Using artificial intelligence to drive business growth
Jonathan Marsden, the managing director at The Technology Group.
My day starts around 7am, depending on what time my sevenmonth-old twins surface. First thing in the morning I’ll check my emails while I help with feeding them before getting ready and setting off for work.
Once I’m out of the door, my daily commute from home in
Adel to the office in Kirkstall in Leeds takes about 30 minutes on a typical morning.
I usually reach the office by
8.30. The radio takes me to work on a high. The company’s rapid growth means it’s quite a diverse working day.
I can go from mapping out the most complex financial details with our finance director to working with our billing team on tariffs.
Equally, I could be working on our CRM system, building quote templates and making them look nice, or supporting our sales team in client visits or helping marketing on our next big campaign. With a growing team of 30 employees, a typical day involves overseeing the management team and meeting with them to ensure we’re on the right track across all the different areas of the business.
There’s a lot of talk around consistent marginal gains, which we absolutely strive for, but I’m also a big believer that you should constantly keep pushing for big transformative improvements and you should never stop considering the next big change to help break through to that next level of success.
Inspiring our suppliers to believe in our vision and getting them really excited about where we’re heading, and helping to secure even better rates, is another big part of my role.
This helps us ultimately become even more competitive.
When growing fast, it’s important to continue to invest in our team and infrastructure to help with future scalability.
We now have more than 400 clients on board in 18 countries and counting, with some big plans to take that to more than 2,000 within the next three years.
So, one of the main projects
I’m working on at the moment is transitioning to a new business system, which is going to facilitate greater automation and overall efficiency.
Another big focus for me is our growth plan. I meet regularly with the leadership team to discuss the strategic direction of the company and look at how we’re progressing against our goals.
The next phase of growth is going to be incredibly exciting; we recently launched our vision for the next four years to our team at an event in Leeds.
Vision 2022 will see us growing turnover from over £4m, to in excess of £15m over the next four years, through a mixture of organic growth and acquisition. I’m heavily involved with our acquisition directors in meetings with potential acquisition targets and in planning our continued overseas expansion.
I’m currently looking at developing some pioneering voice artificial intelligence (AI) technology with local Yorkshire universities.
This technology, which we are calling ‘Talk AI’, will automate call handling which is indistinguishable from the human voice in to our customers’ telephone systems. This project is a real beacon of innovation for everyone in our company, as AI capability is only going to snowball in the future.
Away from the office, I’m an outdoorsy person, regularly walking my Border Terrier, Macy. Together with my wife Clare, before our twins arrived, we conquered most of the major mountains in the UK, with a particular love for the Lake District.
Further afield, alongside my father, we raised more than £50,000 for Leeds Mencap a couple of years ago.
This was by taking part in a week-long 100km trek across the Sahara Desert across very challenging terrains and in extreme conditions
In November 2017 I did the Las Vegas half marathon, although that was more of an excuse for a trip to Vegas.
Closer to home I love meals out, going to the cinema and I’m a secret XBOX geek.
Nowadays, my pastimes outside work centre around looking after babies, helping my wife, and then catching up on work in the evening, to keep the business firing on all cylinders.
We recently launched our vision for the next four years to our team.
JONATHAN MARSDEN:Away from the office, I’m an outdoorsy person.