Ryland Technology Ltd.

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ryland Technology Ltd.'s best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ryland Technology Ltd. is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.ryltech.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
56 | RYLAND TECHNOLOGY
Based in High Wycombe, Ryland
is ideally located for clients in
London, the M4/M40 corridors
and beyond
Ryland Technology’s office
in Buckinghamshire
High Wycombe-based Ryland Technology Ltd provides
custom-built software services, taking on complicated and
diverse development work that client companies do not
have the expertise to do themselves. As an IT company founded in
1990 they preceded the launch of the worldwide web. Through
a policy of training and investment in new technology they have
moved with the times, taking advantage of new trends and
development techniques in the three decades since. As a result,
Ryland make an excellent and stable choice for clients looking
to tie together the various digital elements of their business.
Managing director Patrick Heighes here discusses the inception of
his company, how they have fared in a digital revolution, and the
values and skills that will see them endure any challenges to come.
Values
What distinguishes us from other software houses is the fact that we focus
primarily on custom development – we do not sell a product, we sell a service. Our
clients have complete authority over the systems we develop for them as opposed
to us retaining software ownership. Ryland Technology is open and honest when
it comes to discussing costs and what the client receives for their investment; we
have confidence in the quality of the service we offer, and the value for money it
represents. This is engendered in our policy of industry openness – we’re happy
for our clients to use specification documents we have written as the basis for
obtaining tenders from other companies.
FACTS ABOUT
RYLAND TECHNOLOGY
»Managing director: Patrick
Heighes
»Established in 1990
»Based in High Wycombe,
Buckinghamshire
»Services: Custom software
development for all industries
and sectors
»No. of employees: 10
»60 clients in a financial year,
10 major long-term clients
Ryland Technology
57RYLAND TECHNOLOGY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
What we do
We develop contracted customised
web applications tying together
multiple elements of IT software and/or
hardware. As an example, we developed
systems for a car service company
having been subcontracted to provide
both the back-end administration
system and the mobile app used by
individual branches. The mobile app is
used to book cars in for a service while
at the same time updating the head
office system that stores all customer
information across all branches.
Meanwhile a web-based application,
used by the head office, accesses this
data and is used to view summary data
of the various branches and provide
top-level management reports.
Another example is a client for whom
we developed a uniform management
system. The system utilises RFID
technology, with microchips sewn into
uniform garments. We were required
to interface with large uniform
dispensing machines as well as RFID
scanners that track the uniforms
through their use cycle, and record
movements in a central database.
The system allows administration
of the uniform inventory and the
employees to whom they are assigned,
including interfacing with HR systems.
Anextensive reporting engine allows
crucial analysis of inventory to maintain
stocks and identify savings.
Our customers
Ryland has a wide and varied customer
base built up since its inception
in 1990. Customer satisfaction
and retention is a key ethos of the
company which has led to several
long-term clients who have used our
services over many years. For example,
the client to whom we supplied the
uniform management system has been
with us for over ten years and the
client in the car service industry has
been with us for nearly twenty.
Growing the business
At Ryland Technology’s inception, I
was the only member of the business.
We have grown steadily year after year
and are now a team of ten. This small
size enables us to give a personalised
service to our clients. Our reputation
has predominantly spread through the
word-of-mouth recommendation of
satisfied customers.
Recruitment challenges
Our greatest challenge has been with
recruitment – we work and provide a
specialised value-for-money service,
and we struggle to recruit people who
can do this job to the quality we expect
and promise. The ideal employee
would have to think outside of the
box, communicate well with a client
and be able to delve into the technical
intricacies of leading-edge systems that
are often not well supported – this is
a combination the average developer
often struggles with.
At a macro level, going forwards,
I want to see significantly more
investment in the teaching of the
computer sciences in school and
university, which would lead to greater
numbers of high-quality candidates
coming through into the workplace.
Incorporating computer science into
Ryland’s experienced,
UK-based developers
build long-term
relationships with clients
What
distinguishes
us from other
software
houses is the
fact that we
focus primarily
on custom
development
– we do not
sell a product,
we sell a
service
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
58 | RYLAND TECHNOLOGY
other subjects and involving the
industry at an early stage to provide
real-world experience would give the
UK a well-rounded computer science
resource. This would help improve
automation in many areas and as a
result help to improve the productivity
of the UK economy.
Three pieces of legislation
Over the years Ryland has witnessed
many positive developments in
legislation and policies affecting our
industry. But there is often a cost to
these changes, with small businesses
disproportionately impacted by
increased administrative burden.
There are three pieces of legislation
in particular that will continue to
affectus.
Firstly, pension auto-enrolment means
that employees must either contribute
to a pension or make an active decision
not to. While this has the positive
outcome of ensuring that employees
are thinking about their future pension
needs, it also imposes an extra cost
and administrative burden on small
companies.
Secondly, Making Tax Digital
includes the requirement to
report accounts more frequently.
Thisensures that the government
receives tax revenues more quickly,
but it also reduces cash flow and
imposes an additional accountancy
cost and administrativeburden on
smallbusinesses.
Thirdly, and finally, the new General
Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
helps to ensure that personal data
is protected and traceable within
organisations. This has had a big
impact on our clients, with the
new regulation forcing clients to
reassess data security, control and
processing to avoid potentially
big penalties if they are not GDPR
compliant. Whilethese are important
protections for consumers, for
many small businesses it has been
a confusing and time-consuming
exercise to revalidate systems and
processes that are essentially already
compliant. Consequently, Ryland has
experienced an administrative cost
fielding questions from clients on
GDPR issues, as well as ensuring GDPR
complianceourselves.
As a long-established technology
company, Ryland is well placed to
implement the necessary changes, but
I think it’s critically important that the
impact on small businesses is given due
consideration when legislation like this
is drafted.
Future aspirations
Going forward I would like to continue
to grow the company organically
by investing further in people and
technology and keeping abreast of the
latest innovations.
The key strength of Ryland Technology
is its longevity and the skills and
experience of its employees. We
want to build on that. We are well
established, and, with the financial
stability to invest for the future, we’re
confident in our current direction.
The key
strength of
Ryland
Technology is
its longevity
and the skills
and
experience of
its employees
Ryland develops custom
applications joining up
multiple elements of
hardware and software

www.ryltech.com

This article was sponsored by Ryland Technology Ltd.. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy