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Jude Thompson is Managing Director of the Black Country-based CSCM IT Solutions a leading managed services and cloud-based computing provider and a Patron of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

Taking over as President of the Chamber for the next two years, we spoke to Jude about his business, his views on the prospects for the region and what his ambitions are during his Presidency.

Jude Thompson is passionate about the West Midlands.  It is the region he grew up in and returned to in order to establish his business.  A well-known figure; over the last 25 years, Jude has become a committed champion and advocate for the region and firmly believes that its best years lie ahead.

“We were once considered to be the beating heart of the UK economy,” begins Jude as he starts to talk about his views on the West Midlands; “and, in many ways we still are. Whilst our physical outputs have changed over the years; the determination and enthusiasm often displayed by our local businesses in delivering those outputs remain largely unchanged.”  Indeed, for Jude, West Midlanders display a pragmatic and resilient attitude which he has aimed to nurture and support as a business leader.

“The people I meet each day in this region are my inspiration. Everybody has their own story to tell and can draw on a wealth of different experience based upon their individual backgrounds which are often the cornerstones for what drives them personally and in business.  For me, it is this drive and commitment which makes doing business from the West Midlands extremely attractive and powerful."

Despite having a global reach, it was, therefore, an easy decision for Jude to establish CSCM in the Black Country – even though, like most new ventures there were the usual challenges in setting up a new business.

“I knew early on that I wanted to run a business which delivers quality customer service and excels in the support it gives to its clients. At college, I studied IT Engineering and have mostly stayed within this sector.  What I discovered was that some companies providing an IT solution to customers weren’t as responsive to the ever-changing needs of a client’s computing needs, let alone the rapidly changing world of the technology sector.  In my head was always the nagging thought that this can be done better.”

All that remained for Jude was to find the right time and opportunity. “Back in 1994, a company I had worked for closed and, even though I’d moved on nearly 2 years before; I’d stayed in touch with former colleagues. 

"I was working as an IT Manager for a Marketing Company and felt that I was on a good career path before one of those former colleagues contacted me to say that their customers were now without IT support and could I help?”

Jude explains that "after about three weeks of meetings and conversations; I decided to leave the company I worked for and start CSCM.  It was a massive decision at the time but remains one of my proudest.”

The idea of ‘people’ is central to CSCM’s success Jude explains.  “I have built a great team who are passionate about what we do.  They have become known as experts in both their technical expertise but also in delivering outstanding customer experience.  For anybody thinking of starting their own business I would absolutely urge them to consider carefully how they build their teams.

“People,” Jude continues, “remains one of the biggest challenges for our industry and my business.  I have amazing people around me now but finding the talent of the future is a struggle.  In part, this is down to the technical world changing so quickly and there are now many routes open to a person who fancies a career in IT.”

So, what is Jude’s vision now for CSCM? “Over the years, CSCM has grown from strength to strength and, we have just acquired a new building which allows us to further expand. My vision now is to grow our international footprint – we already have several UK-owned customers with multiple and global offices so naturally further establishing our credentials as a provider beyond these borders is a priority.”

This theme of ‘people’ is central to the priorities Jude has as he starts his two-year tenure as President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.

I know and value first-hand how being a Chamber member has helped the profile of my own business within the region “Now, emerging from that period of change, the attitude and positivity of the people running the Chamber is something quite spectacular – it now feels like a contemporary business services organisation full of fresh thinking, creativity and innovation designed to support the business community within the region.

 “As a lobbying organisation also, the Chamber will work with the new parliament and call upon Government to listen to the needs of the Black Country business community. At some point, we will move beyond Brexit and the Chamber will help to lead that conversation so that policymakers are responsive to the demands of our firms and the needs of both our existing and future workforce.”