Q2Q Blog

Thursday, 18 April 2019 09:00

SME survival guide: Would my business pass a GDPR inspection?

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.

It’s almost been a year since the implementation of GDPR, but the legislation’s importance hasn’t depreciated at all. In fact, ongoing compliance is more significant than ever – especially given the recent political turbulence surrounding Brexit negotiations.

Yet, despite the new data protection guidelines having been introduced last year, it’s been reported that 38% of firms haven’t even heard of GDPR. So, it came as no surprise at this month’s Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference when the UK’s information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, announced UK businesses are coming in below par when it comes to GDPR accountability.

At the event, Elizabeth revealed: “the next phase of GDPR requires a refocus on comprehensive data protection – embedding sound data governance in all business processes.”

And, this is the inspiration behind our latest blog. We want to help companies identify whether or not they would pass an official ICO audit with ‘high assurance’, as well as flag the questions they need to ask themselves, when it comes to the storage and processing of personal data.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: How will Brexit affect GDPR?

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.

One of the most uncertain issues in the current political climate has to be Brexit. The past few months have been rather turbulent in terms of negotiations, and it’s still up in the air as to what will happen when the country leaves the European Union. But, one question on many businesses’ lips is ‘how will Britain’s exit affect GDPR?’

While we know that nothing is set in stone regarding policies and strategy, at Q2Q, we’ve decided to pen a short and easy-to-digest blog to give SMEs some clarity on the cloudy situation, and offer insight into what the temperature of the GDPR pool is looking like post-exit – whether it’s a deal or no-deal outcome.

Monday, 08 April 2019 12:30

Approach PR appoints Q2Q IT due to significant growth

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

Following several new client wins and a recruitment drive, Approach PR Ltd has appointed managed IT support provider Q2Q, to support and sustain its company growth.

Based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, the PR and social media agency made the decision to switch technical support service providers in order to future-proof the growth of the business, as well as minimise the potential for staff downtime in the event of any IT issues.

Thursday, 04 April 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… learn how to use your Office 365 account better

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.

You’d be surprised how many business owners contact the Q2Q team on a regular basis, asking how to get the most out of their Microsoft Office 365 accounts. And, what we’ve come to realise is that many organisations have invested in it, but only a limited number use to it to its full potential – with many not even knowing about some of the key features it offers.

So, that’s the inspiration behind our latest blog. We’ve put our tech-minded heads together to come up with five easy ways you can maximise the ROI on your Office 365 software – improving staff productivity, time efficiencies and letting the creative juices flow.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019 09:00

Why sitting in a different seat can help you deliver better customer service

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

The ability to see things from someone else’s point of view is a key skill in understanding people. However, it is also important with regards to all communication – whether that be in a personal or professional capacity.

Being in a service business, I constantly talk to the team about clients’ perceptions being their reality. Even if they don’t have all the right information at the time – and their belief is factually inaccurate – it’s still their reality, and is therefore important to understand, and respect. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 09:00

SME survival guide: How to stop employees using social media at 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.

With five years and four months being the estimated average time that a person spends on social media in their lifetime, it’s no surprise business owners are seeing an increasing number of employees flicking onto their own profiles – when they really should be concentrating on work.

What many companies don’t realise though, is the detrimental effect social media in work time can have on staff productivity and – often overlooked – IT operations.

In fact, one in eight organisations has suffered security breaches because of a social-media-related cyber-attack!

But, it’s not really about stopping employees using social media altogether – no matter what, it will always be a core breaktime activity. It’s more about preventing them from using it in an uninformed and unsafe way.

Yes, the key to reducing the minutes staff spend checking their friends’ feeds and updating their statuses could help improve your IT security. But how? Ultimately, it’s down to two core factors… cyber-security education and awareness!

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: How to spot a phishing email

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.

One of the most common inlets for cyber-attackers is via email. In a recent study, it was revealed that the number of phishing attacks rose by 250% in the period between January to December 2018.

And, with another revealing these fraudulent emails prove the biggest headache for SME owners, it’s vital that businesses know how to spot them, to avoid any data interception, company downtime or potential GDPR fines.

From opening attachments and giving out personal details, to clicking on seemingly non-dodgy links, more companies than ever are being stung by easy-to-avoid cyber-attacks.

However, while clever online criminals are masters of deception and camouflage when it comes to making emails look legitimate, the devil really is in the detail – if you know what you’re looking for!

If you’ve received an email to your company inbox and you’re questioning its genuineness, here are seven tips to follow, to help you identify whether or not that the email in question is in fact a phishing scam…

Wednesday, 06 March 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… plan for the worst and hope for the best

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

When it comes to IT operations, often all is well if things run smoothly and as expected – yet, if there’s one tiny glitch, many organisations simply ground to a halt. And, this is not only detrimental for staff productivity, but also for business performance as a whole.

So, why is it important for SME owners to put their planning hats on when it comes to in-house tech? And, how can you plan for the worst when it comes to your cyber-operations? From security to back-ups, we take a look at this in a little more detail…

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