Reach your IT peak: Essentials for established SMEs

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 you approach the peak of your SME’s mountain, it’s important that your IT support is reaching the highest heights too.

By now, you should really be reaping the rewards of that hard climb, and that’s why now is a great time to take a step back and let the experts take care of their respective fields – especially when it comes to the dreaded realm of IT.

 

Firm up your basics

You wouldn’t have made it to where you are now without mastering the basics, that’s for sure. And while as a well-travelled SME owner, you’ve got most of the key business operations covered, it’s still vital to ensure you don’t let the simple things slip now you’ve reached the dizzying summit of success.

To ensure your business runs efficiently in all areas, perhaps it’s time to consider some pre-emptive problem solving, as well as some helpful ‘how to’ guides for your team – to stop any potential problems in their tracks.

Proactive support for servers is a must, but a third-party IT partner could also look after your asset management and server support – saving you the headache of dealing with any insurance or update requirements. This would also give you the peace of mind that your systems are covered in any eventuality – from natural disasters, to attempted cyber-attacks.

 

Don’t be let down by a lack of security

Never will security be more important than when you’ve truly established your organisation in the busy marketplace. They say prevention is better than cure, so monthly vulnerability scanning can be useful for highlighting any system weaknesses and ensuring they are fixed, before they grow into a bigger issue.

Also, an added layer of protection such as two-factor authentication, can ensure accounts are only accessed by their rightful owners – keeping things secure, even if a password is lost or compromised.

If things do go wrong though, by implementing a data recovery plan – and testing it on an annual basis – you know you’re covered in case the worst does happen.

 

Keep yourself connected

There may be no Wi-Fi signal atop Everest, but that shouldn’t mean work stops back at base camp. Having site-to-site connectivity is crucial when you’ve got multiple office locations, but it’s pivotal that all links are secure and all traffic is encrypted.

You might consider setting up email detection software too. By using scanning technology to identify certain keywords, you can prevent staff members from sending any confidential information to third parties.

As the saying goes, look after your equipment, and your equipment will look after you. So, with this in mind, make sure you keep all comms cabinets neat and tidy, with no tangles or loose ends. By maintaining optimum cabling, you can prevent crossed wires and long-term damage.

 

The little extras

By now, it’s likely that video conferencing will play a large part in your organisation. Therefore, to avoid any potential problems with connection, it’s important to ensure proper bandwidth management controls are in place.

You might even want to consider enlisting the help of a third-party expert, to guarantee crystal-clear conference calls for those all-important remote meetings.

If you’d like more advice on how to reach your IT peak, or if you’d like information about our free IT audit, 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 established SMEs Reach your IT peak: Essentials for established SMEs