It may not always be obvious – all businessmen meet trying times – but CEO Michael Walton is a very happy man.

He’s a serial entrepreneur who simply loves doing what he does, and success with his Reading-based IT systems monitoring company Opsview is just the icing on his cake of personal challenge and achievement.

This month Walton celebrates his 10th year as founding owner of Opsview, headquartered within the University of Reading campus, and importantly, since 2012, also based in Boston USA.

Whether a company has 20 IT devices or 20,000, Opsview’s technology can monitor an entire corporate network and help informed decision-making to improve performance and prevent costly downtime – vital for many mission-critical customer operations.

Opsview’s single-screen deep visibility allows IT teams to determine consumption trends, optimise infrastructure utilisation, plan for future capacity and budget their services.

Walton worked for Oracle in the US during the early 1990s, learned the industry, discovered his entrepreneurial character, and started his first company there: “It wasn’t really a risk. It was a fantastic learning experience, I was controlling my destiny and could always have gone back to being employed again.”

Walton views Opsview as his fourth business. Its consulting roots as Opsera go back a decade, but its B2B commercial product side as Opsview began roughly four years ago. Developing suitable software took time, then the recession hit. The sales division with its recurring revenue model was effectively launched in 2010

“All my businesses have been built for growth, with a view to a successful exit. Opsview was always going to be a big company; we have the right structures, the right skills. We are a big business that just happens to be small at the moment.”

Already, Opsview has its advanced reporting and analytics systems, developed from open source software, within mid-market businesses and global

enterprises including blue-chip organisations such as the HMRC, BT, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sky, Allianz, US Army, IBM, MIT and Yale University.

Opsview’s USPs are ease of use, information clarity, reliability, rapid scalability, realistic pricing and proactive professional support.

With its heartland in UK and Europe, Opsview’s business now increasingly spans North America.  Walton says he will proudly retain Opsview’s British head office heritage, but it helps to have a US presence, and the company will trade where its customers and sales take it.

“We have made the hard yards, gained some excellent customers. Now it’s about growth.”

Three years ago Walton brought in industry-experienced James Malone as Opsview’s VP of worldwide sales and marketing. Walton knows his own strengths and now focuses on strategic direction, company culture, team-building, corporate scalability and developing Opsview’s current on-premise, hybrid and future cloud-based market offerings.

“Our systems could monitor lots more things but we need to focus on what we do best.  The hardest part is not just gathering data, but presenting it in a management-friendly way. Our analytical side is a crucial strength for our customers – and our sales.”

Outside Opsview, Walton enjoys playing football, watching grand-prix racing and “being involved with other businesses” – he project-managed the design and building of his home – and provides mentoring and support to entrepreneurial startups.

“For some people, money is their shorthand for success. I don’t splash out on things, my pleasure is my work. I’m doing this interview for my company, not for me.”

Surprisingly, despite Opsview’s estimated £3 million-plus turnover and promising future with 50% annual growth, Walton’s proudest achievement (so far) was in founding IT consultancy Rubus in the late 1990s, building it over five years into a 300-staff global business before sale to Detica.  In 2000, Walton was named EY’s UK Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

“Colleagues still meet up even though Rubus ceased 12 years ago.”  Which perhaps highlights why Opsview was among the top three ‘Best Companies to Work For’ at the 2014 Thames Valley Business Magazine Awards.  Work culture is important to company creator Walton.

“It’s really satisfying to give your people a great place to work, to interest and empower them, and bring financial rewards for all. Rubus was not a financial success in my terms, and to me Opsview will not be successful unless we do all those things.”

There’s an easygoing mood at Opsview, underpinned by industry professionalism, awareness and talent.  “We employ people who will operate well in a competitive world. It’s important when you are growing fast to have committed people who can grow with you.”  Performance recognition and stock option rewards are also part of the culture-mix.

Unified communications maximise Opsview’s ability to contact customers easily and regularly, working real-time and visually, making relationships rather than ‘service-calls’.  Hundreds of leads are progressed via digital marketing every month; Opsview’s average sales cycle is 56 days.

Opsview has a sales-target ‘Monitorometer’ as a visual motivator for all staff within its offices. The target is to hit one million devices managed by 2016. I wouldn’t bet against that.