After a period of significant growth, the Dotmatics team is delighted to be recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Her Majesty The Queen personally approves the winners of the Queen’s Awards, which are announced today by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The awards are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses, and celebrate business excellence across the UK. Dotmatics has been chosen for the award by demonstrating outstanding success in international trade, through its continuous expansion into international markets.
Dotmatics’ Board Director, Steve Powell, and Board Director, Ashok Bhat, sits down with Director and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Gallagher, and Director and Chief Technical Officer, Alastair Hill, to discuss what the Queen’s Award means to them and what plans they have for future success.
What does winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth mean to you?
We are thrilled to be honoured with this Queen’s Award. We have worked hard on international trade since the company’s inception and saw it as a necessity for Dotmatics’ success right from the beginning.
The award citation mentions the impressive growth in overseas sales throughout the last six years as a factor in the win – what do you put this growth down to?
Firstly, we have always seen international trade as important – as soon as we achieve any sales in an overseas territory, we look to establish an office there. We set these offices up so that they can work almost independently, with some guidance from the central office in Bishop’s Stortford. Secondly, we took risks early on by hiring as many good people as we could find overseas, with UK staff frequently flying around the globe to support them.
You have opened offices globally which will have played a role in your expansion – do you have any other tips for UK companies looking to do business internationally?
The biggest tip is to hire as soon as you can, and to keep hiring. The turnover will be high to start with until you get a nucleus of people in the same place, so be patient and just keep hiring the best people you can. You can support those people remotely from HQ to start, but you really have to establish that core for it to be self-sustainable.
Your product offering and your geographical location means you are well placed to be part of the UK biotech industry, how does such an exciting and growing field help Dotmatics as a business?
The opportunity to collaborate is one of the biggest benefits to being part of the UK’s thriving life sciences industry. We have great market coverage in the UK which has allowed us to work with some amazing biotech, pharma and academic groups to build our product offering. We are also very grateful to the many organisations under the Cancer Research UK umbrella which have especially helped guide the development of some of our products. Additionally, we’ve been able to tap into the rich seam of talent and skills in the country, which helps us innovate and grow even faster.
Dotmatics partners with several organisations and is a big believer in collaboration – how does collaboration contribute to Dotmatics’ growth, as well as moves the whole industry forward?
We have always collaborated and worked closely with our customers from the very start – we treat them as an extended team, and they treat us in the same way. We also take a unique approach that builds all functionality into our tools as configuration options, so that any work we do for a specific customer is immediately available for all customers to use. Our customers understand this and are always willing to collaborate with us to meet their own goals, but also for the benefit of the whole industry.
Dotmatics has been a pioneer in cloud solutions since its inception – are you starting to see organisations overcome reservations about cloud? How has this helped Dotmatics grow?
Early on, it was only smaller customers and CROs that were willing to look at cloud, whereas now, more than 80 percent of new customers go straight to our cloud. We have established a strong reputation for data security and integrity that gives all customers peace of mind and makes cloud a safe choice. Customers see our cloud as adding a lot more value than simply making the solution easier to deploy – because we maintain the backups, updates and security, amongst other factors, it allows them to concentrate on their science, while also reducing their costs.
Why is Dotmatics so well placed to help global organisations of all sizes?
Our experience is a huge factor – we’ve worked with companies of all sizes, across multiple geographies simultaneously, and with hundreds of such customers, you have seen and tried all combinations of ideas. You get to build up a level of expertise in database design and configuration which means we can offer so much more than just a software product. Our customers see us as the experts in how these products should be designed, used and integrated with other systems.
What areas of science and research do you think will be the ‘hottest’ prospects in the next three to five years, and how will you support R&D in these areas?
There are numerous emerging areas and technology means that science and research is changing all the time. For us, we see two particularly large areas of growth across the industry – biologics, and chemicals and materials. We are heavily invested in continuing to build out our offerings in both of these areas, and have developed ground-breaking tools that will help to meet the needs of our current and new customers.
Finally, what are you most looking forward to about the Buckingham Palace Reception for winners later in the year?
We’re looking forward to meeting the Prince of Wales, and also mingling with all the other great British companies at the event.