Interview with Mark Vivian, CEO at Oracle Managed Service: Claremont

Claremont is one of the UK’s leading independent specialist Oracle Managed Services Providers. We provide managed services, cloud infrastructure hosting and consulting services for Oracle E-Business, Oracle Cloud Applications and Oracle technology, helping our customers run their critical business processes and gain maximum value out of their Oracle investment.

Claremont’s deep Oracle expertise and excellent service delivery have enabled us to attract and retain an impressive portfolio of long-term clients across industry sectors, including the City of Edinburgh Council, Kings College London, National Trust, Sony, and Stagecoach.
OUG Ireland 2020

How have you been able to develop Claremont’s USP in your time as CEO?

As a services provider, it’s all about service excellence, and in turn, that’s all about our people.

Oracle applications are sophisticated and complex, and therefore a number of different skillsets are required to implement and support them. I often use the analogy of Formula 1: It takes a team of expert engineers with different specialisms to work together in concert to get their cars to perform to their potential.

Over my time as CEO, we’ve set about hiring and retaining the very best talent in the UK in each of the required disciplines. With a home working model in place from the outset (which has been very useful given the events of the last 12+ months), this allowed us to hire across the country. Our HR strategy has seen us drive many initiatives which make Claremont a great place to work, including excellent benefits packages, profit share, flexible working, a comprehensive career development framework and much more. This huge investment was rewarded at the end of last year with us achieving Investors in People Platinum accreditation, an accolade awarded to just 2% of companies.

With a highly skilled and motivated workforce, we’ve been able to consistently deliver excellent services to our customers year on year. Based on every single monthly customer satisfaction survey over the last five years, across our whole managed services portfolio, our customers all rated us “Claremont services exceed their expectations and would definitely recommend them to others”. After ten years of delivering managed services, we can also still proudly say that we have never lost a customer to a competitive services organisation.

That level of service excellence is a huge USP. As an independent specialist provider, unencumbered by the overheads of some of our larger competitors, we’re able to offer these services at attractive prices.


What can we hope to see from Claremont in the future?

As a team, we’re always seeking to improve how we do things and provide a better service to our customers. The lexicon of our team includes “Will it Make the Boat Go Faster?” (after the best-selling book) or Kaizen (the Japanese philosophy of self-improvement). Small incremental changes can, and do, add up to some enormous improvements.

Aside from this ongoing continuous improvement, there are several strategic initiatives that we’re driving for future growth. The last year or so has seen us start to work more with public sector organisations in the UK, who like their commercial counterparts, are looking for better value from their IT suppliers. Our services are now listed on G-Cloud, enabling public sector buyers to procure our services more readily, and Claremont is very well placed with our service and value credentials to serve this marketplace.

We’ve also seen an uptake in our services within the wider Oracle technology space, which we are looking to build on. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisations to work online. This has made the world smaller for us and opened up geographies abroad, which potentially represent some significant growth opportunities going forwards.

How has Claremont evolved during the pandemic?

As I mentioned earlier, Claremont was well-prepared in terms of our operating model at the outset of the pandemic; most of our team are home-based, and we had all the necessary infrastructures in place to enable us to carry on supporting our customers remotely.

As with many things, I think that the pandemic has helped accelerate some trends that were already in play: For example, there’s been realisation amongst some customers, borne out of necessity, that consultants don’t need to be on-site to deliver our services. We can actually be more efficient and responsive to a primarily remote model.

I think the other thing that has accelerated and evolved during the pandemic is HR initiatives to ensure that we are supporting our (remotely based) team. We’ve been very conscious of the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff, and the pandemic has forced us to “think out of the box” and do more in this regard, including for example remote team activities, “wellness weeks”, coffee catch-ups and just looking out for one another.

All the signs are that the pandemic has made us stronger as an organisation, and I’m looking forward to the exciting future that lies ahead!