Q2Q Blog

Wednesday, 20 December 2017 08:00

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Managing Director

Fav thing about the office

Good banter

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Plumber/Electrician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Strictly come dancing

Favourite Holiday

Crete

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Methodical, Energetic, Reliable

An interesting fact about me

Started “Work” life as an opera singer

Likes

Horse riding, fillet steak and a good curry

Favourite Band

…into Classical Music

Karaoke Jam

Desperado- The Eagles

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team, are heading.

I’m still very much focused on the customer and will often get involved in customer solution discussions. As a techie at heart, I’m regularly seeking to understand industry developments and directional changes that may affect our customers, so we and our customers can remain on the front foot.

Background and Achievements

I started out in an I.T technical department of what was then British Rail, following which I joined a large construction company to re-organise their I.T infrastructure.

I then spent a couple of years as a business systems analyst at P&O Nedlloyd designing, developing and implementing systems within their Bulk and Tank Carrier companies.

In 1999 I was appointed as I.T Manager of SockShop and subsequently as of Head of I.T. at the Tulchan Group, comprising then of 300 stores. Due to a Year 2000 compliance issue, we were required to seek an alternative system, which we were able to more cost effectively write ourselves. This product subsequently became known as RAWHIDE and we later sold this product into a number of other businesses. At the time it was quite cutting edge as all the warehouse function was undertaken using handheld, wireless scanners, rather than the batch scanners that were dominant at the time.

In 2003 The Tulchan Group was acquired by Harris Watson. We were then asked to take responsibility for the I.T. of Viyella Ladies wear and in 2004 the demands of two MD’s and two FD’s (Tulchan Group + Viyella), resulted in the sensible decision to break out of the group and Q2Q was born. This then enabled us to also get involved with a number of other group companies (Harris Watson owned companies) as well as other non-group parties.  At one stage we were managing the I.T for almost 500 stores across a number of businesses.

Today Q2Q retains some of the group customers that we acquired along the way, as well as a substantial number of new and diverse customers in almost all industries including accounting, business development organisations, legal marketing, medical, retail and wholesale.

Hobbies and Interests

Horse riding, running (Jogging), motorbikes, reading any of the Detective Rebus stories.

… so, before we close our doors and rush out to finish (or for some of us, start!) our shopping, we wanted to look back on some of 2017’s key events and news stories.

The end of the year is always a great time for reflection, and it’s definitely been a busy one here at Q2Q! But before we go over a few of our own highlights, we wanted to cover what has certainly been an eventful period for the IT and tech sectors and look ahead to what we’re expecting to see in 2018…

Monday, 18 December 2017 08:00

5 minutes with Phil Irwin

Development Manager

Fav thing about the office

The banter

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Musician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Genuinely none

Favourite Holiday

I enjoy remote locations, especially in Scotland away from technology.

Favourite Band

I enjoy a vast range of music and have never had a favourite band.

Describe yourself in three words or less

Private

An interesting fact about me

I can listen to a short piece of music once and play it back.

Likes

Playing Double Bass, listening to music, Muppets

Karaoke Jam

Piano Man - Billy Joel

If I had a superpower it would be...

Invisibility

What I do at Q2Q:

 

As Development Manager I am responsible for the development of SQL databases and reports for our clients and for internal use. This often includes automating repetitive procedures and tasks to provide more accurate and efficient workflows. I am also heavily involved in reporting, providing quick, accurate data feeds, macros and reports for our users via Excel and Word.

For our E-commerce customers, for example, transferring data to and from SQL for sales processing and stock control and product updates. I also get involved in data integration projects.

Simply put, I optimise processes to ensure our clients are maximising efficiencies and making the most of the technology available to them.

Background and Achievements

I played trumpet from the age of 5 with the aim of being professional. After 1 year at Uni I got headaches within seconds of starting to play and no one could find the answer. I therefore needed to find a job and started work in an office using spreadsheets to report data for customers, in those days mainly typed up. This led to my current job at Q2Q and after getting the job set off on a steep self-teaching curve, I found I could work with computers and do what needed to be done.

My greatest achievement is my 3 kids who have all flown the nest and I am proud of them all.

Hobbies and Interests

My hobbies are music either performing, listening or composing. I play Double Bass and Piano. I also enjoy going for long walks.

