Chris Sigley, Redstor Holdings, Export Champion Interview | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

Chris Sigley, Redstor Holdings, Export Champion Interview


Chris Sigley, Sales Director

In a nutshell, what is exactly is Redstor data management technology?
The Redstor Pro data management platform offers a flexible Software as a Service (SaaS) providing backup, disaster recovery and archiving of data sitting on multiple systems, from cloud applications, laptops to desktops and servers- based either in-house, at the customer’s site, a 3rd party data center or on cloud platforms. The technology is built to scale, and supports organization with data volumes from 10GB to 1PB.

What is the key thing that makes your business unique against your strongest competitors both home and abroad?
We have built a platform from the ground up to meet our vision of managing and securing our customer data, whenever, wherever it is stored, all from one place. We have converged Backup, DR and Archiving into one solution for SME companies which is what the market demands. Our platform is cloud ready, partner friendly and through our multi-tenanted architecture, is scalable with the ability to cope with exponentially growing data volumes. We have a strong focus on providing service and as such we are true Software as a Service (SaaS) Data Management company.

How did the idea for your business come about?
We believed there was a real need for a company which specialised in Information Protection and was consultative in approach and service led. At the time, we felt many companies were being oversold by “tin shifters”, who were concerned with selling data management tools as opposed to understanding what the customer truly needed and thereby tailoring a solution to match. Our approach enabled us to grow rapidly as we built tremendous relationships built on trust and understanding.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
I prefer to call them challenges! In the early days, the challenge was financial; it was hard getting customers to trust a small company. As we evolved, it was finding and retaining the right staff to help deliver our growth and constantly refining our business model to adapt and anticipate changes in the market. Throughout all the years since 1998, we have constantly strived to create services which makes our customers’ lives simpler and easier whilst delivering peace of mind.

Another challenge was building services which are scalable and repeatable and creating recurring relationships with our customers. In Version 1, we were essentially an integrator, with Version 2 we evolved into a Cloud Distributor and in Version 3 we acquired our own IP and are now a fully-fledged International Data Management Software as a Service business (SaaS) with a full subscription model.

With Version 3 we have the challenge of accelerating our growth to fulfil customer demand and building an international team able to manage the growth and build systems and processes which are scalable and safe to address what we consider to be a vast market, namely data management.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
I think that our challenge for trade and export will be understanding the local markets and the business/market segments within it.

As a relatively small organisation (with big ideas) that operates in a vast and fast-growing market there are many, many opportunities for us, especially due to the technical strength and flexibility of our technology. Every organisation needs to manage, protect and backup its data – we protect all shapes and sizes of business, from large multinational enterprises through to small primary schools.

As a result, our challenge is to make sure that we operate in a focused way, to utilise our limited resources in the most productive way, in relevant opportunities for the best returns – ensuring that we deliver the best experience to our end-user customers and partners.

Language and compliance/regulations are also challenges that we need to be aware of.

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business? 
The most significant ‘thing’ we’ve done was acquiring the Attix5 data management technology in late 2015, which is now known as Redstor Backup Pro. As owners and developers of the Intellectual Property (IP) we are now able to build a technology that can address the vast market of Data Management and Security.

We have always put our customers first; our customers’ feedback helps us to drive the technology and business forward.

We have established solid cornerstones within the business, with good leaders in the sales, finance, operations and development teams of our business. In addition to this, we have also set the business up with systems/foundations that can enable us to scale exponentially. We have built a stable, motivated and high-performing sales and service team in line with our mantra of being a service led company with a “face behind the cloud” our customers can rely upon to give them peace of mind.

How will the General Data Protection Regulation affect SMEs?
GDPR will affect businesses of all sizes, not just SMEs. The new legislation will have a wide-ranging effect on all aspects of businesses data regardless of what form it is in. Businesses of all sizes will need to prepare for GDPR and be able to demonstrate compliance. One of the main differences between GDPR and the Data Protection Act (DPA), the previous data legislation, is the transparency that businesses will need to provide to the enforcing authority. In the UK, this is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
We heard about the programme from email communication.

We applied because we are a leading independent data management SaaS business, with a growing and vast market opportunity – across the globe. We have very good, solid and reliable technology, scalable platforms and a strong financial profile.

Despite our operations in South Africa and a few customers in Canada, Europe and Africa; to date we have limited experience and exposure in international business and believe that CWF will be a great way to showcase our technology and business to the Commonwealth.

What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
As a fast-growing and ambitious international Software as a Service (SaaS) that specialises in Data Management and Protection. We operate in in a fast-growing and dynamic industry – today, our innovative technology focuses on a core of Data Backup and Recovery, Archiving and Disaster Recovery.

With the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, something that will affect any organisation trading with/in the UK and EU, we are working to provide customers with better insight into their data with detection and policy driven archiving of data, encouraging our customers to leading the way in data protection and compliance. In addition to this, we provide access to an online platform that enables organisations to understand their GDPR responsibilities, as well as providing useful tools and documents that can help organisations become and demonstrate compliance.

By being part of such a well-regarded programme and having access to the international support and experience that CWF can provide during this journey we believe that it will help us successfully trade and invest across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the CWF is a great initiative to help us promote Redstor and our technology on a global stage.

What is a typical working day for you?
A typical working for me would have me in the gym before work, most days of the week, and then I will be available/online from around 7am, in the office by about 8am. I will often be back online again a few evenings per week.

Days are spent working with staff in the UK and South Africa, coaching staff and driving and encouraging high-performance. Time is often spent working with sales people on end-user and channel partner engagements, either through face-to-face or online meetings encouraging growth in ours, and our partners, businesses, whilst ensuring we deliver the best possible solution to our end users.

Time is also spent reviewing the business units and the evidence and statistics that help to underpin our decisions, which therefore enables us to create plans and strategies to continue our growth.

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years’ time, Redstor will be a world class Data Management SaaS business to the SME space and we will be realizing our vision to manage and secure all our customers’ data wherever, whenever, forever all from one place. We will have expanded internationally and will have Data Management Points of presence in the US, Middle East, Far East, Latin America and Australasia. We will have quadrupled our revenue.

What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
Long term vision and plan – think about what you want the business to look like in a few years’ time and establish teams, people and processes with the future in mind.
Lay foundations –whether that’s systems and processes or KPIs, or ensuring that you establish the culture and the expectations that you and the business have for fellow employees.
Recruit well – you need good people to grow. if any doubts about someone’s capabilities don’t recruit, take your time and wait for the best person.

View Redstor Holding’s CWF Profile

This interview was conducted as part of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champion interview series. Apply now to become an Export Champion.


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