Unlimited holidays for staff and annual holidays to Majorca are part of the secret to the success of one of the North’s fastest-growing tech companies.

Cloud Technology Solutions placed 20th in the Northern Tech 100 list of fast-growing companies compiled by Tech North in association with GP Bullhound for the Northern Tech Awards.

After adding 52 staff in the last two years it now employs 82 people with a head office in Manchester as well as bases in Edinburgh and Belfast and a development team spread around the world.

Sales director Steve Dobson, who set up the business with CEO James Doggart in 2008, told BusinessCloud that the unlimited holiday policy began out of an admin headache in trying to manage the rota for 60 people.

“Anyone can take as much holiday as they need, as long as they have cover,” he said. “If you get married, for example, you don’t have to worry about saving up your holiday for the honeymoon.

“We don’t track it: we’re not fussed! Our staff work hard and put the hours in and we trust them not to take the mickey.”

The policy is clearly working as sales grew from £5.6 million in 2015 to £15.1m in 2017. The firm’s CFO Hannah Liptrott forecasts that the figure will reach £23.5m in 2018. She describes the growth as "spectacular".

CTS staff

CTS staff

“Staff are the most important thing in this business – they run it,” she said. “We take them all to Majorca once a year, in May, for a conference and party which lasts two to three days.

“The cost doesn’t matter: it’s priceless to get everyone together in one place and get to know each other, from a team-building point of view.

“Although all-inclusive packages do help!”

Digital and product director Gary Bennion, who joins our Google Hangouts conference call from home, agrees: “The common thread that runs through the business is autonomy.”

CTS is the main Google Cloud premier partner for the UK. Its CloudMigrator software has moved more than 6.6m people at businesses, government and public sector bodies – including the Cabinet Office – from systems such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Outlook on to SaaS-based Google Apps products such as G Suite.

Its CloudPages software overlays Google Apps with features such as single sign-on, password recovery and contact sharing, while it also builds websites and sells products such as telephony.

CTS staff working with Google's interactive Jamboard

CTS staff working with Google's interactive Jamboard

“Our biggest challenge is convincing people to move away from Microsoft and on to Google platform,” said Dobson.

“Worthing Council told us that its workers gained two hours a week from the migration: staff no longer needed to send attachments, for example, as they work simultaneously on G Suite documents [such as Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides].

 “I’ve worked in IT for 20 years and it’s hard to find a silver bullet to help the public sector save money, but this new way of working Google has introduced has made a massive difference.”

CTS recently moved 6,100 Manchester City Council workers on to Google products from outdated systems as well as training more than 700 Google Guides within the organisation to assist other council staff as they get used to the new platforms.

The council’s CIO Bob Brown said in a testimonial: “G Suite has improved the entire organisation’s way of working in the best way possible.

“The deployment couldn’t have been more successful, and we now look forward to the significant savings it’s generating for us, to make better changes for the people of Manchester.”

Dobson added to BusinessCloud: “We delivered Manchester City Council in 90 days.”