Helping a data science firm establish itself in the Midlands

Data science experts, Elastacloud, approached our Enscite team in 2016, looking for help to find new clients in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and beyond. Almost four years on, the business has grown by 500% and it’s secured a significant strategic partnership with a rail sector client.

Realising the potential of the Midlands

Elastacloud is a data science and cloud architecture consultancy, which specialises in unlocking the value of its clients’ data. Originally established in London in 2011, the firm set up a Derby office in 2016 to support a project with Rolls-Royce.

“This opened our eyes to the opportunity within the Midlands region,” said Elastacloud’s Head of Business Development, Gary Hunter. “We knew there was a buoyant transport industry, and a business contact suggested I talk to Enscite about how to break into this and other sectors.” 

Gary did approach Enscite and was offered very practical support: “We spent time talking about our business, our unique proposition and looking at our potential customers in the D2N2 area and nationwide,” he says. “They produced a report summarising our competitive advantage, aligning that to various vertical target markets along with an explanation as to why they should be the priorities.”

data on a screen

Breaking into rail

Enscite recommended joining some specific industry associations, such as the Rail Forum Midlands, so that Elastacloud employees could network with influencers in each target market. “Networking within these associations gave us a real business insight into how to position ourselves,” says Gary.

“This led to work quite quickly and now, several years on, we have a significant, strategic data partnership with Porterbrook, the major train leasing company. We are working with them on a wide range of data, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) projects.”

Collaborating with higher education

Following their work with Enscite, Elastacloud won a commission from the IT team at the University of Derby. This team wanted to use data from their Virtual Learning Environment to help them predict which students may be struggling with their courses and need further support.

“We helped the University employ predictive analytics and machine learning tools, in order to identify students requiring extra support,” explains Gary. “This allows them to help these students earlier, and hopefully reduce drop-out rates.”

Elastacloud is keen to continue working with universities and is in the process of setting up its own graduate training programme called ‘Elastagrads’. “We’re very excited about this programme. We want to take on computer science and maths graduates and train them to be data scientists and data engineers,” says Gary. “We are keen to work with the University of Derby on this, and other universities within the region.”

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Going from strength to strength

Since 2016, Elastacloud’s business has grown by 500%, and the number of staff in its Midlands office (now in Nottingham) has increased from one to 20. This growth has also enabled it to set up two subsidiaries; one in Spain and one in the USA.

As well as Porterbrook and the University of Derby, the company has won business with new clients such as Next plc, the National Express Group, and J. Murphy & Sons Limited — a big name in rail construction.

“We would strongly recommend businesses seek the support of Enscite,” says Gary. “The process was quick and efficient. We did not have to spend long on it and the networking and the business it has generated has been a resounding success.”

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