SME survival guide: Why the IT department is one of your most vital assets

Managing 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 to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team are heading, setting the overall business strategy and financial budgeting.

I work with the team to ensure that there is continuous organizational performance improvement that is always customer focused, ensuring they are working collaboratively and efficiently, coaching them individually and as a team to bring out their best performance in supporting our customers.

Whilst always having been involved with systems implementation throughout my career, I have an operational background and no specific IT experience. However, if anything, I believe this makes me more qualified to ensure the team deliver great service, drawing from my operations experience, and having been on the wrong side of poor IT support in the past. I can relate to how crippling this can be to a business, making it paramount that we ensure that IT issues are as invisible as possible, leaving the customers to get on with running their businesses smoothly.

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

With the world of business becoming increasingly digitised, there’s never been a more important place for IT support teams within an SME.

However, often one of the areas to be glossed over most in the boardroom, the value of great IT assistance should not be overlooked. Instead, the cruciality of your IT department should be well known throughout the business at both an employee, and senior leadership team, level.

Despite its name, this part of the company does more than its title suggests. IT is often the foundation to a business’s operations, and without it very little – or sometimes nothing – would get done. So, here’s why it’s time to recognise this division as one of your SME’s most vital assets…

Gatekeepers of safe communications

With nearly all modern-day SMEs relying upon the power of emails and telephone conversations for its business operations, IT is of paramount importance for maintaining this effective stream of contact with customers and colleagues alike.

Without a robust communication infrastructure, many companies’ external and internal dialogues would ground to a halt. So, whether it’s managing savvy email storage or encrypting your telecoms to ensure conversations and data are kept confidential, remember that without cyber-confident techies, the little things you take for granted wouldn’t run as smoothly as they do and should!

Safeguards of data and systems

Expanding on the above, IT professionals know a thing or two about cyber-security and how to apply and implement measures effectively to a business – and that’s something to shout about.

IT teams are ahead of the curve when it comes to the technical landscape – and it’s their job to know what the latest cyber-threats are, as well as how to tackle and protect against them, all the while ensuring minimal disruption and maximum safety.

Organised cyber-crime is on the increase – with 42% of SMEs reporting an attack or breach in the last 12 months – so as custodians of system security, IT technicians’ importance can’t be overlooked.

Eyes and ears of the business

“Ok, so everything looks to be working fine, let’s leave it and check in again in a few weeks’ time…” These are words you’ll never hear a techie utter. Because IT departments know that in the cyber world, situations can change very quickly.

Everyone has a to-do list as long as their arm, and taking a look at IT infrastructure would rarely – if ever – make the top on a non-IT professional’s plan. Using technology that monitors systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year helps to prevent any disruption, your IT leaders are proactive onlookers responsible for keeping operations running some rain or shine, so time to give kudos where it’s due.

Contingency planners

It’s in IT workers’ DNA. It’s great when everything is running without any issues, but tech teams like to keep things that way with a little planning.

Sometimes, things happen that are out of your control – power outages, natural disasters, attempted data breaches, you name it. That’s why it’s vital to have people dedicated to constructing a cyber safety net which effectively backs up and replicates data and files, ensuring nothing is lost forever, if anything were to happen.

Data handling and storage isn’t for the faint-hearted, so when it comes to preparing for data loss, be safe in the knowledge that your tech team is keeping your information safe and intact.

Support-line for in-house teams

Finally, for SMEs which have in-house IT teams, you may be questioning why you’d ever need two IT departments – but from experience, we know that everyone needs support and guidance.

It’s no secret that internal teams have issues to resolve and tasks to complete, and that’s where outsourced IT professionals can act as a trusted second or third line infrastructure – keeping abreast of all maintenance and system statuses, which can often get deprioritised by on-site divisions.

If you’d like to find out more about how and why outsourcing IT support could benefit your overall business operations, get in touch with the friendly Q2Q team!

 

SME survival guide: Why the IT department is one of your most vital assets SME survival guide: Why the IT department is one of your most vital assets