Stamp of excellence for cutting edge digital technology

Sheffield’s reputation for products with a cutting edge can be traced back to a tax return of Robert the Cutler, which was filed in 1297.

The accolade of ‘Made in Sheffield’ is carefully controlled – and these days it is not just traditional manufacturers who are awarded the prestigious mark.

Among the latest companies to be granted a licence is one at the cutting edge of digital technology.

Switchstance passed the quality test for its software product, Gurgl, an innovative marketing platform.

It was designed by Switchstance managing director Matt Cuff as a centralised and user-friendly way of handling masses of digital information in one place.

Gurgl organises and links data to give businesses a complete picture of their marketing activity, allowing them to maximise customer contact, opportunities and, crucially, return on investment.

It is now a key area of growth for the award-winning team of web experts who have already made their mark more generally in terms of web and software design and marketing and advice.

Clients include the NHS, Department of Health, the University of Cambridge, Vodafone, Remploy and Sheffield City Council.

The accreditation of ‘Made in Sheffield’ for Gurgl is a significant step forward for Matt and his business partner, Angela Stead.

“I’m Sheffield born and bred, went to Sheffield Hallam University and have employed a number of Sheffield graduates over the past five years,” says Matt.

“We operate in Sheffield and I am passionate about our local roots.

“So it means such a lot to have the kudos of being able to officially describe Gurgl as ‘Made in Sheffield’. Only four software products can do that.

“And it is particularly rewarding when it is being used by a growing number of local manufacturing companies.

“Now we want to increase that number and, at the same time, demonstrate to businesses of all sizes and across the board the value of Gurgl in terms of return on investment.”

Charles Turner chair of the Made in Sheffield committee said: “The prestigious mark is well-established in the advanced manufacturing industry, in which Sheffield remains at the forefront internationally.

“However, there is a real desire to recognise the technology and production processes of the future, including recognition of the digital engineering associated with the top flight of the innovative digital industries, whilst retaining the mark’s high level of quality. Gurgl is one of these highly engineered digital products that has met the criteria.”

Matt established Switchstance after working as a self-employed IT consultant with the NHS. Angela has a complementary background in technology project management and continuous improvement.

They were able to draw on many years experience in data, process and systems analysis, to advise on digital strategy, security and software acquisition, be it off-the-shelf or bespoke.

Through working with such prestigious software clients, Matt developed the experience and insight to produce Gurgl, which analyses key data including website visitors, email traffic and Google activity. The powerful insights provided by Gurgl gives clients a full picture of their marketing activity and enables them to target their marketing more effectively.

“It’s a means of simplifying the immense volume of digital information,” says Matt. “There is so much you can do with it. It’s about creating a hub of information and being more clever with it.

“It’s about making life easier and increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Gurgl saves people time and money regardless of the size of the business.

“We see it not as an expense, but as an investment, generating more business. Everything we do – whether it be software, marketing or just a website – is designed to deliver a return on your investment.

“We understand people’s marketing needs, whether they are small or large businesses, and we have got the background to satisfy those needs.”

In the few years that Switchstance has been in business, it has striven for a reputation based on quality and affordability, unafraid to push the boundaries.

“We do jobs for one-man bands through to companies with turnovers of tens of millions of pounds, and across all sectors,” adds Matt.

“The first five years have been an incredible learning curve for us, and we have developed some very good software projects.

“Now Gurgl is a key and exciting growth area for us. It is designed to take the stress out of marketing for businesses overwhelmed by the amount of data they receive, allowing them to easily see what works for them and to focus on doing more of that.

“In the long term, we expect to create a development team with its own sales and marketing for Gurgl, almost a separate entity as part of the Switchstance group.”

‘Made in Sheffield’ is an internationally-renowned measure of quality – and it is also a marker for the future as new sectors such as medical and bioscience and creative and digital are recognised alongside Sheffield’s more traditional industries.

Switchstance is among those helping to wave the banner well into in the 21st century.

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