Neil Nicolson is chief executive and co-founder of Systal Technology Solutions, which provides managed network, cloud, and security services to enterprise businesses across more than 3,500 sites in 93 countries.

Set up in 2008, the company has grown from just 80 employees in 2018 to more than 1,000 people serving global clients such Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Scottish Power and WPP. Earlier this year Systal officially opened its US headquarters in Florida as it seeks to buck the "low-cost offshore model" adopted by many within the industry.

Where are your operations, and how many people do you employ?

We are headquartered in Glasgow, with legal entities and delivery headquarters across 35 countries. We employ around 1,000 people globally.

Who owns the business, and how has it been financed to date?

The business is majority owned by the founders - myself, chief revenue officer Douglas Cumming, and chief operating officer Gary O’Neil. To provide financial credibility and support to enable the business to scale globally, private equity investor Inflexion Group acquired a minority stake in March 2021. This also allowed us to distribute shareholding across the wider business.

What is Systal’s annual turnover?

Our latest published accounts for 2022 showed revenues of £74.8 million, with year-on-year turnover increasing by 77%.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

We believed a gap in the market existed for high-value technology services across the enterprise space. Many traditional Tier 1 suppliers were racing offshore to low-cost centres, sacrificing service quality and the ability to tailor and deliver real value-added solutions to their clients. We believed we could deliver best-in-class technology solutions and services with a tailored strategy that aligned with our clients’ strategic direction, at a leading cost.

What do you least enjoy?

Unhappy or frustrated customers.

What are your ambitions for the company?

To be recognised as the world's most trusted technology partner.

What would most help you achieve those goals?

We are absolutely on the right path. It's about scaling through controlled growth and really focusing on our client-centric culture and empowerment. Importantly, we have to continually listen to each individual customer about how we always raise the bar.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?


Where do you find yourself most at ease?

In the garden chasing my children around with a water gun!

If you weren’t in your current role, what job would you most fancy?

Chief executive of Rangers FC.

What phrase or quotation has inspired you the most?

Not one in particular and it changes frequently, although recently it’s "Fear can neither fight nor fly", which in our context is about encouraging our people to avoid analysis paralysis.

What is the best book you have ever read? Why is it the best?

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. It becomes more relevant every year.

What has been your most challenging moment in life or business?

In business, you are primarily dealing with people and in our business especially you need to continually evolve alongside technology leaps. You need to continually strive towards service improvements in parallel and that means at times having hard conversations with people who have been on the journey with you but are struggling to adapt and need to seek other opportunities outside Systal.

What do you now know that you wish you had known when starting out in your career?

Celebrate success - it's vitally important to really celebrate it with your teams.