Meet the former councillor who is using tech to save the economy £180bn a year
Business Leader recently sat down with Chris Proctor, the CEO of Oneserve – an Exeter-based software company. Their technology helps companies track their machinery and workforce, in order to prevent downtime and become more efficient.
Proctor claims that Oneserve’s technology is saving the UK economy over £180bn every year.
He explains how he moved from a councillor at Southampton County council to tech entrepreneur, as well as how the business has achieved rapid growth within the sector.
Can you give me an overview of the company?
Oneserve is a field service management company. We use technology to increase efficiency for our customers to enable them to provide the very best customer service.
We work across a variety of different industries including social housing, telecoms, utilities and manufacturing to name a few, each with a different goal. Our ultimate mission is to help our customers improve service delivery through efficiency while minimising costs.
How does your software help machinery and workforces work more efficiently?
Our software is completely cloud based. It uses the data collected from sensors that are built into devices such as iPads, computers or attached to machinery to track behaviour and increase efficiency.
Our technology can be applied to a variety of different sectors, for example, in workflow management, we empower businesses to have the knowledge to assign the most appropriate engineer for a job based on skill, location and requirements. For social housing organisations, our cloud-based software unites all processes, departments and people within one platform to source and understand any operation inefficiencies, reduce costs and improve productivity. As a result, all residents will experience a superior service when residing in social housing.
It is said that your tech is saving the economy £180bn – can you explain this?
Unplanned machine downtime costs the economy £180bn. By combining data collected from sensors and artificial intelligence, we can monitor machinery and alert firms when there is a potential equipment failure, to avoid unplanned machine downtime that can have detrimental effects for cash flow and reputation. As a result of harnessing Oneserve technology, our customers can take control of their workforce and machinery to ensure that they can have prime efficiency.
What are the company’s plans for the future?
Oneserve’s mission is to ensure that our clients provide the best customer service possible. We believe there is no excuse for providing a bad service to loyal customers and that the application of innovative technologies implemented in the best way will guide businesses in the right direction.
Our future plans are to continue to work with our customers who say that being ‘okay’ isn’t enough; ensuring that our technology is the best it can be, helping them effortlessly, be the best they can be, and in turn, ensuring that end consumers, you and I, receive the best that service can be.
We are also working with local governments and water companies in the fight against Legionella disease through the application of the Internet of Things. This is very exciting for Oneserve and the next step to ensure that technology can be used to help the public.
How do you rank the South West as a tech hub?
There are more than 10,900 tech companies across the South West and the economy in the region is now worth more than £127 billion; a figure which is rapidly growing thanks to significant investment.
We recently moved into the Sky Park, a £210m, 1m Square-foot development primely located to invite new and exciting technology companies to the area. The entrepreneurial potential coming out of the South West really is exciting.
Can you tell me about your move from councillor to tech CEO?
I, like many of us have a deep seeded desire to contribute to the world and society that we live within.
Standing for election was my way of contributing positively to my local community, however, as a young man at the time and completely new to politics (22 when elected), I was able to provide a differing viewpoint, challenge convention and call things out that didn’t make sense.
That desire to contribute has strengthened and matured over time. It provides belief, passion and commitment; all the things that make us successful. That passion has driven my approach to everything I’ve done and all the success I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy.
When I first met with Oneserve, it was easy to see their passion, and how they could actually change things for the better in a very tangible way. That’s a hugely intoxicating vision, and one I couldn’t wait to join and one I am hugely honoured to lead.
The dynamics are different, but in reality, there are many similarities to serving as a Councillor and a CEO; you need to be passionate, understand needs, views, and opinions; you need believe in what you’re doing and want to truly make a difference.
Can you tell me about the company’s growth and how you have achieved it?
We’ve grown extensively over the past three years, over 230%, and we’re pushing to really increase that over the coming years. Any CEO is only as good as their people and their product; in my case, I am lucky to have a very strong team and a very strong product to drive our growth.
However, in terms of how we’ve achieved that growth, there are five key areas of focus that have contributed most: passion, values, data, focus and clarity. We power in excess of 40m working hours and it’s great that we can go home each night knowing that we’ve helped drive positive service interactions; helping service operatives across the country have a better day and providing a service to end consumers that makes you, me and us, smile.