ROCK, founded by Rob Dance, was one of the first companies in the UK to offer a truly unlimited IT support solution with the aim of helping companies during the 2008 recession. Rob set out to stay ahead of the curve with technological advancements, helping him grow exponentially from a one-man band to 30 employees and four office moves in just three years. As well as building a successful business, he has nurtured a workplace environment where employees feel “valued, engaged, and free to laugh” helping him in his success.
Rob’s fascination with technology helped him to go from working in his parent’s garage to owning a major IT consultancy firm with over 100 employees, ROCK. His childhood was full of exploration, always making rockets and taking apart radios with his father. Rob’s dad fostered an inquisitive and entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging the first of his business ventures at just thirteen, which was a tennis academy.
After earning his business degree from the University of South Wales, he began working on ROCK. Since the age of sixteen, Rob has been fixing computers for clients. he continued to do this right through university to make ends meet. During this time, he saw how quickly technology was evolving and shaping businesses, but many struggled to adapt and keep up. Rob aimed to “help clients achieve success by building transformative pathways to navigate the digital age.”
The 2008 credit crunch only made the period harder for businesses. Rob noticed the growing need for “affordable yet exceptional IT support” so, taking a leap of faith, Rob offered unlimited IT support for a flat monthly fee. Few companies did this, but, at a time when businesses were desperate to cut costs, it made ROCK desirable. Initially, Rob didn’t have the money needed to start the business so he sold his car for £1,000. It was risky, but Rob had a strong belief that with the right product and service offering he could transform businesses. From there, ROCK was born.
After spending years on a “shoestring budget reinvesting all my profits back into my expanding team and adopting new technologies… The risk paid off.” Over ten years, ROCK had gone from a “fledgling IT service to a leading UK technology consultancy, completing over 10,000 technology projects and addressing five million support queries”.
By investing over a million pounds towards building ROCK’s own automated IT issue resolution systems, ROCK preceded the mainstream adoption of AI, automation, machine learning and analytics, significantly reducing labour costs and enabling them to keep clients’ costs down. Between 2021 and 2023, ROCK’s profits grew ten times their previous figure due to the implementation of an AI-focussed strategy. Rob wanted to show that others could do this, resulting in 40 new clients.
Rob’s customers are at the heart of everything he does, focusing entirely on customer-centric solutions. Last year, Rob had a client renewal rate of 99.2%, many of whom have been with him since the beginning. Rob’s been rewarded for his hard work by being recognised as one of the top 50 Welsh Fastest Growing Businesses as well as being awarded ‘Great British Entrepreneur of the Year’ for his “dedication and hard work”. His ambition doesn’t stop at business success. Rob is committed to making a positive impact on the planet and empowering his ever-growing team, creating an inspiring workplace culture. Despite his accolades, his focus remains on “continual evolution, improving business practices, and creating positive societal impact, leading ROCK on an extraordinary journey beyond the stars”.
A month before the launch of ROCK in April of 2008, Rob’s father handed him an issue of Forbes magazine, stamped with uncertainty about the future of businesses and the pending financial storm. While this may deter most people, Rob was inspired by the leaders and contributors “who dared to defy the odds”. Fast forward 15 years later, Forbes called offering him a position as a contributor on ROCK’s anniversary. Rob told us, “it is an immense privilege to be amongst an esteemed network of leaders at Forbes”.
Technology is a constant evolution where new technologies, such as AI are becoming more present in daily life. AI has people in two minds but, Rob feels it can “drastically improve efficiency, customer service and productivity, if used responsibly”.
To find out more about ROCK go to www.rock.co.uk/