Get to know Q2Q’s technical support analyst, Phil Irwin, with this speedy Q&A.

Monday, 11 December 2017 08:00

What’s the best solution for business data back-up?

Senior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

The relaxed, casual, welcoming yet professional environment.

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

As a child I wanted to be many things, Doctor, Fireman, Police Man etc. I fell into IT when I was unemployed knowing nothing about it, but found I enjoyed it. IT has since been a 24 year, paid, hobby.

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Shutting the door and turning the music up loud when no-one is at home.

Favourite Holiday

The holiday I have not yet had. My upcoming 25th Wedding Anniversary Party in Ibiza.

Describe yourself in three words or less

Unique, Colourful, Professional.

An interesting fact about me

I am a fully qualified Level 2 Football coach and have coached local teams from the ages of 7 - 18.

Likes

Polish Vodka, Mediterranean foods, Sci-Fi series and movies

Favourite Band

I do not have a favourite band but my preferred music type is Hardcore Dance.

Karaoke Jam

If I did Karaoke it would be torture. I would not want to torture anyone, well almost anyone.

If I had a superpower it would be...

A Genie’s abilities (but not constraints), as this would grant me what I would require in any given situation.

What I do at Q2Q:

The best way to describe what I do is: I provide day-to-day support tasks ranging from the basic to the more complex installations of infrastructure systems.

For example, I could be installing Flash player for one customer, before moving on to implement a new server system (splitting one overloaded server into several separate fully functional virtual servers), with server replication and backup. I also liaise with 3rd party companies in the resolution of issues relating to their products, whether printers or bespoke software applications.

Background and Achievements

I have worked in Retail, made Vertical and Venetian blinds, been an Admin Assistant, before finding I had an understanding of I.T. and enjoying the work that came with that understanding. My I.T. career has led me to work in many different I.T. environments, ranging from schools, to small I.T. support firms, to British Aerospace with CPC, and ultimately Q2Q. Each have had their merits, but I feel that Q2Q is the right company for me, and their aspirations equal my own.

Hobbies and Interests

Online PC games, Star Wars The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, War Thunder Land and Air Battles, World of Tanks and World of Warships. Watching movies, mainly Sci-Fi and Japanese Anime. Taking Rio (my dog) for a walk. Listening to music, and enjoying the odd glass of Vodka.

It’s no secret that having an effective back-up and recovery scheme in place is critical for all businesses – accidental data loss can be devastating financially, reputationally and operationally. But with so many different measures out there designed to protect your SME’s most vital files, the choice can be overwhelming.

Wednesday, 06 December 2017 08:00

Q2Q IT boosts technical team with two new hires

Junior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

That everyone is kind and welcoming as I am new to this job but already feel settled in.

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Always wanted to be a professional Footballer.

Guilty Pleasure(s)

WWE/Doctor Who

Favourite Holiday

Cancun, Mexico

Describe yourself in three words or less

Funny, Athletic and Reliable.

An interesting fact about me

Was a black Tab in Taekwondo at 11 years old.

Likes

Playing football every Saturday for Highgrove FC.

Favourite Band

Take That

Karaoke Jam

YMCA – Village People

If I had a superpower it would be...

Time Travel

What I do at Q2Q:

As Q2Q’s current apprentice, I help to resolve a range of IT issues for our clients. As I’m still in training, I’m not quite ready to resolve issues independently, but I am enjoying the learning process of becoming a fully-fledged support analyst. It’s great to see how the varied services we offer can have such a big impact within our customers’ businesses. I’m very excited about what will come next within my role.

Background and Achievements

I have just recently finished my A-levels where I attended Central Lancaster High School for seven years as I achieved 11 GCSEs in my time there and still waiting for my A-level results. This is my first full time job and I am enjoying the whole experience so far.

Hobbies and Interests

My personal interests are keeping active, for example, I play for a local Football Team Called Highgrove FC. This consists of me playing matches every weekend on a Saturday. I like being active and keeping healthy so I currently have a membership at the Lancaster House gym, which I attend when I have free time.

North West IT specialist Q2Q has expanded its technical team with a duo of appointments as the firm sets its sights on further growth.

