If you do one thing this month… keep your IT provider in the loop

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

As you know, every month we like to give SME owners some top tips on an important area of IT – and this instalment is all about communication.

The truth is, a good IT provider will give you the package you ask for, but a great one will look beyond your immediate cyber-needs and assess your business model – and your objectives – to provide you with a service that goes beyond the one you thought you required.

That’s why it’s crucial that if you outsource your IT support – or you’re looking to do so – you keep up to date with what’s going on in the organisation. That’s how they can help you get the most out of your systems!

So, what are the kinds of things you should be telling your techies about, and why do these areas matter?

Moving offices

Perhaps you’re relocating, or maybe you’re growing and require further premises – whatever the rationale, IT support should be on hand to help.

From an initial audit of your IT infrastructure and the procurement of equipment, to the set-up of the tech and installation of new internet lines – there’s a lot to think about when upping sticks and changing base.

Moving is known to be a stressful affair, so don’t let the thought of IT troubles weigh you down, leave the professionals to take care of it all. You can move in stress-free once the scheme of works is complete.

Remote working

Are employees working from home or other off-site locations? It’s important to let your IT provider know what you need from your tech, as they can ensure the correct security parameters are in place – such as access to a Virtual Private Network.

After all, the last thing you want is your connection intercepted and data breached, all thanks to an oblivious employee working on a public Wi-Fi hotspot in their favourite coffee shop. It’s been reported that 62% of Wi-Fi-related security incidents happen in locations such as these!

Employee training on cyber awareness and policies

Leading on nicely from our last point, it’s paramount that your staff are aware of the cyber-security risks out there – especially if you want to keep them safe online!

So, from learning a few of the key techniques when it comes to how to spot a phishing email, to finding out more about some of the most common issues the team should be looking out for in 2019, letting your IT provider know if you need any support in these areas is vital for ensuring you keep security risks to a minimum.

We’re firm believers that your employees are one of the secrets to SME cyber-security success!

Recruitment drive or leavers

When it comes to the setting up of new systems, having your IT support contact in the know can help to facilitate a seamless onboarding experience.

We know there’s nothing more frustrating than having invalid login credentials or not having the correct printer configured when someone new joins the company. So, to avoid any first-day IT frustrations, letting your outsourced team know about recruitment changes helps to keep things in order and avoid any mishaps.

The same applies when someone leave the business too. There may be passwords to change and equipment to reconfigure – all of which is vital for maintaining secure systems which can only be accessed by authorised users.

Plans for growth

As your SME grows, your IT needs change in tandem. Therefore, if you don’t let your cyber-support department know of any expansion plans, you’ll likely find yourself in a position where the kit and security parameters you have in place, are no longer sufficient.

Just like climbing a mountain, if you don’t set off with the right equipment or supplies, your chances of reaching the top aren’t very high. But, knowing about your wider business strategy helps IT providers to tailor support in line with your ever-evolving needs, so that you can scale the mountain with ease!

Budget revision

This may seem like an obvious one, but if you’re looking to streamline business costs – and get the highest return from your investments – your outsourced team should know about this.

We’ve said before that IT support isn’t all a numbers game – i.e. the most expensive isn’t always the best option – and that’s why successful relationships between providers and SMEs go beyond the financials.

Let them know if you’re reducing or increasing your expenditure for IT and they will help you implement the most effective strategy and infrastructure in correlation to that budget.

Software licences or hardware upgrades

If a software package needs renewing or amending, don’t panic at the on-screen notifications, instead let your tech-sperts deal with it.

The same applies for hardware upgrades too. If the IT equipment you’re currently using isn’t doing the job it needs to, the professionals can take a look at what might be causing the issue – and get your operations back to full steam ahead in no time.

Changes to working practices or the team

If any changes are made to the way your staff work – no matter how big or small – it’s worth looping in the tech team to keep them aware of this.

They can then ensure that all software, hardware and security-related tasks are aligned with any operational alternations.

What’s the status of my IT?

In our busy day-to-day lives, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of where things are at and where they’re going – the same can be said for IT.

What if you’re starting out with a new provider and don’t have the foggiest what the status of your IT infrastructure is, who has access to what programmes, and how secure your data is from potential cyber-threats?

Well, honest communications are key.

At Q2Q, to get a better picture of your cyber-operations, we can conduct a 36-point IT audit for customers – which essentially scores the health of your current systems – to keep you in the loop from the very start.

Once we’ve assessed all relevant areas, a custom report will highlight any weaknesses – and strengths – so that actions and recommendations are transparent.

If you’d like to find out more about the managed IT support services we offer at Q2Q, please contact our lovely team on 01524 581690!

If you do one thing this month… keep your IT provider in the loop If you do one thing this month… keep your IT provider in the loop