Q2Q Blog

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 16:25

Q2Q provides IT support on Armitstead Barnett office opening

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

Lancaster-headquartered tech firm, Q2Q IT, has provided technical support to aid the establishment of a new office in the heart of Clitheroe town centre, as rural land and property specialists Armitstead Barnett continues to expand its presence in the North West.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: The pros and cons of cloud storage

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

The cloud has been a rather popular topic of conversation in the corporate world recently – with 88% of UK businesses reported to have adopted a cloud-based approach to their systems. Therefore, it’s no wonder the industry is continuing to see a spike in the amount of organisations weighing up the pros and cons of this virtual technology – but do the benefits really outnumber the drawbacks?

For SME’s looking for an answer to this burning question, you might like to read on…

Wednesday, 06 February 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… Ensure your cyber-security is solid

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.

Now, the topic of cyber-security – and the importance of it – is nothing new to the business scene. But despite SMEs knowing that effective defence mechanisms are crucial to help protect against cyber-attacks and hacking attempts, many still don’t have the optimum level of protection for their business.

And, with two thirds of SMEs – or 67% – being more concerned about cyber-threats now than they were 12 months ago, it goes without saying that it’s worth investing the time and effort into safeguarding your systems from a dreaded hacking or data breach situation.

While anti-virus software plays a key role in preventing pesky attacks from happening, unfortunately this alone will not conserve your SME’s cyber-safety – there’s a lot more to it than that…

So, if you do one thing this month, ensure your cyber-security is as strong as it can possibly be. We’ve put a few steps together to help you along the way!

Monday, 28 January 2019 12:01

Why we focus on how we work, as much as what work we do

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

For as long as I can remember, the Q2Q blog has focused on all-things-technical – which is good, considering we are IT specialists. However, in my role as organisational development director, I believe there’s so much more to the successful IT equation than just the industry knowledge.

Understanding people and their business goals plays a huge part in solving the whole puzzle. And, while there is no getting away from the fact that IT support is a fast-paced world – and staying ahead of the curve is key – in a service-led industry it’s impossible to truly plan from one week to the next, as you can’t predict which of your customers will encounter issues and when. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 09:00

SME survival guide: How to keep your employees safe online

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.

As a business owner, keeping your employees safe online sounds like it should be easy, but with the increasingly sophisticated hacking tactics of cyber-criminals, this sadly isn’t the truth – in most cases at least.

Despite the majority of threats originating from outside an organisation, all too often actual cyber-security incidents emerge due to the actions of someone much closer to the office – an employee.

There’s no hiding from the fact that 2018 was replete with cyber-attacks and data theft – with at least one breach appearing in the news each month, and it’s important to be aware that sadly, this trend is likely to continue in a similar vein throughout 2019.

In fact, it was only last week that one of the biggest data breaches in history was recorded – with 772 million email addresses and 22 million passwords having been leaked at once. So, how can SMEs ensure their staff – and systems – remain safe? Well, if you’re unsure, the following tips are a useful place to start…

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 14:01

Business Leader: My working day, Lorna Stellakis

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

 

Recently, our operational development director, Lorna Stellakis took part in Business Leader's My Working Day Q&A. Lorna revealed what time she wakes up on a morning, the best way to prioritise a day’s work and the best piece of advice she’s ever received. If you missed the article you can catch up on it below…

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: What IT issues should I be looking out for in 2019?

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.

So, it may be a new year, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean that all 2018’s cyber-problems have disappeared in a puff of smoke. In fact, there’s lots of noise in the media regarding how 2019 is set to be an even bigger year for the ever-evolving technology landscape – with an increasing focus on cyber-security, ransomware and remote working.

With this in mind, what are the real IT issues and security trends that SME owners across the country should be keeping their eyes peeled for?

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 09:00

5 minutes with Martin Bilton

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

It’s time to get to know another one of our Q2Q employees, this time it’s Martin Bilton, Q2Q’s technical manager, taking part in this speedy team Q&A.

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