Monday, 04 December 2017 08:00

Does my business need a Data Privacy Impact Assessment?

Organisational Development Director

Fav thing about the office

It’s an office full of creative geeks with great banter, what’s not to love!

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

An actress

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Trash reality TV

Favourite Holiday

Walking in Wales if I am feeling energetic, Crete if I need a rest!

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Fun, nurturing, efficient

An interesting fact about me

My first car was a Humber Sceptre, which started my obsession with cars

Likes

Thai food, long walks with my dog, creating ideas with post it notes!

Favourite Band

I’ll listen to pretty much anything I can sing along to

Karaoke Jam

Islands in the stream, Dolly Parton

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is essentially support Andrew (the MD) with defining the overall business strategy and financial budgeting, then to design and deliver cost effective process and organisational change strategies, managing positive change in support of Q2Q’s future growth plans.

I work with the team to ensure there is continuous organisational performance improvement that is always customer centric, ensuring they are working collaboratively and efficiently, coaching them individually and as a team to bring out their best performance in supporting our customers.

Background and Achievements

The majority of my career has been in the mad world of Fashion, on the planning and operational side. In my previous role as Operations Director for a Heritage Menswear brand, I was responsible for the end to end journey of the product, from range planning, through sourcing, production, quality control, logistics, warehousing and customer service. Some of my key achievements in this role were improving on all delivery and service KPI’s, improving quality performance from 10% rejects to 1%, and delivering a significant number of process improvements across the team, whilst also delivering a saving on costs of 10% on overheads.

• As this role spanned so many disciplines, it enabled me to focus on my true passion, which is process improvement and people development, so my proudest achievement was introducing a Continuous Improvement Project Team to the wider business, bringing a positive change culture based on a combination of ideas including Appreciative Inquiry and Solution Focus tools. The workshops we developed empowered people to solve problems cross functionally, and considerably improved communication, collaboration and efficiency, whilst making savings to the bottom line. These workshops have formed the basis of the tools I now incorporate into Q2Q, and offer as an additional consultancy service to Q2Q customers.

Hobbies and Interests

Walking with my dog, and eating out with family

As the GDPR edges ever closer, time is running out for businesses to achieve compliance before the financial penalties kick in. Our MD Andrew recently shared his compliance expertise with the Manchester Business Post and explained why the DPIA is one test that shouldn’t be missed.

You can read the article in full below…

Monday, 27 November 2017 07:30

5 things you need to know about encryption

Senior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

Cheesecake Wednesdays

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Solicitor

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Gu Puds

Favourite Holiday

2 weeks in Florida

If I had a superpower it would be...

Definitely flying

Describe yourself in three words or less

Lots of Energy

An interesting fact about me

I was once the South Ribble Chess Champion.

Likes

Exercise, Muay Thai, Singin' in the rain

Favourite Band

Its not about the artist its about the style

Karaoke Jam

Vengabus- Vengaboys

What I do at Q2Q:

I head up the IT support team.

On a daily basis I work on resolving IT issues for our clients. My skill set tends to adapt according to the current needs of our customers, from solving basic matters like fixing a printer through to more complex server infrastructure deployment. I am also often out on site visiting customers that are in need of an IT saviour.

Within the team, I work on the proposals for new and existing customers, and ensure we all work together to implement the solutions we propose.

I enjoy overseeing new projects so that, when clients evolve, we can ensure their growth, office move and/or induction of a new team member, is as seamless as possible from an IT perspective.

I also drive the rest of the team insane with my singing!

Background and Achievements

I joined the Q2Q team when they were part of the I.T. department for the Tulchan Group 14+ years ago. This was my first full-time role straight of out A-levels. I have enjoyed being part of the company and watching it grow from 3 members of staff to a blossoming 10.

I find it hard to pin point specific achievements as one of my values personally is to always exceed your own expectations. My wife would say being a great Dad to my two boys.

A great achievement for me is getting 76 miles to the gallon on the motorway and being able to finally grow stubble.

Hobbies and Interests

I aim to train in Muay Thai twice a week and religiously go to the gym every day I can.

I can juggle and have always wanted to learn knife throwing.

In our everyday, digitally-enhanced lives, we rely heavily on encryption to protect our sensitive data. But although it’s an effective safeguarding measure for keeping things private, it can also mask a number of threats.

