30 Years of success has taught us… It’s still all about people

For Oxfordshire-based managed IT services provider CIS, 2019 marks 30 years of successfully supporting local business growth and business continuity. CIS have gone from strength to strength, with up to 30% YoY growth, dozens of awards, multiple acquisitions, and a prosperous future ahead.

The secret of our strength is our mission to help customers achieve their own commercial success through building long-term, collaborative relationships with them. CIS aims to support the strategic vision of our clients with the best managed services and innovative tech solutions. We know none of this is possible without the right people. So for 30 years, we’ve always focused on our people first. We know great people create great results. When we have the best people in place, they align with our vision and the complex needs of our customers, achieving great results.

Through thousands of engagements with numerous clients, we have seen clear patterns in customer satisfaction. Clients inevitably say they want an IT solutions provider to be highly effective, communicative, proactive, collaborative, flexible and value-focused – this describes our people’s characteristics perfectly.

CIS has the bonus of our leadership team being local and international technology leaders, able to impart specialist knowledge, share vast experience and innovative ideas. We have all the ingredients to keep customers at the forefront of their industries and ahead of their strongest competition.


231 combined years of experience delivering IT services to the business community of Oxford – the city, the county and beyond. Meet the team supporting business growth through applied technology innovation and a consistent focus on adding immense value.

Neill Lawson-Smith

Founder & Managing Director
36 Years in IT, 30 with CIS

As founder, Neill is our Managing Director and our visionary. Looking out over the technology horizon, Neill focuses on making sure CIS is equipped to bring value to its clients in the long term.

His task is to prepare ahead with future technologies which will help our clients stay ahead of their competitors, improve efficiency and propel their businesses forward with the greatest IT value.

Neill brings a distinguished IT background, having gained top honours at degree level in 1989, as well as over 30 years of practical IT hands-on experience to the company.

As a Fellow of the British Computer Society, Chartered Engineer status, including Chartered IT Professional, Neill has skills and experience vital in the development of strategic IT plans through to full and effective implementation.

Neill offers a host of ideas and solutions for companies ranging from the smallest start-ups and growing firms, through to multi-national corporations. While there have been many projects completed for larger organisations, such as Argos, British Airways, Sony Entertainment Europe, London’s prestigious Reform Club and St Paul’s Cathedral, Neill’s focus remains in developing innovative, cost-effective and reliable IT strategies for the SME.

“I am truly focused on the people in our company and making them the best possible team to deliver solutions to our clients. Our company has always been about people. Our IT services are based around people and we excel at understanding our Clients as people, so we can understand their needs and exceed their expectations.”

Neill is married with four children and in his leisure-time enjoys supporting a local youth orchestra and steam railways

Ashley Baker

Head of Finance
10 Years in IT, 8 with CIS

Ashley came to CIS from Bridge3, one of our several acquisitions over the years. He’s responsible for all things financial and prides himself on efficiency and accuracy. “It’s simple really, if CIS pays too much, our clients have to pay more for our solutions. I take my role seriously when it comes to keeping our costs competitive. If we’re good with our spending, we can pass any savings along to our clients.”

In addition to helping to create client value for money, Ashley is instrumental in the billing solutions we use to help CIS clients understand what they’re getting for their money. “Clients don’t just want a number on a page any more. Our clients really want to better understand their IT spend. They want to have flexibility in payment methods. Some want monthly operational expenditures, while others prefer annualized capital expenditure models, and still others need convenient leasing solutions. It’s no longer enough to just give good services and value. A company needs to make those solutions affordable and accessible.”

Ashley also manages the procurement team. No matter if it’s a server for a client solution, or a license renewal a year down the line, Ashley makes sure the finance departments serves to increase client value or decrease client costs.

Dan Hadland

Head of Innovation
14 Years in IT, 5 with CIS

Dan joined the CIS team in October 2013 having previously worked for Hewlett Packard and other local Oxfordshire businesses. Dan enjoys all aspects of IT but specialises in networking and virtualisation. An alumnus of the University of Portsmouth, he graduated with a 1st in Computer Network Management and Design.

“We live in an exciting time. There are so many impressive technologies that’s it’s hard to identify the best ones. It’s difficult for us to vet solutions, so how much harder is it for growing SMEs to identify the most viable IT solutions and best practices. I enjoy taking the best of Enterprise IT solutions and delivering them to the SME. The role of my team is to find and validate cutting-edge solutions, and make sure our clients are empowered to quickly and easily benefit from them.”

Dan is continuing his IT education, currently completing Check Point Certified Expert and VMware Certified Professional status. Dan puts all that experience and knowledge together to drive new product development and product innovation for CIS. This ensures an innovative future for CIS – and our clients.

Matt Grantham

Head of Operations
16 Years in IT, 11 with CIS

As the Head of Operations, it’s Matt’s responsibility to make sure each client receives the value they intended to receive by working with CIS. From the initial client analysis, to the solution architecture, to delivery of the solution, and all the way to the ongoing support, Matt directs the engineers who create that value for our clients. “Often clients who come to us have not had the level of communication they wanted. They don’t know what’s possible very often. When they see our proactive alerting systems and receive our periodic health checks, they are pleasantly surprised at the level of communication possible.”

With over a decade of experience with CIS, Matt has an unrivalled familiarity with our clients. Client familiarity and lessons learned from their implementation allows Matt and his team to better serve new clients and their unique set of needs. “Being proactive is key. Clients don’t want to call support and have an engineer tell them they should have changed something in their environment to avoid the issue they’re experiencing. The client wants us to call to warn them there’s a problem coming and hear how we’re going to fix it before it affects their company. I don’t know why more IT companies don’t operate that way.”

“With more than 160 years of IT experience across the team, quality solutions for hard questions are easy to come by. We’re very collaborative in our approach. We have a lot of good ideas for clients, the trick is to work with the client to discover the one idea which will best serve their unique needs.”

A specialist in the Microsoft Suite of solutions, virtualisation and Cloud solutions, Matt’s often leading the team’s work on the company’s most complex projects. Matt’s noted for his ability to design and develop solutions which incorporate a fundamental understanding of the needs and requirements of individual users, line managers, senior management and stakeholders.

A key component and the foundation to having a successful technical team, is training to keep our teams up to date with the latest products.“ From cyber security to cloud, we’re continually challenging our team with the latest technical products”. Matt makes sure the CIS team are familiar with these new solutions. “The training objectives throughout the year allow us to remain one step ahead of the competition. It also allows us to remain highly effective and remain proactive in our client solutions.”

Michael Wellborn

Head of Sales and Marketing
25 Years in IT, 1 with CIS

Michael is value driven, and believes without value, there is no solution for clients. From the High-Tech industry in Silicon Valley, California, Michael brings 25 years of experience succeeding in relationship-driven, solution sales. “I try to maintain a consultative approach to client’s needs, with a focus on Time-To-Value and ROI. This is achieved through quality needs analysis and aligning a client’s needs with well-crafted solutions.”

Michael has also helped to build smaller companies into multinational market leaders and eventually an IPO. “I’ve had the good fortune of serving clients globally, with projects over most of the Americas, the UK, and much of the EU. At its core, sales is simply high quality service. It’s not my job to sell people things they don’t want or need. My job is to help clients find the value they need through creative, collaborative and quality IT solutions.”

We believe our focus on people is the reason why we’ve weathered the storms, consistently achieved year-on-year growth, and have built a respected and recognised position in the business community. If you would like to discuss how CIS and our people can help you solve your own technology or business challenges, and support your growth, just get in touch. Call 01367 700555 – ask for any of the team above. Alternatively, email and we’ll get straight back to you.

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