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The fastest growing companies of the future will be embracing “Industry 4.0”, says Ward Hadaway

Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, effectively refers to the application of advanced digital technologies to improve manufacturing processes, supply chains and service delivery.

Gareth Yates of Ward Hadaway, centre, with Stuart Bullock, of BJSS, left, and Tim Mercer of VapourCloud.

Gareth Yates, Commercial Partner at Ward Hadaway in Leeds said fast-growing business owners are increasingly looking at what advances in technology can bring to their organisations in order to remain competitive and grow their market share regionally, nationally and internationally.

He said: “Advances in technology over the last 20 years have provided great opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations, become more efficient and to interrogate data to deliver products and services that their customers want.

“However these advances cause challenges for businesses as they need to keep on top of technological developments such as Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing and Big Data, but at the same time invest in technologies that improve their bottom-line and integrate them into their existing processes.

“This all takes time, effort and money – often without any guarantee of success – but without investing these resources the risk is that you become less efficient, more expensive and open to attack from faster-moving competitors.

“As we place greater reliance on technology to improve and operate our businesses it is essential that the procedures and contractual relationships that underpin these technologies are fit for purpose.

“As more personal data is shared actively and passively by IT systems, a growing area for businesses of all sizes is data security and resilience. This is needed to ensure businesses are complying with their legal obligations when handling data and to ensure they can continue to operate with minimum interruption if their security is breached.

“Over the last 12 months we have seen a marked increase in customers (be they consumers or businesses) conducting in-depth due diligence on potential suppliers before doing business with them, so it is essential that your systems reflect what the market expects to see.”

His comments come as the build-up continues to the Yorkshire Fastest 50, the annual run-down of the fastest-growing privately owned companies in Yorkshire which Ward Hadaway sponsors and organises in association with The Yorkshire Post.

One of the Fastest 50 companies in the list is BJSS, a privately-owned IT and business consultancy and winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Stuart Bullock, Managing Director of BJSS, aims to ensure that his team doesn’t lose out in what’s been dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

He said: “Innovation requires close collaboration between teams – both internally and externally. This is why Industry 4.0 is so exciting. It drives collaboration between people of all backgrounds and levels ― from technical professionals to commercial executives – to find new and rewarding ways to use this technology and build a 21st century workforce of Conversational Designers, Machine Learning Engineers, and Data Strategists.”

A technology company that is also active in this area is Vapour Cloud. The business is a cloud-first digital transformation specialist delivering secure voice, video, network and storage solutions to UK-wide organisations large and small.

Interestingly, once clients and partners understand that the complex data security landscape can be easily navigated, they have been keen to approach and engage with Vapour to understand how they may embrace change within their businesses, explains CEO Tim Mercer.

“For too long, businesses – especially at the smaller end of the market – have been afraid of digital transformation. Much of this stems from budget concerns and also in part, the ‘smoke and mirrors’ commentary that exists in the world of tech.

“But as more straight-talking, genuine technology specialists become known throughout the UK, you naturally find organisations of all shapes and sizes saying things like, “so I could do this with the Internet of Things?” or “You could really help me do XYZ with a unified communication solution?

“When they open their mind to what’s possible – armed with the support of a partner who really can empower industry 4.0 – the opportunities to improve efficiencies, customer satisfaction, staff engagement, business scalability, revenue growth, and profitability, are vast.

“So, while the tech headlines have been dominated by topics of cybercrime, data security and GDPR compliance, these topics are simply the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to what the region’s savvy businesses have been thinking about from a transformation perspective.”

Gareth added: “There have never been more opportunities for business owners and suppliers to engage and embrace new technologies and ways of working. Those companies who adopt a forward-thinking and innovative outlook will ensure they safeguard their businesses and will be the fastest growing companies of the future.”

The Yorkshire Fastest 50 2019 takes place at Aspire in Leeds on Friday, 22nd March.

The Yorkshire Fastest 50 2019 list is compiled using publicly available financial data from Companies House.

By the independent analysis of company financial figures, the Ward Hadaway Yorkshire Fastest 50 identifies the privately-owned, profit-making companies which have seen the biggest annual expansion in their turnover in recent years.

This process will create a definitive list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in Yorkshire which will be published in March.

Then on March 22 at a special event at Aspire, awards will be handed out to the fastest-growing small, medium-sized and large businesses, for companies with annual turnover of between £1m and £7.5m, between £7.5m and £25m and turnover of more than £25m respectively.

One of those three winners will then receive the accolade of being crowned Yorkshire’s overall fastest growing business for 2019.

This is the ninth time that the Ward Hadaway Yorkshire Fastest 50 has taken place, and the event has become a firm fixture in the region’s business calendar.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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