Anyone who has ordered something over the phone, given their postcode and been amazed at the operator’s ability to quote their full address need wonder no longer. The program being used by companies as diverse as Interflora and B&Q was developed by Tony Bickford in his front room in 1990. He founded London-based QAS Systems to exploit his new software, which is now capable of being linked with additional information, such as electoral registers and business information. Profit growth of 79% a year, from £769,000 in 1997 to £4.4m in 2000, has partly been delivered by sales growth, but also comes from increased margins. Annual licensing, where companies pay 35% of the original purchase price to use the software for another year, and the purchase of multiple licences by clients, have helped drive up both sales, to £24.1m, and margins. QAS, which appeared on the first Fast Track 100 in 1997, has expanded internationally, and now has offices in Australia, the Netherlands and the United States.
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