Q2Q Blog

Wednesday, 14 August 2019 09:00

SME survival guide: What should SMEs include in a mobile device policy?

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 one in three companies having suffered a data breach due to mobile devices, when it comes to ensuring the security of your IT systems, it’s important for SMEs to have the right policies in place!

So, whether your company provides phones, tablets, USB memory sticks and laptops, or you employ more of a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) approach, some clear guidelines are vital. This not only ensures staff members are clear on what data and services they can access on their personally-owned equipment, but it also helps to keep security tight and data breaches at bay.

So, what exactly should be included in a mobile device policy? Our tech-sperts share some advice below…

Wednesday, 07 August 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… make your email communications efficient

Technical Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

The atmosphere

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

Taller!

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Cartoons

Favourite Holiday

The next one!

If I had a superpower it would be...

Deleting MACOS!

Describe yourself in three words or less

Caffeinated, analytical, funny (allegedly!)

An interesting fact about me

I am allergic to wasps

Likes

Coffee, Scotch and dead wasps!

Favourite Band

Pink Floyd

Karaoke Jam

Delilah

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is – Technical Support Analyst

I have Bachelors, and Master Degrees, and various Microsoft Certifications from Windows 2000 to current. I have a very varied background in IT across many different disciplines, including server admin, network admin, and agile development of live operating systems.

Background and Achievements

20 years in IT, with a mix of experience including Support, Service Management and Wireless Networking.

Hobbies and Interests

Drinking coffee, reading and films

It’s no secret that emails have become a bit of a culture – or necessary evil – for the modern-day business. And with data revealing that there are around 124 billion business emails sent and received each day, it’s vital your IT infrastructure is supporting this wave of digital correspondence.

From IT solutions which enhance email operations, to general employee best practice on how to deal with that never-ending inbox, there are many ways to improve the way your SME manages its e-communications.

Here we cover both the technical and organisational side of things, to help keep your company’s email strategy as streamlined and stress-free as possible…

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 09:00

Motivating the team: are you using the right carrots?

Managing 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 to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team are heading, setting the overall business strategy and financial budgeting.

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

Whilst always having been involved with systems implementation throughout my career, I have an operational background and no specific IT experience. However, if anything, I believe this makes me more qualified to ensure the team deliver great service, drawing from my operations experience, and having been on the wrong side of poor IT support in the past. I can relate to how crippling this can be to a business, making it paramount that we ensure that IT issues are as invisible as possible, leaving the customers to get on with running their businesses smoothly.

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

 At Q2Q IT, we love to meet like-minded professionals at various gatherings across Lancaster. Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic networking event for business leaders, which focused on culture in the workplace.

This particular breakfast meeting featured engaging presentations from James Batchelor, chief executive and founder of Alertacall Ltd, and Claire Smith, head of business development at Moneypenny.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 09:00

How changing your narrative can promote growth

Managing 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 to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team are heading, setting the overall business strategy and financial budgeting.

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

Whilst always having been involved with systems implementation throughout my career, I have an operational background and no specific IT experience. However, if anything, I believe this makes me more qualified to ensure the team deliver great service, drawing from my operations experience, and having been on the wrong side of poor IT support in the past. I can relate to how crippling this can be to a business, making it paramount that we ensure that IT issues are as invisible as possible, leaving the customers to get on with running their businesses smoothly.

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

 

Is the phrase: “we simply don’t have enough time or resources to make the changes needed,” something you’re hearing all-too often? 

I do quite a lot of coaching with the team at Q2Q – and with a handful of external clients – and one of the key areas I tend to look at first is how each party talk about themselves, in order to tap into their inner narrative.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: How do I use my phone securely for work?

Technical Support Analyst

Fav thing about the office

The banter

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

Racing Driver

Guilty Pleasure(s)

McDonalds Breakfast

Favourite Holiday

Riviera Maya, Mexico

If I had a superpower it would be...

