M4 Systems

Origins

Gary Clarke, one of the founders of the company, was a finance director of a 200 person company in Bedwas in the late 1990s. During this time, he selected and was involved with the implementation of the Dynamics ERP software into that organisation. He was very pleased with the software choice but not with the services received from the implementation partner. Gary quickly realised that whilst Dynamics was superb software, there was a lack of quality partners in the UK at that time that could assist with Dynamics implementations and provide adequate ongoing support. M4 was therefore founded with the aim of providing quality services to deliver solutions based upon Dynamics and to provide outstanding ongoing support.

Our main challenges when starting the business

The major initial challenges were a lack of capital and selling sophisticated critical systems with a long sales cycle (6 to 18 months - i.e. classic chicken and egg scenario). To quote Gary "Looking back, It’s remarkable that we managed to sell such systems initially without any existing customer references. We believe our success was based upon our pure enthusiasm for the technology, together with credibility derived from our deep knowledge of the systems themselves."

Success Factor

A number of factors have contributed to M4 Systems’ success. The company offers excellent support of a higher standard than most of its competitors and has been able to attract and retain exceptional talent even as new company. M4 now prides itself on having a wide variety of skills within the company including Qualified Accountants, Software developers, Network engineers, Project Managers and a highly experienced Support and Consulting team. Finally, the company takes a long term view and is always striving to maintain a good relationship based upon fairness and doing what's best for the customer.

The Future

M4 has managed to survive and grow throughout a severe IT industry recession immediately following the company’s inception and the more recent credit crunch in 2008 which caused customers to delay large capital outlays. However, technology has continued its march on with rapid progress, Microsoft has continued to spend $8bn p.a. in Research and Development therefore the company remains very optimistic that there is huge pent up demand for this technology. There are many opportunities to provide services to help customers deploy these technologies and with Software as a Service (SaaS), where the company can deliver the latest capabilities via a flexible, low risk, fast to deploy mechanism. M4 Systems plan to expand significantly in 2011 creating more jobs in its support and service centre in South Wales and are currently developing financing plans for this.