Q2Q Blog

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: How do I know what level of IT support I 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 SMEs, IT support is just one very important part of the overall corporate strategy. However, due to its often technical nature – and associations with scary cyber-related headlines in the news – many business owners can be guilty of burying their heads in the sand when faced with this very question…

We know, just like you, that the answer to the above isn’t a straight-forward one – there are many variables for every SME’s unique business model. However, what we do know is that because of this very reason, one size never fits all when it comes to IT – and our solutions and guidance honour this.

In fact our most recent campaign – Reach your IT peak – is based on this very concept. Instead of putting off the inevitable until it’s too late, protect and optimise your firm’s IT operations by taking the following into consideration…

Wednesday, 05 June 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… write an effective Cyber Incident Response Plan

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.

Scrolling through the monthly cyber-news headlines, there’ll almost always be a story about the latest data breach or cyber-attack that’s hit the UK business landscape – this much is true.

Yet, while SMEs strive to be securely defended against troublesome cyber-threats, there are always some which slip – or almost infiltrate – the net.

In fact, it’s been reported that 70% of organisations don’t have a Cyber Incident Response Plan (CIRP) in place. However, to successfully safeguard your organisation against unwanted cyber-criminals, it’s as much about the physical measures you put in place as it is the strategy you have to deal with – and reflect upon – any unwanted access attempts.

That’s why, this month, if you dedicate your time to anything IT-related, it should be drafting and utilising a CIRP that really works for your company.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: How to keep your connectivity at its best

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.

These days, the influence of the internet is huge, but greater still is our dependency on it to carry out everyday tasks – especially at work.

The truth is that internet connectivity is a hygiene factor for the majority of modern-day SMEs – from emails and conference calls, to digitised databases and software packages. You need all this – and more – to complete your job efficiently, so when web issues arise, it can be frustrating and distracting for all employees.

Given connectivity is at the core of your business needs, it goes without saying that you should always be benefitting from fast – and reliable – connections.

So, how can you ensure your workplace internet is working as well as you need it to? Here are some key things to bear in mind…

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 09:00

SME survival guide: How much should I pay for IT support?

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

When SMEs are looking to invest in IT support, many will be sold exclusively by the bottom-line cost – which isn’t always the most accurate judgement call.

We understand that any external expenditure has to have a solid business case and be able to successfully demonstrate a positive return on investment – and rightly so! That’s why business owners need to meticulously weigh-up the pros and cons of each provider – not just the pound signs – and ensure they are the best and most supportive ‘fit’ for their organisation on a much greater level.

Find out more about why we believe IT support goes above and beyond just the numbers…

Wednesday, 08 May 2019 09:00

Reach your IT peak: Why is my computer so slow?

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.

One of the biggest IT bugbears, along with phishing emails and cyber-threats, is something which sounds like a much simpler, but equally complex, problem – and that’s slow computers.

When the dreaded blank screen or loading icon appears, it’s no wonder that employees get frustrated. But – staff productivity aside – if left untreated, sluggish systems can also have a detrimental impact on your SME’s daily operations.

Without a doubt, the question at the front of everyone’s mind is: “Why is it so slow?”

Now, there are many possible solutions for your PC or laptop’s lack of cooperation – some more complex than others. So, at Q2Q, we’ve been thinking about the easy solutions and maintenance tasks that, when carried out correctly, can go a long way to enhancing performance – or at least prevent systems from slumping.

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 09:00

If you do one thing this month… Spot problems before they arise

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.

We’ve all heard the old adage “fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” and – on a basic level – that’s what our proactive monitoring service offers.

We’re firm believers that if you do things right first time – especially when it comes to your IT infrastructure – not only will you have fewer problems springing up, but you’ll have peace of mind that your business’s data is processed and stored securely.

They say the power of hindsight is a wonderful thing, but at Q2Q we believe more in the power of prevention! So, if you do one thing this month… spot problems before they arise – it’ll pay dividends in the long run.

But, if you’re an SME owner reading this and thinking that because you have an in-house IT team, you don’t need external, third-party support – we beg to differ. Office-based IT departments need assistance and support too – and, that’s where we come in…

Tuesday, 30 April 2019 09:00

How to succeed when designing solutions for growth or diversifying into new territories

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

Whether you’re expanding your already-successful business, or diversifying into new territories, it’s important to make sure your IT infrastructure supports any change or growth that you have planned.  But, have you considered that it could potentially advance the pace of that change?

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.

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