50 years in software development and 5 years employee owned – CAS celebrates two milestones

by Lynne Campbell | posted in Company News | 15th January 2019

CAS Then and Now

CAS in the 1980's ...and now!

CAS is celebrating our 50-year birthday (the first software company in Scotland apparently!), and 5 years since becoming employee owned. Our story is a testament to Scottish technical innovation, adaptability and integrity.

In the 1960’s Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University identified three emerging technologies they were researching as potentially useful to the outside world - lasers, oil/gas and computing. Seeking to leverage the research, they established Technology Transfer Units (TTUs) which operated as independent business units.

The computing TTU (Heriot Watt Computer Application Services) was established in January 1969.

In those early years applications were diverse, ranging across a variety of scientific, industrial and commercial clients as the computing industry established itself. Case management systems eventually emerged (beginning in 2003) as CAS’s main area of expertise, leading to our successful Workpro case management product which we continue to develop and market today. Initially used by Ombudsman schemes for enquiries and investigations concerning escalated complaints, Workpro is now also used by frontline organisations for regulated complaints and HR case management. Ombudsman and regulators in the UK and overseas continue to be a major market for us.

Along the way CAS’s ownership status changed. From incorporation as a Private Limited Company in 1987 and a Management Buy Out in 1997, CAS was eventually restructured as an Employee Owned Company in January 2014.

The employee ownership decision came at a time when our main market had undergone a major shift from the provision of bespoke, often complex, software solutions to a lower cost product approach. From everyone wanting their own “bells and whistles”, clients now demanded “off the shelf” solutions that could be easily “tweaked” for them. Budgets were correspondingly slashed.

The move to employee ownership proved to be the catalyst to transform our working practices and products to meet this challenge. It’s been painful at times, but the increased engagement and productivity which employee ownership encourages has been an essential contributing factor in our ability to emerge from these changes as a healthier company with a world class product. Workpro case management software is increasingly attracting interest from around the world, including new clients in Canada and the United States. Our team is also growing – we welcomed two new people to our Business Analysts team last week and we are currently recruiting more software developers.

We have established ourselves since employee ownership in two new markets (Employee Relations and Financial Services) and in the past year alone, our customer base has increased by over 30%. Change and growth always bring challenges, but we have maintained the same values that kept us in business all these years: collaborative, friendly and professional working practices, combined with honesty and integrity in all our dealings. We look forward to the next 50 years!

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Workpro case management software helps organisations to record, track and report customer and employee casework effectively - from complaints and requests, to issues and investigations. Specialised versions are now available for HR case management, Financial Services complaints and FOI/Data Protection case tracking. For more information visit our product website: www.workpro.com

 

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