back to article Everything must go as school IT supplier Gaia Technologies' £5.7m debt burden revealed

Documents filed at Companies House reveal the scale of Gaia Technologies' debt burden, which led a major creditor to push the Bangor-based school tech supplier into administration. Although Gaia was turning over some £19m a year by 2018, it came unstuck by relying on capital-intensive new build projects, which it then sought …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Research Machines?

    Would rm Gaia be appropriate here?

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    History repeats

    Waaaaay back I worked for a short while for a schools supplier, this time biology and chemicals, who also went bust. They also had just made a capital intensive new-build addition. What's worse in their case it was mostly to produce microscopes just at the time the Japanese were coming into the market.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: History repeats

      I suspect you mean the company that made my confocal microscope that runs off a 386 and DOS6.2...

      Solid piece of kit. Made in England.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sooo.

    Managed Services eh? Another example of it not working too well? Its a race to the bottom, and everyone loses out in the end (oh, except the PHB's who've been coining it in with bonuses based on the premise of 'saving money').

    I hope those who lost their jobs come through it OK.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Paying someone to do something that you can quite afford to do yourself, and for them to take a profit, is the dumbest idea ever.

      I understand it if you're talking fractions - you can't employ half-a-person to do something, but you could enlist a managed service to provide that for you - but if you can afford to pay a guy at a company to do that job for you, then you can afford to just... pay that guy directly. If you can afford to pay a print company to have a guy to supply, repair and maintain your printers, then you could do that yourself too.

      It only works when you're too tiny to do it yourself, and in every case it's always more expensive.

      It's like paying a guy just to put your own bins out.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        I worked in Schools' IT briefly, and it was an odd setup. Some schools had permanent IT technicians, and others picked one for a number of days, sometimes, just one day a week. In the case of the former, I wondered why the school outsourced their IT, and didn't just employ directly. In the case of the latter, I wondered why they could wait a week for a fix, and didn't just have a callout service, which would probably respond more quickly.

        I'll admit there were some economies of scale, some of us were server technicians, and others more desktop level, and a school would get a desktop tecchie for the most part, and be able to call in the server side when required, but we all started somewhere, and if you develop staff they feel all warm and fuzzy and loyal and will go the extra mile when the crap hits the fan, whereas in an outsourcing deal you only get what you pay for and extras are charged accordingly.

      2. Martin Summers Silver badge

        "It's like paying a guy just to put your own bins out."

        There's someone that will? Give me their details! I've tried to bribe my teenage sons to do this but they're not having any of it.

        1. d3vy Silver badge

          "There's someone that will? Give me their details! I've tried to bribe my teenage sons to do this but they're not having any of it."

          Ill do it, £450 a bin plus travel expenses.

          1. mr-slappy

            I'll do it for £449.

            I think you're going to need to put out an RFP...

          2. Martin Summers Silver badge

            Thanks for the offers guys, although to be honest it was probably a little more than the couple of quid a time I was hoping for. Guess I'll just have to do it myself. Huff.

        2. Jean Le PHARMACIEN

          wait til they are 20+...

          I spend 6mo+ per year & 750miles from the family home in which our son lives - er rent free.

          My Gcal sends him emails and notifications the day before to put correct bins out. I also send texts

          As confirmed by my Sec cam, and full bins when we DO arrive in UK - NOTHING HAPPENS

          I would save the stress and effort and forget the whole 'teenage sons' idea. Of course the earth may stop spinning if there is a hitch before a lacrosse match..( played here in NW UK since late 1870s)

      3. ArrZarr Silver badge
        Unhappy

        You can employ a guy to do it. Congratulations, you just introduced a Single Point of Failure.

        If the guy is very very good, the processes will be documented, and even then, you have a decent risk of being up shit creek when the SPoF leaves.

        Neither solution is without flaw.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Correct.

          And I've yet to meet any outsourcing company where a random can turn up, understand the problem and just fix it like "the usual guy" in any significant fashion. That problem isn't solved by outsourcing, except maybe on huge scales.

          And that's made on the assumption that the outsourcing company are employing a team of people who are all skilled and interchangeable even when they are not needed, just in case one of them is off. Which is a lie before you start, and an even greater expense to yourself to finish.

          Just in the last two weeks, I've had contractors fail to turn up (twice), turn up without equipment to do the specified jobs (twice), install inadequate equipment despite specs (multiple times), and subs not appear or even tell the company who was subbing them that they weren't going to turn up because they had a lung infection.

          Outsourcing doesn't change that SPoF. If it does, if you find a magic company that operates like that... your costs just doubled to let them do that. So... you could have just bought two guys and paid one to sit at home, or ran a small team for yourself.

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge

            Let me dream, please.

            In my mind, there are two or three-person bands out there who have about the right number of clients to make their way profitable and because it's a small team of skilled people, the above is possible.

            It's not scalable in any way, but that would be the closest to optimum.

  4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    So 'schoola' is OK,...

    .. what about School 'B' : -)

  5. Alan J. Wylie

    Parys Mountain Mines?

    One of the minor creditors is Parys Mountain Mines Ltd., owned by Anglesey Mining plc, a company with an "interesting" history.

    What made the name stand out for me, as a caver with an interest in mines, was the fact that the deep shaft they have was mentioned in connection with storing power by raising and lowering a large weight, a method being developed by Gravitricity.

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Happy

      Re: Parys Mountain Mines?

      A solid version of Dinorwig?

  6. The Godfather
    Alert

    Sure ting....

    Warning signs as always were there. All one had to do was take the blindfold off.

  7. thepeopleschamp

    I can't believe these Administrators can charge so much - £90K pre-administration costs and then upto £495 per hour. Their all crooks.

  8. JonnyRotten

    Denbighshire still awards the contract!!!!

    http://bidstats.uk/tenders/2019/W34/709361696

    A week after they were put in administration, Denbighshire County Council still carries on and issues a contract award notice. Seriously?

    Administration started 16 August 2019

    Published 21 Aug 2019

    Value £6M

    Award Detail 1 Gaia Technologies (Bangor)

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