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Amazon to Create 5,000 UK Jobs in 2017

February 28, 2017

Amazon joins Microsoft and Apple as the latest giant to announce that it is increasing its investment in Britain, with the addition of 5,000 roles across the country.

Last month’s post Got the Brexit Blues? Select Technology has the Antidote in Five Fantastic Flavours discussed Microsoft’s statement that it is “committed to the UK.” Amazon is now clearly following suit.

This hiring spree will be a record for Amazon in Blighty, taking staff numbers to a new total of 24,000.

So far it appears that most of the jobs being created will be based at Amazon’s fulfilment centres; however, new roles will also be made for software developers, technicians, and customer service reps.

UK country manager at Amazon, Doug Gurr, said the investment in Britain would provide, “even faster delivery, more selection and better value,” for UK consumers.

Additionally, some of these jobs will be based at development centres in London, Edinburgh, and Cambridge, the latter of which has already seen Amazon trialing its drone delivery service, Prime Air.

amazon air prime

If all of that wasn’t enough, Amazon are also set to open their new head office in London, further reinforcing their commitment to the UK.

The new 15-storey Amazon building will sit near the “Silicon Roundabout” in Shoreditch, and will house more than 5,000 staff by the end of the year.

Seeing as you’re already here, talk to us about how we can help your business reduce downtime and deploy projects with more haste than a Game of Thrones box set shipped via Amazon Prime.

Company Directors: Signs it’s Time for Your Business to Look at IT Service Providers

February 22, 2017

In this article we’re going to look at some telltale signs that it may be time for you to start talking to IT service providers to ensure you aren’t left behind.

IT service providers

Recent research from Intel shows that 93% of organisations are currently using cloud services.

By mid-2018 cloud spending will account for 80% of IT budgets, so working with a trusted managed services partner is becoming more important than ever.

Now just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t necessarily mean that working with a MSP is the right choice for your business.

Here are some signs that it could be high time for you to start looking at outsourcing your IT infrastructure:

1. You Want to Get Aggressive with Your Competition

In our article 5 Important Questions to Ask IT Support Providers, we discussed the cost of downtime to businesses.

Estimated at £521 annually per employee, you simply cannot afford to leave your IT infrastructure in a vulnerable state if your goal is to dominate the competition.

IT Support companies who offer proactive monitoring reduce the need for firefighting, solving issues before they affect your ability to work.

As your infrastructure improves, you will enjoy more reliable remote access, data analytics, and a greatly reduced risk of security breaches.

In layman’s terms, this means that you’ll be able to work anywhere, anytime. You’ll also have greater insights into what is and isn’t working strategically within the business.

Competitiveness is one of the more overlooked benefits of IT outsourcing.

IT service providers

Think about how much more quickly you’ll be able to act on ideas with a clearly defined IT Roadmap courtesy of an experienced MSP.

Product and campaign launches can run as they should; without the fear of some unforeseen technical hiccup.

2. You Have a Talent Shortage

It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract highly skilled and experienced IT professionals into small teams or solo departments.

The growing appeal of specialisation means that many of the best in the IT field would rather work with an established IT company. This will give them greater exposure to a broader array of skillsets, not to mention increased opportunities for training and development.

Working with managed IT service providers will enable you to leverage a large pool of skills without the rigmarole of a hiring process and the associated costs.

3. You Need to Stabilise Your Spending

Speaking of costs, there is a strong financial case to be made for managed IT services.

IT support providers offer a fixed monthly fee, making it easier for you to predict your IT investment for the year.

Again, the hiring process comes with a host of financial and logistical challenges, many of which can be avoided or negated by letting a MSP do the legwork.

Finding contractual staff for a six-month project is going to be a lot easier through a company who already has the talent ready to go.

4. Security, Security, Security!

Last but by no means least is the unavoidable topic of security.

An independent businesses’ security infrastructure is rarely going to be as robust compared to what dedicated IT service providers can achieve.

And that’s fine; your business doesn’t have to be good at everything.

IT service providers

The talent pool, purchasing power, and practical in-house experience utilised by a solid MSP can benefit you greatly if leveraged effectively.

Updates and patches to firewalls, software, and hardware can all be performed externally so that you can focus on growing your business rather than worrying about having to fight fires.

This also goes back to the matter of downtime, which will be minimised both proactively and reactively as issues are handled before and as they arise.

Conclusion

If any of these points resonate with you, call us today and let’s talk about how you might take your first step into outsourcing aspects of your IT department.

Select Technology offers an industry-leading 15-minute critical response time, keeping your downtime to a minimum and reducing the financial impact to your business.

On the other hand, here are Signs Your Business Isn’t Ready for Managed IT Services (and What You Can Do About it).

The (Frighteningly) Real Cost of Downtime to UK SMBs

February 21, 2017

I’ve been talking about downtime and its effects on business continuity quite a lot recently.

business continuity

To be honest, the subject has served more as a segue into other things, but I came upon some pretty alarming statistics during my research.

Just look at these figures:

  • 72% of UK firms suffered up to eight Internet connection failures in the past year
  • These firms suffered 43 hours of downtime in the same period
  • The average cost in terms of lost productivity is £521 per employee
  • Network downtime costs 80% of SMBs £11,500 or more per hour

Pretty scary stuff, don’t you think?

