‘An exit doesn’t form any part of my definition of what success looks like’
BELFAST TELEGRAPH INTERVIEW: 15/11/2022
Terry Moore founded Outsource Group 22 years ago, and his ambitions haven’t dimmed over those two decades. A sale of the business definitely isn’t on the cards.
The managed IT services and security provider has 70 staff and is on course to employ 100 people. Last year it acquired cyber-security provider ANSEC IA.
This year, it secured three new contracts for its OSG Cloud business from transport, homeware and hospitality companies, and announced the appointment of Novosco co-founder Patrick McAliskey as chairman.
Terry says: “My aim is to grow Outsource to be the number one managed services and security provider in Northern Ireland.
“To me, that probably means sticking at it and getting the job done, and not going for an exit.
“I have an image in my head of what success looks like and exit doesn’t form any part of that definition.
“The group is at about £10m in revenue and our aim will be to push out, maybe moving to £40m.”
Another big headache, that’s particularly acute for tech and IT, is the dilemma over whether to coax or even force your staff back into the office.
Terry thinks the best approach is a middle of the road one. A bit of the office can do us good, he maintains. “Somebody explained it to me yesterday as, on the one hand you give your kids medicine, they don’t want it and you don’t want to have it give it to them, but everybody will feel a lot better once they take it.”
The issue of working from home has been a bugbear for new Twitter owner Elon Musk. He banned remote working, not long after sacking half his workforce.
“There’s a lot of upheaval and everyone is trying to interpret the upheaval in their own way so the story suits their own agenda,” Terry says.
“I would say that certainly there’s been a far amount of fat built into that industry over the years and it certainly feels like job losses were always coming.
“The size and economics of some of those businesses doesn’t seem to stack up unless they can continue to fuel continuous, stellar growth, and that doesn’t seem as if it was ever likely.
“But they’ll maybe confound us all and reset and go again.”
He thinks there are big questions for the industry over remote working. “There’s the idea that you just make it okay to never work in the office again, then there’s the Elon Musk approach that if you want to work from home, you work somewhere else.
“There are two extremes, and the best approach is probably somewhere in the middle.”
His own business, which includes ANSEC IA after acquiring the cyber-security specialist last year, has a routine of getting people in on ‘core days’. “It’s trying to create moments where groups of people can get together so that we get that overused word, ‘synergy’.
“It’s very hard to achieve that when people aren’t rubbing off each other and getting those wee interactions that produce something that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.
“I wouldn’t say we’re forcing it or taking a really heavy hand, but we’re trying to say that there are loads of benefits to being around each other.
“One of our best people has worked in Scotland from the day we hired him. He’s been in our building in Antrim about 10 times in the last four years. But we do have a number of roles where it’s just impossible not to come into the office, and with those, we have to say, remote won’t work.”
The company last month took its workforce on a teambuilding weekend in Spain, involving watersports and socialising. “No matter what they say, people want to be together again.