Reach your IT peak: Essentials for scale-ups

Managing Director

Fav thing about the office

Good banter

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

Plumber/Electrician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Strictly come dancing

Favourite Holiday

Crete

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Methodical, Energetic, Reliable

An interesting fact about me

Started “Work” life as an opera singer

Likes

Horse riding, fillet steak and a good curry

Favourite Band

…into Classical Music

Karaoke Jam

Desperado- The Eagles

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team, are heading.

I’m still very much focused on the customer and will often get involved in customer solution discussions. As a techie at heart, I’m regularly seeking to understand industry developments and directional changes that may affect our customers, so we and our customers can remain on the front foot.

Background and Achievements

I started out in an I.T technical department of what was then British Rail, following which I joined a large construction company to re-organise their I.T infrastructure.

I then spent a couple of years as a business systems analyst at P&O Nedlloyd designing, developing and implementing systems within their Bulk and Tank Carrier companies.

In 1999 I was appointed as I.T Manager of SockShop and subsequently as of Head of I.T. at the Tulchan Group, comprising then of 300 stores. Due to a Year 2000 compliance issue, we were required to seek an alternative system, which we were able to more cost effectively write ourselves. This product subsequently became known as RAWHIDE and we later sold this product into a number of other businesses. At the time it was quite cutting edge as all the warehouse function was undertaken using handheld, wireless scanners, rather than the batch scanners that were dominant at the time.

In 2003 The Tulchan Group was acquired by Harris Watson. We were then asked to take responsibility for the I.T. of Viyella Ladies wear and in 2004 the demands of two MD’s and two FD’s (Tulchan Group + Viyella), resulted in the sensible decision to break out of the group and Q2Q was born. This then enabled us to also get involved with a number of other group companies (Harris Watson owned companies) as well as other non-group parties.  At one stage we were managing the I.T for almost 500 stores across a number of businesses.

Today Q2Q retains some of the group customers that we acquired along the way, as well as a substantial number of new and diverse customers in almost all industries including accounting, business development organisations, legal marketing, medical, retail and wholesale.

Hobbies and Interests

Horse riding, running (Jogging), motorbikes, reading any of the Detective Rebus stories.

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

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

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

Bolster your basics

By now, you’ll already be well on your way with a basic cyber set-up, but it’s time to think about more than just desktops, software and hardware. Proactive monitoring can keep an eye on things and spot any general IT ailments before they arise, while best-practice guides for scanners and other devices are also a great reference tool to have.

Bigger business inevitably means bigger storage requirements. You might be working across multiple servers, and the last thing you want to see is the dreaded ‘low disk space’ error message. Insurance and regular updates will also give you the peace of mind you need to get on with the day-job.

You want to be prepared if something does go wrong though, so a temporary webmail portal is vital to keeping business up-and-running, should your email server go down.

Better to be safe than sorry

If you were tackling Mount Everest, you’d make sure you had plenty of contingency plans and security measures in place should anything go wrong. By adding another layer of protection to your existing data security tools, you’re in the best position possible to weather any IT storm.

As they say, prevention is better than cure. So, implementing URL protection links within your internet browsers will help to stop users accessing malicious or restricted websites, while upgraded anti-malware protection will reduce the risk of any ransomware or keylogging attacks.

It’s worth knowing though, that sometimes your own employees could be the secret to SME cyber-security. They can spot when something feels a little ‘off’ and flag it with your IT experts before it grows into a bigger issue.  

Go global

As your team grows, there will be greater demand for system access, and not just within your four office walls. Roving business development managers, freelance contributors and employees who work from home all need to enjoy the same level of productivity – wherever they set up their stall.

It’s important that remote workers aren’t hampered when accessing your systems off-site. Good remote user management allows your business to function from anywhere in the world, with VPNs maintaining secure connectivity.

And finally…

Increased headcount doesn’t always have to equal magnified headaches. Tighter device controls can stop a problem in its tracks. For example, consider disabling USB device detection on Windows to prevent unauthorised memory sticks being used. In a similar vein, a 12-month email archive – with records stored off-site – is something to think about as your HR needs continue to grow.

If you’d like some more advice on how to reach your IT peak, or if you’d like information about our free IT audit for start-ups, get in touch with the friendly Q2Q team to discuss your options!

Not only that, but if you'd like to take part in our survey - 'What are the biggest IT challenges facing SMEs?' - you will have the chance to win an Amazon Echo!

Reach your IT peak: Essentials for scale-ups Reach your IT peak: Essentials for scale-ups