lack of expenditure. On too many occasions, schools were being sold the wrong kit, whether it was not fit for purpose or a powerful enterprise level system that wasn’t required and was a waste of money.”

He made it his crusade to make a difference, however big or small, and to ensure that clients in the education sector, such as Hugh Baird College and GLF Trust, benefit from developments in cloud-based technologies, from phone systems to Artificial Intelligence.

Blue Orange is now one of a select group of suppliers that make-up the HP for Education trade-in programme, which offers special pricing, trade-In rewards and educational solutions to deliver even more value from HP technology investments.

Now in its eighth year, HP for Education has already given back several million pounds to educational establishments, and is continuing this year with an expanded and improved programme, including an even greater focus on applying HP technology to make a measurable impact in learning environments.

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2020