Gateshead-based Orchid Software set for further global success

AN intranet software provider is blossoming into global markets after making its name with major multi-national brands including Nissan and Greggs.

Orchid software engineer Steven Hobbs, right, with supervisor Mark Rooks, centre, and Sunderland University lecturer David Nelsen

AN intranet software provider is blossoming into global markets after making its name with major multi-national brands including Nissan and Greggs.

Gateshead-based Orchid Software provides clients such as Pinewood Studios and Pizza Express with its intranet product Orchidnet.

Its software, which helps to manage internal communications across sites worldwide, works for companies of all sizes and brings employees together across a variety of locations.

The firm recently completed a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) with the University of Sunderland and received an Outstanding rating from the Technology Strategy Board for its efforts. KTP’s support businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing the knowledge and expertise available within UK universities and colleges.

Orchid’s Mark Rooks said: “In order to create this new product for a global mass market we were required to take an entirely different focus.

“Orchidnet was created using technology that is suitable for our current market, and although it allowed us to create a great product, the new technology will be more suited to a move to the cloud.

“We have extensive knowledge in the technologies we’ve been using for the past 12 years. However, we had a clear knowledge requirement when it came to modern development methodologies and technologies.”

Orchid has grown is client base significantly over the last few years and its clients include everything from charities and zoos to motor manufacturers.

Orchid’s Mark Cottier said: “We have more than 80 clients and we’ve more than doubled the number of our client installations over three years.

“We’ve enjoyed significant year-on-year growth even in the turbulent current economic environment and the company is looking to build on that success by expanding its team to meet increasing demand.

“Orchidnet launched in 1998 and we’ve revised it since then. We’ve kept it relevant and on top of the latest trends in technology and internal communications. We’ve had to incorporate elements of micro-blogging and social media which are what people are more comfortable with using these days.

“We’re entirely self-funded and we’ve been profitable since our inception in 1994. With steady year-on-year financial growth, we now have turnover of £1.45m and make £370,000 in profit a year. Since 2004, we’ve grown from a team of eight to 23 people.

“A lot of our growth has been based on our reputation. We were lucky to secure contracts with the likes of Greggs and Nissan from the start in 1994 and that gave us a good client base to work from.

“We have a strong local connection, but we’re now globally recognised as well.”

Orchid began developing web-based solutions in so-called Silicon Alley in Newcastle’s Grainger Town, but its rapidly expanding international customer base saw it move to larger premises in Gateshead.

 

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