Q2Q Blog

Wednesday, 31 October 2018 09:00

Reach your IT peak: IT SOS

Technical Manager

The adage of hindsight being a wonderful thing has never rung truer than when it comes to managing IT crises.

But for many SMEs, IT security strategy can feel like a bit of a minefield to navigate – with business owners being unsure on what equipment they need to prevent incidents from occurring.

Using the analogy of climbing a mountain, if you set off without adequate supplies and the right clothing, you may find yourself coming unstuck when trying to reach the top. It’s likely that the higher you go, the more problems you’ll encounter and the more underprepared you’ll feel – you may even need to call for back up.

The underlying message above can also be applied to a business in its growth stages. If your IT infrastructure isn’t evolving in line with your company’s needs, you’re potentially leaving your SME vulnerable to the dark side of the digital world – think hackers, for example.

So, an IT SOS plan may be a crucial component of your cyber-strategy – but just how and why do you need one? To reach your IT peak, of course!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 08:00

Reach your IT peak: Essentials for scale-ups

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.

Making the leap from start-up to scale-up can be demanding, but ensuring your IT support grows with you needn’t be a tough mountain to climb.

While the coffee machine probably isn’t the only thing starting to feel over-worked, all being well you’re really seeing the benefits of the hours of hard graft you put in during your business’s early stages.

Now the solid foundations are in place, it’s time for a little bit more structure to help you to reach your IT peak.

Monday, 15 October 2018 12:07

Reach your IT peak: Why one size never fits all with IT

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.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 99% of all businesses in the EU according to the European Commission. So, when it comes to finding the right level of IT support for a growing business, an off-the-peg solution simply won’t cut it.

In 1983, Harvard Business Review identified the five ‘life’ stages of a business as existence, survival, success, take-off and resource maturity. That’s why, our latest campaign – Reach your IT peak – is focused around helping SMEs to decipher their individual IT requirements and finding the right level of support for them.

So, how can you ensure that your organisation has all the IT support it needs at each stage of your adventure?

Friday, 12 October 2018 08:00

What IT support does my SME need?

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.

It’s not always easy to know what kind of IT support your SME needs, but there are some key areas that should be taken into account when you’re trying to figure this out!

That’s why our latest campaign – Reach your IT peak – is all about helping SMEs uncover and understand their business’s individual IT requirements. Once that’s out of the way, you can reach your optimum IT productivity level.

As with most things in life, rarely is there ever a one-size-fits-all approach, and the same can definitely be applied to IT support! The assistance requirements will differ from one company to the next, so a tailored package is key for driving a successful and worthwhile cyber-strategy.

And as an organisation grows, the equipment and strategy that once worked, will require revising and streamlining to meet the new demands of the business.

So, what IT support does your SME need?

Take a peek at our animation to find out!

Ready to discover the right level of IT support for your SME? We can audit your existing IT infrastructure and produce a detailed analysis of the key improvement areas that would benefit your business! Contact us to find out more…

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 08:00

Reach your IT peak: Essentials for start-ups

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.

Albert Einstein once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – and in many ways, this philosophy is easily applied to starting a successful business.

When a company is in the start-up stages, it’s important that the foundations – especially where IT is concerned – are solid, so that operations are smooth, productivity is at its best and corporate headaches are minimised.

So, when it comes to establishing a secure and effective IT infrastructure, it’s crucial that your start-up has all of the necessary equipment, software and support to keep it streamlined.

But if you’re a little stuck and wondering where to start your outsourced IT support journey to reach your IT peak, it may help to bear the following points in mind.

Wednesday, 03 October 2018 09:00

Reach your IT peak: What support does my SME need?

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.

For many SME owners, knowing the level of IT support your business needs to operate most efficiently can seem like an impossible – sometimes unobtainable – task.

That’s why, with our latest campaign – Reach your IT peak – we’re focusing on helping SMEs to decipher their individual IT requirements, and find the right level of support for them.

Think about it… it takes a careful balance of strategy and equipment to reach a peak level of IT productivity. And the bigger the mountain – or SME – the higher the level of support needed, meaning that both these factors must adapt accordingly to maintain effectiveness.

This same rule applies to businesses of all sizes, right through from start-ups and scale-ups, to fully-fledged enterprises.

But how can you ensure that your organisation has all the IT support it needs?

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 08:00

5 myths about outsourcing IT support services

Andrew Stellakis

As business demands grow and technology makes the world smaller, outsourcing key business services is becoming an increasingly popular option amongst SMEs.

From PR to marketing and accounting to IT, organisations can sometimes feel a little odd about entrusting an external entity with their important businesses matters. But, where your SME sits on the outsourcing fence is often greatly determined by hearsay and misconceptions.

In this short animation, we debunk five common myths about outsourcing IT support services, so that when it comes to deciding whether in-house or outsourced – or indeed a combination of the two – is right for your SME, you can make up your own mind!

Would you like to find out more about outsourced IT support services for your SME? Contact us to find out more…

Monday, 24 September 2018 08:30

Why in-house IT teams need support too

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-house or outsourced? That’s the question facing a lot of SMEs. Not just in IT, but across a multitude of areas.

 

For larger companies, it makes sense to have in-house IT support, while smaller firms with less resources are frequently looking to outsource their needs. For those businesses in the middle though, the answer is often somewhere in between.

We recently looked at in-house vs. outsourced IT support, but the question is whether your own tech solutions need to be so black and white. Could adding a third-party IT ‘bolt-on’ provide the ideal balance?

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