RDS Global Ltd

Support to create a development function within the business, leading to new product creation and subsequent turnover increase.

RDS Global Ltd, based in Derby, was established in 1997 and initially provided traditional IT services, predominantly in the automotive sector.

A management buy-out in November 2013 provided RDS with the opportunity and investment to grow its customer base. Specifically, this included the potential to develop a wider range of products, services and technologies to address changing market needs. This led to a focus upon growing the business’ skillset in order to provide integrated global solutions.

Why engage with Invest to Grow?

To help achieve its aim of developing a wider range of products and services, RDS Global sought funding from Invest to Grow. Initially, in 2015, £224,400 was awarded by Invest to Grow to enable the development of an integrated fleet management system. The funding was primarily used by RDS Global to purchase new premises to facilitate the system’s development, leading to an initial six jobs being created.

In 2017 RDS Global again applied for Invest to Grow funding and was subsequently awarded £58,875 towards the development of a cyber audit portal which enabled clients to self-assess compliance with the government’s Cyber Essentials Certification and also the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The business recognised the importance of the portal given the increasing threat to businesses of cyber-attacks and breaches, and an increasing focus by government to regulate this. In order to develop the portal, RDS Global needed to recruit a series of development staff and technical experts.


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What has been the impact of Invest to Grow?

The immediate impact from the Invest to Grow Funding received in 2017 was enabling RDS Global to recruit five new members of staff, therefore creating an in-house development team. Following recruitment of this team, the business was able to develop and subsequently launch its new cyber audit portal in the first quarter of 2018/19.

The portal not only enables online assessment for users regarding their compliance with Cyber Essentials and GDPR, but also provides the opportunity for individual staff to access specific training. This is enabled via RDS Global’s online module, which was developed as part of the portal. In addition to providing support to businesses, the portal and online course have also been utilised by schools and universities, which have included it as part of their training modules.

Andy Flinn, CEO of RDS Global, referred to the success of the portal, stating that it remains in use on a daily basis. It has also enabled the business to launch itself within a new market and has simultaneously created a new customer base which RDS Global has subsequently engaged with regarding other products. This has led to positive economic impacts for the business, with Andy Flinn commenting:

“This project launched the growth of the business, which went from £2.8m before development of the cyber portal to close to £4m at the end of 2019.”

Since the creation of the cyber portal, the new development team has become fully embedded within the business. This has provided RDS Global with a retained in-house development team, enabling the ongoing development of new products and solutions. Andy Flinn commented how this has fundamentally changed the focus of the business:

“Invest to Grow enabled us to create our own in-house development team. This has helped to transform the business from a traditional IT service provider to one which can provide a range of integrated solutions and products. We are continuing to develop products as a result.”

Andy Flinn referred to engagement with Invest to Grow as a positive experience, and stated that this had led to a more extensive and ongoing relationship with the University of Derby. Specifically, this has included commencing a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University and developing a work placement programme providing internship opportunities for students. Andy Flinn commented:

“Working with Invest to Grow has broadened our knowledge of the University and how we can engage with it. It has been a really good experience working with Nic and the team, which has led to us developing a broader relationship with the University in other areas.”

In addition to the KTP and the placement programme, RDS Global also received support from the University’s Enscite Project, including guidance on how to market its new product.

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