Invisibility

Describe yourself in three words or less

Friendly, Fun, Honest

An interesting fact about me

I’m Head Coach at Lancaster Canoe Club

Likes

Formula One, Kayaking, Food, Wine

Favourite Band

Sigala/Clean Bandit

Karaoke Jam

Anything by the Beatles

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is – Technical Support Analyst

I work with our customers to resolve their problems on a wide range of IT Hardware and Software and make sure they can get back to work as quickly as possible. I provide assistance both on the phone and remotely, but I also regularly get out to client sites.

Background and Achievements

20 years in IT, with a mix of experience including Support, Service Management and Wireless Networking.

Hobbies and Interests

Big follower of Formula One.

I have been Kayaking and Canoeing now for nearly 8 years and have achieved Both Level One and now Level Two coaching qualifications.

I was recently made Head Coach at the local Canoe club and get to work with a team of coaches delivering British Canoeing courses to our members.

Very much a foodie, and enjoy a nice glass of Red.

Did you know that the average person spends approximately one day every week on their smartphone? That’s the equivalent of 52 days per year – totalling a massive 1,248 hours.

There’s no getting away from the digital revolution, it’s taking place around us all the time and it’s now the norm as to how we go about our daily lives – especially at work.

From emails and documents, to databases and conference calls, technology is at the heart of nearly all corporate communications. And when you need to access content on the move, your phone is usually the go-to device.

But are you syncing your phone and computer correctly?

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 09:00

SME survival guide: What does quality IT support look like?

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 SMEs, IT support can be tricky territory to navigate.

At Q2Q, we recognise that not all companies are the same. From the industry they operate in and their staff culture, through to the cyber-support they require, all organisations are completely bespoke.

So, what exactly does quality IT support look like? We’ve put together a few pointers to help SME owners know what traits to look out for…

Recognition of your uniqueness

First and foremost, the main factor which separates a good IT support provider from a great one, is their ability to see what makes you special.

Providers that are mindful of every firm’s distinct characteristics means they won’t categorise or generalise – instead they will give you the attention you deserve.

Wednesday, 03 July 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… keep your IT provider in the loop

Managing 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 to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team are heading, setting the overall business strategy and financial budgeting.

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

Whilst always having been involved with systems implementation throughout my career, I have an operational background and no specific IT experience. However, if anything, I believe this makes me more qualified to ensure the team deliver great service, drawing from my operations experience, and having been on the wrong side of poor IT support in the past. I can relate to how crippling this can be to a business, making it paramount that we ensure that IT issues are as invisible as possible, leaving the customers to get on with running their businesses smoothly.

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 you know, every month we like to give SME owners some top tips on an important area of IT – and this instalment is all about communication.

The truth is, a good IT provider will give you the package you ask for, but a great one will look beyond your immediate cyber-needs and assess your business model – and your objectives – to provide you with a service that goes beyond the one you thought you required.

That’s why it’s crucial that if you outsource your IT support – or you’re looking to do so – you keep up to date with what’s going on in the organisation. That’s how they can help you get the most out of your systems!

So, what are the kinds of things you should be telling your techies about, and why do these areas matter?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 09:00

Why you should approach a business relationship the same way you would a personal one

Managing 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 to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team are heading, setting the overall business strategy and financial budgeting.

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

Whilst always having been involved with systems implementation throughout my career, I have an operational background and no specific IT experience. However, if anything, I believe this makes me more qualified to ensure the team deliver great service, drawing from my operations experience, and having been on the wrong side of poor IT support in the past. I can relate to how crippling this can be to a business, making it paramount that we ensure that IT issues are as invisible as possible, leaving the customers to get on with running their businesses smoothly.

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

Due to the very nature of SMEs, the outsourcing of HR, legal, finance or IT functions can often be far more viable than employing a permanent member of staff. Choosing the right partner can be something of a minefield, so ensure you ‘couple up’ with a service provider committed to providing the best service – and value for money.

 

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