A fond farewell

Tue 28 Feb 2017

We knew we were on to something when we set up Toplevel. A decade ago, government departments were still in the grip of multi-year contracts, supplier choice was limited, and budgets seemed to spiral out of control. This was all in stark contrast to the wider economy, which was still reeling from the credit crunch, bank bailouts and a rising deficit. But the tide was turning. There was a growing demand for government to be more accountable over spending and reduce costs, pushing digitalisation to the fore.

Outreach was our solution for a sector that had little experience of how liberating technology could be. We were one of the first to deliver Cloud SaaS back in 2005. We built our platform from scratch to ensure we could offer a rapidly deployable government grade solution without vendor lock-in. And we ensured we were flexible enough to support proprietary and open source tools, making us future proof and adaptable. Together, these strengths meant that when the Digital by Default mantra came into effect in 2011 we were in a position to take a tried and tested solution to the marketplace.

The rest, as they say, is history. Toplevel now has over 50 major public sector digital projects with notable customers including the Home Office, HM Passport Office, the Legal Aid Agency and numerous local councils. Together, we’ve grown the company to become one of the instigators behind the digitalisation of UK government and it’s become a success story in its own right.

As we all know, this culminated in the company being acquired by Equiniti Group in July 2016 with the Outreach digital case management solution seen as a good fit for the portfolio. Over the past six months, Equiniti have been working with us to integrate the company, explore synergies and provide us with further resource and over the next month I’ll be handing over the reins to Neill Duff, our new General Manager.

I’ll remember my times at Toplevel fondly and with pride because of our landmark achievements. Delivering our first agile implementation and achieving ISO 27001 accreditation in 2011. Our inaugural listing on GCloud and achieving Microsoft Silver status in 2012. Platform developments such as the rollout of Mobile Data Collection and the Responsive Design feature that allowed services to be device agnostic in 2014. The Outreach Dual Zone security feature in 2015. And finally, taking Outreach in its entirety into the Cloud in 2016, enabling our customers to deploy and scale the solution without constraints.

I’ll be bowing out at the end of March as Strategy Director but am looking forward to keeping in touch and watching the company continue to flourish. These are exciting times. The publication of the Government Transformation Strategy gives some indication of how digitalisation will now progress, with more emphasis on end-to-end service delivery that embraces back-end processes: something which we have championed since day one. While Neill and the team now have their sights set on new markets, with intentions to take the rapid workflow management capabilities of Outreach into the private sector.

None of what we’ve achieved to date would have been possible, however, without our customers who guided us with their wish lists and the dedicated team at Toplevel who listened to them and realised those wants. It’s been a pleasure to work with all of you over the past decade, as it’s you who have ensured that Toplevel lived up to its name and did just that: stayed on top.