COMING UP FAST: Decisions - Graham Wylie, Sage Computers

COMING UP FAST: Decisions - Graham Wylie, Sage Computers - MY BEST ... 'In the mid-80s customer service was the responsibility of our sales team but customer software upgrades weren't being handled well. We had 150 service contracts and I gave one person

by ANDREW SAUNDERS
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MY BEST ... 'In the mid-80s customer service was the responsibility of our sales team but customer software upgrades weren't being handled well. We had 150 service contracts and I gave one person the job of looking after them. Now we have almost 750,000 service contracts with 60% of our revenue coming from service rather than sales. Our typical customers are small companies who rely on the supplier to provide IT support and because we do, we generate tremendous loyalty and a good reputation - one third of our new business comes from referrals. Another good decision and one of my hardest was stepping back. I co-founded SAGE but I'm not the chief executive. My strengths are in R&D so that's what I stick to.'

MY WORST ...

'In 1988, we were selling a lot of network software and I thought we could make the world's cheapest PC network card to sell alongside it. But to take on a market dominated by huge companies like Intel and Novell you have to invest massively. The manufacturing lead time on our product was six months and by the time the cards were ready, they were obsolete. I learnt to concentrate on our core competencies - software and service - not hardware. Even when we buy other companies, they have to have our kind of customers and be able to be run on the SAGE business model.'

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