PBM speaks to Managing Director George Troullis.
Blue Rock Systems is an Enterprise Resource Planning software provider that offers a comprehensive portfolio of IT and hardware services to the merchant sector. Specialising in providing a complete service to its customers including software, hardware and support, the last couple of years has seen its hardware department expand to include services such as cloud hosting.
Last year Blue Rock celebrated its 10th anniversary, with merchants remaining as one of its core vertical markets. The company’s mission is not only to keep up to date with modern technology, delivering on a motto of “profit through innovation”, but also to assist merchants in getting the most out of their ERP software solutions.
What is your background in the sector?
It’s been a long road to get to Blue Rock. In 1979 I started out as a junior programmer at Gresham Business Computers and progressed into support and project management. In 1986 I bought equity in the company and started to manage the software division which continued until 1996 when I became the sole shareholder of the business.
As the company expanded and grew out of the South of England we joined the Xavier group of companies, which was an independent group of companies working as a co-operative. In 2000 the company was sold to XKO Group, a PLC. I remained as an employee, becoming Managing Director, before breaking away five years later to form Blue Rock Systems.
How do you feel the IT sector has changed?
The majority of changes have been within the software element of the industry. When we first started, customers bought hardware and were given the software alongside it — now software is the majority of the cost and hardware is not the main focus. In recent years the internet and cloud hosting has become a substantial element within our offerings, with the move away from on premise services gaining momentum.
My last 35 years have been focused on the merchant industry and the developments within that time have been significant. The development of electronic links has changed the front desks of merchants considerably over the years, with features such as proof of delivery and digital signature capture becoming more prominent on the wish lists for ERP software systems.
What are the current challenges you face?
The challenges in our industry are mostly caused by the changes that have occurred over the last few years. We’ve seen an increased cost in software alongside a reduction in hardware margins and it has effected how we do business.
As the merchant market evolves to a more browser-based front end we have changed the way we present and promote our business. E-commerce websites used to just be something that was nice to have alongside the bricks and mortar presence, whereas now it is a necessity for competitive businesses.
As the industry has evolved we’ve changed from an on premise solution provider to an online hosting environment, and there have been quite a few changes needed to facilitate that.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
It has to be starting Blue Rock Systems in 2005 and growing it to a three branch, £4.5million turnover business.
Originally appeared on Professional Builders Merchant