The very practice of encrypting information so that it cannot be read without a specific decoding key means that it presents a huge blind spot when it comes to threat detection.

Over half of all online content is protected to some extent using this method, so what do we really need to know about encryption as we approach 2018?

Monday, 20 November 2017 08:00

Is your accountancy practice ready for the GDPR?

Senior Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

The relaxed, casual, welcoming yet professional environment.

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

As a child I wanted to be many things, Doctor, Fireman, Police Man etc. I fell into IT when I was unemployed knowing nothing about it, but found I enjoyed it. IT has since been a 24 year, paid, hobby.

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Shutting the door and turning the music up loud when no-one is at home.

Favourite Holiday

The holiday I have not yet had. My upcoming 25th Wedding Anniversary Party in Ibiza.

Describe yourself in three words or less

Unique, Colourful, Professional.

An interesting fact about me

I am a fully qualified Level 2 Football coach and have coached local teams from the ages of 7 - 18.

Likes

Polish Vodka, Mediterranean foods, Sci-Fi series and movies

Favourite Band

I do not have a favourite band but my preferred music type is Hardcore Dance.

Karaoke Jam

If I did Karaoke it would be torture. I would not want to torture anyone, well almost anyone.

If I had a superpower it would be...

A Genie’s abilities (but not constraints), as this would grant me what I would require in any given situation.

What I do at Q2Q:

The best way to describe what I do is: I provide day-to-day support tasks ranging from the basic to the more complex installations of infrastructure systems.

For example, I could be installing Flash player for one customer, before moving on to implement a new server system (splitting one overloaded server into several separate fully functional virtual servers), with server replication and backup. I also liaise with 3rd party companies in the resolution of issues relating to their products, whether printers or bespoke software applications.

Background and Achievements

I have worked in Retail, made Vertical and Venetian blinds, been an Admin Assistant, before finding I had an understanding of I.T. and enjoying the work that came with that understanding. My I.T. career has led me to work in many different I.T. environments, ranging from schools, to small I.T. support firms, to British Aerospace with CPC, and ultimately Q2Q. Each have had their merits, but I feel that Q2Q is the right company for me, and their aspirations equal my own.

Hobbies and Interests

Online PC games, Star Wars The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, War Thunder Land and Air Battles, World of Tanks and World of Warships. Watching movies, mainly Sci-Fi and Japanese Anime. Taking Rio (my dog) for a walk. Listening to music, and enjoying the odd glass of Vodka.

This month, our MD Andrew appeared in Chartered One – the quarterly magazine for chartered accountants in the North West. If you didn’t manage to get your hands on a copy, you can read his clear-cut compliance advice in full here…

Monday, 13 November 2017 08:15

How to get your SME GDPR-ready

Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

Very welcoming and positive atmosphere

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

A DJ, a rally car driver or a police man

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Jamiroquai, Madonna and Lana Del Rey

Favourite Holiday

Amsterdam

If I had a superpower it would be...

Invisibility ;)

Describe yourself in three words or less

Laidback, funny and charming

An interesting fact about me

I have some pretty good trampoline skills (used to)

Likes

Music, beer and relaxing

Favourite Band

I like rappers not bands! But if I had to choose - Empire of the Sun

Karaoke Jam

Madonna - Get into the groove

What I do at Q2Q:

I perform day to day support for Q2Q which means I resolve issues and perform tasks for customers.

I am fairly new to the IT world so I am currently improving my technical skills and customer service skills. In the future I want to perform implementations, assist on projects and perform more complicated resolutions to problems.

Background and Achievements

I have previously worked in warehousing, operations and supply chain. I have performed in-house IT support and also assisted on an ERP systems implementation project.

I currently hold a first class honour degree (Bsc Hons) in Network Engineering, Security and Systems Administration. I also have qualifications in retail and sales along with two forklift licences.

Hobbies and Interests

I don’t really have any hobbies I tend to spend my time with friends, family and my girlfriend. I enjoy going out, holidays and relaxing. I do however have a passion for music.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now only a matter of months away, how should you be preparing your SME for the new rules? Our MD Andrew recently shared some essential, straight-talking guidance with SME Web – if you missed the feature, you can read it in full here…

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