Even the most ambitious growing firms sometimes need that little extra differentiation to secure business in a competitive global marketplace.

Cardiff-based Amplyfi is a great example of the hard work often needed to ensure a company has the competitive edge it needs to succeed.

Amplyfi has been supported through Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP), and the company worked with the programme’s experts to win ISO certification to help with its growth goals. The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.



Here, Rony Seamons of Amplyfi walks us through the process of securing ISO certification and highlights the invaluable support from Business Wales AGP on their journey.


Tell us about Amplyfi
Here at Amplyfi, we’re a high-tech software company providing business intelligence to large organisations. We deliver the tech through a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, with all our products delivered via the cloud. Our headquarters are in Cardiff, and we have 50 team members globally. We operate across almost any sector – our customers are in major industries like finance, energy, pharma and many others. We’re at a really exciting point in our development, which is in no small part thanks to the support and expertise provided by the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.


What are your proudest moments in business so far?
To really get to the heart of this question, I think I need to share an overview of where we were and what we aim to be.

We’re a small business, as I mentioned before. And while we have 50 people in our team, we have ambitions to build on this. We want Amplyfi to break into new markets, and we want to work with large, multinational businesses. But one of the major barriers we’ve had to overcome was the highly complex procurement and supply-chain due diligence processes which larger firms use to select partners and suppliers. Most of these big companies have really well-established procurement processes that can easily prevent a sale going ahead if their strict criteria are not met.


One of the major criteria they focus on is around quality management systems (QMS) and data security, and for obvious reasons they have some really high expectations – which can either secure or block procurement from going through. When you enter the procurement process there’s often a lengthy questionnaire to answer, needing lots of detail on both QMS and how we as a company manage data security. For a firm with a small team, this process would take up valuable time and resources to complete, but we identified that if we had industry-recognised certification in this area then a lot of time could be saved and the route through procurement would become much simpler.

ISO was seen as the most relevant awarding body for the work that we carried out and the industries we worked with.


Because of this, we approached our Business Wales AGP Relationship Manager to see if we could receive any support to overcome these barriers. It was such a boost when we were told there was an ISO specialist mentor on the programme and so the connection was made.

For us, it was so important during these early discussions with our RM that we could explain and point to the barriers we were facing, and the value to the business of overcoming them in terms of future commercial growth.


Our Relationship Manager has worked in large organisations and understood how difficult navigating the procurement processes can be for a small business. He recognised what a significant impact on the business gaining ISO certification would have. He sourced us a coach who is not an expert in his field, but was exactly the right type of person to work with a business like us. He’d worked in fast-paced industries and understood the resource constraints we are working under. He was a superb match for us and we’ve all learned so much.


What challenges have you faced in business
Clearly, we’d hit a stumbling block before we worked with the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme in obtaining ISO certification. The benefits of securing that prestigious certification will strengthen our business and provide a strong platform for us to grow. While the process was a challenge, it’s also given us the opportunity to plan for an exciting future.


If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
We have learned plenty of lessons. We would definitely have assigned a team from across the relevant business functions to work on ISO certification. This would have helped share the burden of preparing all the evidence and would also have helped share the expertise.

To save some time, we researched the requirements of the ISO certificate and tried to start pulling the relevant evidence together. In hindsight I think we would have waited for an initial consultation with the ISO mentor. They have vast experience in this field and had developed a highly efficient process to follow. Consequently, we had to unwind some of the work we’d already done in order to follow a process that would more easily pave the way for certification.


Something else which would have benefited this process, and the business itself as a result, is if we had introduced a better project management tool to help manage all the work required for an ISO audit. There are many clauses to cover in both 9001 and 27001, which means there’s a lot of evidence to gather from across the business.

We’ve since introduced Trello boards to manage the whole process and that gives us full visibility of who’s leading on which area and what needs to be completed.

In the early stages we didn’t flag our ISO certification status until deep into the procurement process which meant some of the commercial value was lost. We now flag this as early as possible in the sales process, where we give assurance of the quality and security of our work by mentioning our two ISO certificates in initial sales meetings. In a highly competitive market, and as a relatively unknown organisation, these industry-recognised certificates gave assurance and validation that we’re a highly professional organisation.


How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
The support and access to expertise we have been able to benefit from through the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme has been second to none. It’s not overstating things to describe the service as brilliant. In total we received 18 days of support from Brian Taylor of ISOGuy which helped us achieve certification in ISO 9001 and 27001. We are now geared up to target highly competitive new markets, thanks directly to the work we’ve done with the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.


What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?

  • Find a mentor that is not just an expert in their field, but who is also a good match culturally for your business.
  • Use a project management tool like Trello to manage the process.
  • Create an ISO team to cover all the work, but always nominate one person to lead the work.
  • Communicate the “why” for gaining the ISO certificates to the whole organisation – this helps gain buy-in from all team members.
  • Use the certification as a selling point as early as possible in the sales cycle.

To learn more about Amplyfi, visit here.


Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme


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The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme is a pan-Wales programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

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