Us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to drive busi­ness growth

Jonathan Mars­den, the manag­ing direc­tor at The Tech­nol­ogy Group.

Yorkshire Post - Business - - NEWS / BUSINESS -

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.

■ We wel­come sub­mis­sions for Day in the Life our fea­ture. Please send your ideas to [email protected] jpi­me­,uk and is­[email protected] jpi­me­

JONATHAN MARS­DEN:Away from the of­fice, I’m an out­doorsy per­son.

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