Getting to know you: Jamie Durham, founder, Systemwork

Jamie Durham

Jamie Durham, founder and managing director of Leeds-based, Systemwork started the company in 2005 to provide IT support for SME’s after working in the banking sector and for the MOD.

The services we provide have changed a lot since then, as has our identity. I’m passionate about productivity and staff happiness, and our numbers speak for themselves – with an average of 84% of tickets solved within one hour, and a 99% satisfaction rating over the last year.

What do you currently do at Systemwork?

My job is very varied, but my key roles are heading up the business development and quality control side of the brand, as well as ensuring its smooth day-to-day running. We have amazing relationships with all of our clients – this is of paramount importance to us – so making sure our service goes above and beyond for them, takes up a lot of my time and focus.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

My daughter. The minute I knew she was arriving it ignited something in me that has never faded, and employment simply wasn’t enough to satisfy it. So, I decided I needed to create something that I was in control of – if it was ever going to be something great – that she could be proud of.

Who do you admire?

Technology entrepreneur, investor and engineer, Elon Musk. He’s a real-life Tony Stark trying to achieve real change, which I think is amazing.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have got an MBA. I believe learning from mistakes is a powerful thing, but I also think it would have saved us a lot of time, when setting up the business.

I originally created a pricing system at Systemwork, which just didn’t work – and not getting this right from the onset really put us on the back foot commercially. And although it’s been a challenge to repair this, it’s been a huge yet valuable learning curve.

What defines your way of doing business?

Put simply, a passion for being morally incorruptible about adding value.

I had first-hand experience of bullies – more specifically, email bullies – and it’s become a pet hate of mine. So I’ve worked hard to create a culture where we are all accountable for one another – including myself. There’s no excuse for this style of behaviour, in or out of business.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Find the right market at the correct price. There has got to be a demand and the cost must be worth the effort. All of your success stems from this, so it’s important to get it spot on in the first instance.

Also, to invest in yourself – no one knows everything, so having a focus on personal development will allow you to be a better leader.