"Content Guru powers front-line customer communications for hundreds of the world's largest and best-known organisations."
The cloud is transformational, enabling speed and scale that were undreamt of for most firms at the turn of the century. Used properly, it can lend users the flexibility to respond to changing market conditions, and the freedom to experiment with new ideas, products and tools.
Computing's Cloud Excellence Awards recognise the very best of the UK's cloud industry: from the most innovative and compelling products and vendors, through to the top use cases from end-user firms.
One of the finalists this year is Content Guru, in the running for the Cloud Data Management Solution of the Year.
We caught up with deputy CEO Martin Taylor to find out what makes his company different from other technology firms.
Martin is one of the Content Guru's co-founders. The company is a Bracknell-based cloud communications technology provider, employing 400 people around the world. Martin's responsibilities include product innovation, market development and Content Guru's healthcare and public sector practice.
A pioneer in cloud communications and real-time billing, Martin has been active in growing his business group since setting up his first company aged 22, alongside his brother, Sean. A regular guest lecturer on strategy and entrepreneurship at King's College London, his alma mater, Martin first started reading his father's copies of Computing in early childhood, initially believing the magazine was called 'Backbytes'.
Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.
Martin Taylor: Content Guru powers front-line customer communications for hundreds of the world's largest and best-known organisations. If you get in touch with the contact centre, or chat through the website, of a major business or government agency, then your call, chat, email or social media interaction will quite likely be processed, queued, routed or otherwise handled by a specialised communication service running within our cloud platform, which is called 'Storm'.
We have Storm platforms and businesses all over the world, from California to Tokyo. The UK is the second largest market for contact centres and, according to McKinsey, Content Guru is the number one cloud technology provider in it. Our customers include Europe's largest passenger volume airline, some of the country's biggest banks and insurers, five of Britain's six electricity supply companies, various major retailers, and police and ambulance 999, 101 and 111 call handling services.
CTG: What makes you different from other technology companies?
MT: At Content Guru we place a particularly strong emphasis on continuous innovation and improvement, ranging from weekly Kaizen goals in every department, to our rolling four-year R&D programme. The business was established by a group of tech-minded friends from university, and to this day almost all UK colleagues have a Russell Group degree background, with over 70% of us working in technical roles. The modal age of our team members is 25, much as it was at the beginning, and many senior managers first joined as new graduates. Content Guru's mix of highly intelligent people (from highly diverse backgrounds, I should add) with an intense technical focus, combining youthful energy with deep experience, gives us our edge. That and our hundreds of years of product development. Clients understand and value the intellectual horsepower Content Guru brings to the table when creating competitive advantage for them against their competitors in the vitally important battleground of customer experience.
CTG: What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?
MT: The NHS 111 Urgent Care service is something on which the whole country has come to depend since the pandemic. However, the quality of that service was patchy in different regions, largely because 111 providers all used different technology platforms, some of them antiquated and very few of them cloud-based. NHS England decided to 'level up' by moving all providers to a common cloud communications and integration solution that they call the Single Virtual Contact Centre (SVCC). I am particularly proud of the fact that Content Guru was selected to deliver the SVCC and of the way Content Guru's developers and clinicians came together to deliver this vitally important service and help improve the nation's urgent and emergency healthcare.
CTG: What are you working on this year?
MT: Artificial intelligence and intelligent automation in both communication and data services have been big themes in our R&D group for some time. This year we are seeing these technologies landing en masse amongst our customer base, including AI-powered chatbots for major government citizen-facing services, automated quality auditing of workplace performance in large-scale contact centres, and matural language processing helping some of the country's biggest police forces with their enquiries.
CTG: Why are events like the Cloud Excellence Awards important to the IT industry?
MT: Thousands of brilliant and remarkable people beaver away every day unseen in the IT industry. Whilst technology is 'cooler' than it has ever been, the cloud moniker has a tendency to de-personalise the effort and ingenuity that goes into creating amazing services that enrich all of our lives. The Cloud Excellence Awards are one of the few occasions when the people behind the cloud emerge from behind the ether and get to take a bow.