MEET THE MD Reg Groom­bridge

Kent Life - - Business Life - WORDS: Sarah Sturt PHO­TOS: Manu Palomeque

The founder of X:drive Com­put­ing on how his soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany has be­come a mar­ket leader in ab­sence man­age­ment sys­tems

Tell us about you

I was born and raised in Dover, my first job at the age of 16 was as a dock mes­sen­ger, where I was sur­rounded by suc­cess­ful fam­ily mem­bers run­ning var­i­ous busi­nesses and all work­ing very hard. School was al­ways tricky for me with my dyslexia, but I now feel that it gave me many skills and abil­i­ties, in­clud­ing de­ter­mi­na­tion, an abil­ity to prob­lem solve, think out­side the box and not to fol­low con­ven­tion. We have re­cently moved home to Can­ter­bury to be nearer our of­fice in the city cen­tre. I am very proud of my two chil­dren, who are both suc­cess­ful engi­neers. I used to give them ad­vice but they now in­flu­ence me!

Tell us about X:drive

We es­tab­lished X:drive back in 1999 dur­ing a chance tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with a close friend, Philip Cross, that went from

‘I’ve got an idea’ to where we are to­day. At first we started writ­ing soft­ware for trans­port com­pa­nies, then any busi­ness that asked us for help. We ended up writ­ing be­spoke sys­tems for more than 150 com­pa­nies. As the mar­ket and de­liv­ery of such soft­ware changed, we were very early to of­fer an on­line de­liv­ered ser­vice; only in re­cent years have such on­line ser­vices be­come the norm. We now have a suc­cess­ful busi­ness that de­liv­ers on­line to more than 3,000 com­pa­nies around the world. With this com­plete change over the years, we are now best known for our brand WhosOff, a ser­vice we de­liver to nearly 150,000 users. Com­pa­nies who have sur­vived the last 15 to 20 years have had to em­brace IT and we are no ex­cep­tion! In re­cent years I have per­son­ally be­come less in­volved in prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and now concentrate on strat­egy, mar­ket­ing and mak­ing sure we main­tain our ethos to be fair, al­ways over de­liver and be as help­ful as we can.

What makes you stand out? WhosOff is an easy to use on­line staff-leave plan­ner. Man­ag­ing staff leave is a prob­lem for com­pa­nies both big and small; we solve that in friendly yet pro­fes­sional way. We are used by busi­nesses from the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor of all shapes and sizes, from 10 to 3,000 staff, from ab­so­lutely any type of busi­ness around the world, ba­si­cally any com­pany or or­gan­i­sa­tion that has staff leave to man­age, big or small. WhosOff is recog­nised as a mar­ket leader, hosted on servers owned by us. Our busi­ness runs to ISO 270001 and com­plies to re­cent GDPR data pro­tec­tion. As an on­line ser­vice we are in the mi­nor­ity, as we still be­lieve in the im­por­tance of tele­phone sup­port.

Any im­pact from Brexit?

In terms of Brexit I be­lieve all busi­ness has been af­fected, sti­fling growth and in­vest­ment and lead­ing to a lack of con­fi­dence. To main­tain our con­tin­ued growth, we have given WhosOff a to­tal re­design, added more HR fea­tures, de­liv­ered new an­droid and i-phone apps. We have also es­tab­lished a new prod­uct WhosOf­fice, help­ing com­pa­nies to man­age shifts and ro­tas while still han­dling the more com­plex is­sues of staff leave for these types of em­ploy­ees.

Any ca­reer ad­vice?

Work hard, concentrate on the prod­uct, es­tab­lish early users and lis­ten to what they re­ally want.

You in five years?

Over the com­ing five years I re­ally see our es­tab­lished on­line ser­vices WhosOff and WhosOf­fice de­vel­op­ing fur­ther, lead­ing to con­tin­ued growth while al­low­ing the es­tab­lished team to take more con­trol and lead us into our fu­ture.

How do you re­lax?

If you asked my wife, she’d say I don’t re­lax, but thank good­ness for my per­sonal fit­ness trainer.

Break­fast this morn­ing?

A blitz drink – fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles is a bril­liant way to start the day.

Get in touch

X:drive Com­put­ing, 2nd Floor, Beer Cart Build­ing, 1 Beer Cart Lane, Can­ter­bury CT1 2NY [email protected], or

01227 764806 www.xdrive.co.uk

ABOVE:Reg Groom­bridge

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