Meet the MD: Brian Welsh of CPL Software

Meet the MD: Brian Welsh of CPL Software

As MD of CPL Software Brian Welsh acts as the face of the company dealing with clients, so he is always on top of the latest software and technology trends within the industry. He had a chat with BQ about what its like to manage a busy technology business...

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I am the managing director of CPL Software. I lead the business and manage the team.

I provide support, development and training to my staff.  I am privileged to be the face of CPL Software dealing with our clients in an account management function. 

I also head up product management, which I really enjoy. I’m always looking for new ways that software and technology can be used in the industry we serve, reacting to changes in legislation and looking for opportunities to solve problems.


What is it the company does?

We produce software packages and solutions for property management companies, specifically Scottish property factors. Our clients are companies that manage the common areas of residential properties.

We also build online portals and apps so that residents in managed properties can interact with their property factor and view their documents and accounts online.

We are in the process of building a contractor portal and app. This will allow real time electronic communication between property factors and the companies that repair and maintain the buildings in their portfolio.


What do you believe makes a great leader

Listening is at the heart of good leadership. A great company leader speaks to their staff and involves them in a good chunk of the business. I am very open with my staff and ask them for their ideas. I value everyone’s opinion, even if I happen to disagree with it. 


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position

In short, making people believe that we could deliver. CPL Software started as a very small company and we just did not have the resources and backing that a large corporate can offer.

I had to get my first customers to see that we had stability as a business and could offer reliable solutions along with the level of service that they would expect from a big player.

I’m happy to say we achieved this and we now supply the industry standard software in Scotland. Our products are used to manage 80% of all privately factored properties in Scotland.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job

I have to admit I am not very good at ‘switching off’ but I do like to travel whenever I can fit in some time off.

I’m also a keen golfer and get out on the course as often as I can.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up

I never aspired to train driving or to manning a spacecraft. I really liked the idea of becoming a chef but I quickly realised that a love of good food doesn’t automatically make you a great cook. Sadly.


Any pet hates in the workplace?

Negativity and bad customer service. I recently saw a saying pinned to a client’s wall and it really resonated with me - ‘customer service is not a department, it’s an attitude’. This is so true. I always give our clients the best service I possibly can and so should everyone else.  


Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

I see the company continuing to grow. Our recent move to new offices will allow us to expand the team.

It has also made it possible to set up a dedicated training suite where our clients can learn to use our products away from the distractions of the work place.

I would like to move into the local authorities and registered social landlords common area management market. We have already made some inroads here and the software has been well received. I’d like us to become the industry standard software for this sector too.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Don’t undersell yourself. I learnt early on that everything has a value, even if you don’t immediately realise it. Also you should always listen to your clients.

Often you’ll find that what you think they need and what they actually want are vastly different. To use another old saying, ‘customer is king’.


Where did you start your career?

I started in 1991 at a small software house in Bridge of Allan called GB Systems Ltd. I was a software developer and worked my way up to run the commercial software and technical arm of the business. This included property products.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

GB Systems was sold to Mountain Software in 2003 and I became the Managing Director for their operations in Scotland.

In 2007 the business was bought over by a large software company and I moved into the senior management team as the General Manager of operations in Scotland.

In 2008 I took on an acquisitions integration role, reviewing new companies bought and making recommendations on how to integrate them into the wider business.

At the end of 2009 I completed a management buy out of the commercial arm of the part of the business I ran in Scotland and CPL began in early 2010.

The CPL family now includes CPL Software, CPL IT Services and CPL Digital.