2019 Retrospective – Tom O’Connor, CEO

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again; to write this year’s ‘retrospective’. In last year’s blog post, I wrote about why 2018 was such a momentous year of progress and transformation for Version 1, and how it was only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of making a real difference for customers, building an empowering culture for employees and growing a strong organisation for the future.

So, where are we after another year has passed? Are we nearly done with our big plans for our customers, our people, and our strong organisation? The answer to this question is a resounding NO! As anyone working in Version 1 will tell you, the fact that another year’s work is done, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are any closer to ticking off our ‘to-do’ list.

The reason being – as soon as we achieve great success in one area, we can’t help but set our sights on surpassing what we did in the last quarter, or the last year! Growth is in the Version 1 DNA, that ‘Drive’ Core Value keeps pushing us on to achieve bigger and better outcomes for our customers and for ourselves.

There are exciting plans in progress for 2020, but before we kick off another New Year of goals, I would like to showcase the sheer amount of progress that our people managed to achieve for our customers, our business and our technology partners in 2019.


“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.”

In 2019, we had our highest customer NPS (Net Promoter Score) ever. What does this really mean? The NPS measures the willingness of customers to recommend Version 1’s services to others. Customer relationships are of critical importance to Version 1, and this is evidenced by the fact that our first customer (from 20 years ago!), is still our customer! Our rising NPS score means more than just ‘satisfied’ customers – it signifies true success for our business and tells us that our ‘Customer-First’ core value is being put to action for our customers. This achievement was further reinforced for us when Version 1 won the ‘CX Impact in Business IT & Technology’ award at the Irish CX Impact Awards 2019.

It’s difficult to cover all of our customers’ stories from 2019– but here are some of our top Customer highlights of the year:

  • Version 1 Delivers Successful Cloud Migration and Ongoing Managed Service for Cafcass. Read More
  • Version 1’s AWS Expertise Accelerates Optimus Cards’ Growth. Read More
  • DAE Capital Goes ‘Cloud First’ on Microsoft Azure. Read More
  • How CurrencyFair is Redefining Money Transfers with Cloud (AWS). Read More
  • Supporting Musgrave Group in the Modernisation of its Core Business Application. Read More

Another highlight of the year was when our customer Karl O’Connell from ICBF and John Bolger from Version 1 presented at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco to showcase that Ireland is currently running the largest livestock genomics project in the world. Following this presentation, the Oracle Blockchain-focused story was then covered by Forbes.com.

2 men and presentation

In this session, Karl O’ Connell and John Bolger explained to the audience how Oracle Blockchain is enabling traceability from farm to fork at ICBF, helping consumers identify the most sustainable agricultural products.


“You don’t build a business. You build people, and then people build the business.”

It goes without saying that our business is our people. We are under no illusion that the success delivered for our business and our customers wouldn’t be possible without our highly talented and diverse team of employees across the UK, Ireland and India.

Therefore, we worked hard this year to roll out changes that would empower our people and support them in their career progression:

  • We’ve trained 127 people now in the fundamentals of how we manage our business through the Strength in Balance programme, with many more to be taken on this journey in 2020

  • Our Employee Engagement scores remain at world-class levels, we were named a Top 10 Great Place to Work Europe, Top 20 in the UK of GPTW, and a UK Best Workplace in Tech
Our colleagues in Bangalore, India
  • We now have an excellent Service Delivery Centre in Bangalore that is delivering well for our customers
  • We refreshed the mission of our Community First programme in 2019. The mission of the scheme is: “to improve employment opportunities in our communities by leveraging technology and our skills.” We’ve had many great projects undertaken as part of Community First this year

Some highlights include:

  • Byte Night across our Belfast, Edinburgh and Manchester teams. Byte Night is the UK’s longest-running corporate sleep out, and now in its 22nd year, it has raised over £12 million for nationwide projects that prevent youth homelessness. Byte Night has a strong base of loyal supporters and participants from corporations and communities across the UK, that pull together teams to raise funds by spending one night sleeping on the streets
Byte Night across multiple Version 1 office locations
  • The ‘My World’ experience in our office in Knutsford, which is designed to give Primary School children an insight into the world of work in their area
  • The Version 1 team in Pune used their IT skills to teach local Community Link Workers basic computer skills, enabling those workers to better serve their own communities
  • The Redditch team hosted informative careers fairs and Women in IT talks

  • The Bangalore office was delighted to be able to sponsor the education of six children in a local orphanage for a year


Often, when we speak about Strong Organisation, there is an assumption that we are just talking about revenue or profitability.  However, at Version 1, we view our success as a high-performing and financially strong organisation as one that is in a position to empower more than 1,200 Version 1ers to serve 400+ customers across all industries. Strong financial performance for Version 1 ensures we have the strength, scale, and resources to invest in our employees’ development, our Innovation Labs, and the communities in which we operate to achieve our mission and to make a real difference for our customers.

  • We’ve achieved another year of growth across all parts of our business, UK and Ireland, making particular progress in growing our UK based Digital and Cloud practice, which has doubled in size since last year
  • Our Innovation Labs brought the ‘Art of Possible’ to 50 of our customers this year – sharing with them the possibilities for utilising Innovation such as Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation, Chatbots, and more

  • We’ve grown our BI business into a really exciting part of the business, and we have an even stronger Analytics capability following the acquisition and integration of Presidion, which has allowed us to extend our offerings into multiple other technologies
  • We launched our One Zero One podcast, featuring some of the leading technology experts and trailblazers in the UK & Ireland

  • We also launched our brand-new Medium site, to connect our network directly with the knowledge and experiences of our consultants, and our graduates

Looking Forward to 2020

As 2019 ends, and we move into another equally big year for Version 1, we would like to offer you our continued commitment to maintaining Strength in Balance alongside our continued success. I would like to thank every one of our people, our customers, our partners, our suppliers, the community initiatives and tech meetups and event organisers who have made 2019 such an enjoyable year for us. We have never reached such all-time highs in terms of Customer Success, Empowered People, and Strong Organisation before, but we won’t be resting on our laurels, we’ll be aiming to surpass it next year.

Thank you for helping us to make a difference in 2019.