BQ discovers the Cascade employee engagement engine with Oliver Shaw

‘How many people are in work today?’

This question forms the basis of Oliver Shaw’s passionate belief that HR software can provide firms with a true ‘employee engagement engine.’

Speaking exclusively to BQ Live, he discussed his burning desire to help businesses to correctly manage their human resources, in the same way they’d manage practical ones.

He said: ‘‘Cascade is not a communication tool, but it allows HR professionals to get away from managing processes, and allows them to add value with recruitment, talent management cultural issues.’’

Oliver continued: ‘’We now have well over 1000 customers, adding in excess of 100 customers a year. We produce an out of the box solution for simple requirements which comes from an acquisition we made last year, and the highly configurable product which allows people to build the solution that they like. We went to market and asked, ‘Do you know how many people you have in work today?’ 75% said they could work out how many they *should* have, but very few knew the actual number.

“It’s critical to the way a business runs; a critical number. I should be able to turn around to somebody and say, as CEO, what am I going to do next month based on the number of heads in the business, whether that’s development, sales, customer support – we should know that relationship.

“It’s becoming abundantly clear that we need to solve that problem.”

It’s Oliver’s eighth anniversary with Iris Software, the firm who acquired Cascade HR, and the business now forms part of their portfolio of software solutions, which deal with ‘human capital management’ and work predominantly in the areas of payroll and accountancy.

Cascade HR is a team 160 strong, and growing. Iris chose to combine all of its human capital management solutions into one division, which Cascade is part of, and which services some 40,000 employers, managing more than three million staff. The genesis of the firm began in the mid-90s, from a team who all worked in, or provided services to, HR departments. That concept has now been modernised, moving away from early implementations and accounting-based record systems towards a browser based solution which is fit-for-purpose but also integrates with other, complementary, solutions.

As for future plans, growth is a basic requirement – it’s almost an assumption that Cascade will continue to grow, and it’s all down to a threefold strategy:

  • To ensure their larger customers have the right support and complementary software and services.
  • To maintain their market position – primarily with the investment of £10m into their software development.
  • To continue to move from software to solutions.

Oliver credits the team of people he works with, as being the reason he’s so happy to get out of bed every day: “I’m quite competitive,” he says, “so I enjoy it when we beat our targets or beat a competitor or help a customer. Over time, that’s evolved into something slightly different – it’s not enough now to say we won, what I get a buzz out of is transforming stuff.’’

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