By his own admission, Ben Gower, CEO at Perspicuity, is, “not that interested in IT, but likes shiny things”.
Ben spent some of his teenage years writing applications for his Oric home computer, and a disproportionate amount of his primary school time trying to perfect the art of perpetual motion using sellotape, a fairy liquid bottle (as a water tower) and criminal amounts of balsa wood, the winter lunch hours flew by. Both programming and perpetual motion sadly defeated him, however, the logical, impatient and fiercely practical mind was up and running.
Ben got to work young, helping his uncle’s business convert customer records from Microfiche onto a PC database. Soon after, he began a career with Atos Origin, where he worked through from Technical Support to Consultant in the Workflow and Document Management Division. After 6 years at Atos Origin he moved into a European role in Xerox building a shared services centre in Dublin.
Working for these huge companies was eye-opening: Ben learned the intricacies of how companies operated at a transactional level, understood how people, process and technology worked together, and more importantly, how they didn’t.
At Xerox Ben was constantly seeking to improve the way that software services were delivered. Back then, to Ben, it seemed too cumbersome, slow, risky and expensive to take an idea from someone and use technology to build a better business.
Thus in 2002 Ben took the opportunity to start Perspicuity – a company that spoke clearly to its customers, built complex and sophisticated things and presented them simply.
First, Ben changed the standard business model: Perspicuity allowed customers to buy services in a way that was convenient for them, essentially building a services model, much like the cloud model that followed some years later.
“Customers liked the services approach we’d built but when the Microsoft Cloud launched in 2009, it all clicked into place: the customer could have the technical services from Microsoft, and the software and consulting services from Perspicuity, all for a monthly fee based on the number of users and their appetite for change.”
Perspicuity’s focus for the past five years has been on our people, and in Ben’s words, “We implemented our successful apprenticeship programme in late 2010 because we found the unwinding of training and retraining of traditional technical staff and graduates oftentimes a demotivating time waster. Now in its fifth wave, our original apprentices are astonishingly talented, experienced and skilled cloud sales people, technicians and marketers. We have also had to more recently bring in more senior people in order to meet demand and drive innovation”
And Perspicuity has stood the test of time. As Ben says, “We keep customers for years, which is something I am hugely proud of because it demonstrates how much value our customers see in us. In addition, recent rapid growth evidences the success of our people-focused enterprise”.
Outside of work, Ben combines his interests of seeking the (so far) elusive prize of trying to achieve a sub-25 minute Parkrun, rediscovering his mountain biking skills, playing regular 5-a-side footie and spending time with his family, not least of all his 4 busy children. In fact, he recently stumbled upon his son “building a perpetual motion machine, I think it’s possible with frictionless bearings dad…”
Microsoft have recognised Ben’s contribution in the industry. Following an exceptional year of Office 365 sales, Microsoft invited Ben as a guest speaker on their US road shows in 2014: the series was so successful they continued to roll them out on an international level – and haven’t stopped since.
Today, Ben works extensively with Microsoft. He speaks at Microsoft events in Australia, the USA, Europe, and the Middle East, and regularly blogs on the MS website, offering expert advice and teaching other businesses how to offer the same level of service that Perspicuity does.