But here’s the real kicker…

Despite these figures, 45% of small-to-medium UK businesses are still solely using on-premise hardware for their IT infrastructure.

This means that nearly half of UK SMBs have no cloud-based business continuity plan.

Compared to the USA – where 93% of SMBs have at least partial cloud backups – this is shocking.

No wonder Internet downtime is costing us over £12 billion per year as a nation.

Fortunately, cloud adoption rates are on the rise, but it’s important to keep your business ahead of the curve if you want to stay agile and competitive.

Talk to us today about Disaster Recovery Testing and Business Continuity – let’s get your business secure so you can focus on growing it!

Sources:

£12 billion: the cost of internet downtime to UK businesses

Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The state of cloud adoption and security

Network downtime is incredibly costly for SMBs

UK Cloud Adoption & Trends for 2016

Company Directors: Signs Your Business Isn’t Ready for Managed IT Services (and What You Can Do About it)

February 20, 2017

Managed IT services providers can fill a number of roles for businesses, by augmenting existing in-house IT departments or replacing them with fully outsourced IT support.

managed IT services

As outsourcing becomes more effective and more cost-effective, the traditional on-premise IT team is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

One, two, or even a handful of IT staff simply cannot keep up with the knowledge and skills of an MSP (managed service provider) that employs a few dozen advanced technicians.

Strengthening the case of MSP even further is their ability to snap up the best talent by offering ongoing training and development.

But that doesn’t mean you are ready to move to outsourced IT support.

Here are a few signs that your business isn’t quite ready to work with an managed IT services partner:

1. You Don’t Know What to Look for in a Managed IT Services Provider

There are a number of questions you should be asking when speaking to IT service providers.

Get companies talking about their successes with existing clients, approach to security, and how they service customers who experience growth throughout their contract duration.

Tip: Read our guide on 5 Important Questions to Ask IT Support Providers

2. You’re Not Looking to Grow Your Business

This probably isn’t you.

Moving swiftly on…

3. Your IT Infrastructure is Outdated or Poorly Implemented

Even the best IT Support provider will find it impossible to keep your business’ systems ticking along if your infrastructure is a mess.

managed IT services

An experienced pair of eyes will be able to identify any potential security issues and inefficiencies in your IT architecture.

Tip: Grab some free consultation (without the tacky sales pitch) from one of our Senior Project Managers

Bonus Tip: Bag yourself a discounted Security Audit throughout the month of March.

4. Your House Isn’t in Order

Have a clear plan for budgeting before making any kind of investment in your business.

Our guide (see the link above) suggests that managed IT services providers should be able to provide clear a SLA and pricing model so you know exactly what to expect from onboarding and beyond.

workbook-1205044_1920

It goes without saying that value trumps price, so be prepared to really look at your MSP as a partner who can help you improve your business beyond just fixing stuff.

Tip: Part of our service involves creating an IT Roadmap that will help you scale workload and investment level based on your own business goals – Call us today to find out more.

Conclusion

The take-home point from this post is that you should avoid investing in a partnership with a MSP if you aren’t equipped with the facts.

Speak to us today and one of our Senior Project Managers can help you figure out what level of outsourcing, if any, is right for your business.

Alternatively, here are Signs that it’s Time for Your Business to Look at Outsourcing IT.

5 Important Questions to Ask IT Support Providers

February 15, 2017

With 2017 well under way, it’s the perfect time to review your IT Support contract to ensure you’re receiving the best value through the coming year.

IT Support

According to recent research, 72% of UK businesses suffered 43 hours of downtime over the last year.

The cost of this downtime is estimated to be £521 per employee, for a total nationwide loss of 149 million hours and £12.3 billion (with a b)!

Even if you have only experienced half as much downtime, it is easy to see how important it is that you have a solid IT helpdesk backing up your business.

In today’s post we’re going to lay out some simple questions to ask IT Support providers when reviewing your infrastructure this year

1. What is Your IT Support Experience?

We’re all for giving young businesses a chance, but you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to stake your business and reputation on a company who has only been around for five minutes.

Before digging into the details, be sure to ask:

  • How many years have you been around?
  • Do you have any clients in my industry?
  • Can I speak to any of your customers?

As many as 50% of small businesses fail within their first five years.

Consider also that the managed services industry is an overcrowded market. Stick to providers who have been around for five years or longer if you want greater peace of mind.

Team structure is another important factor because very large organisations experience a gulf between junior and senior staff.

The sweet spot will be a company that is big enough to provide a quality proactive service, but small enough that senior talent works ‘in the trenches’ with the rest of the helpdesk.

2. What Security Measures are in Place?

Check out this video and then tell us that security isn’t important!

Naturally, you will want to ask IT helpdesk providers what encryption and authentication protocols they have in place.

The following are also worth asking:

  • What are your physical security measures?
  • How will you back up my data?
  • Tell me about your risk management strategy

A risk management strategy is something that any provider worth their salt will implement as this plays into the increasingly proactive nature of the IT services industry.

Your provider must help you not just help you when things go wrong – they must proactively ensure that attacks and faults don’t even occur in the first place!

3. What SLAs are Available?

Any business owner will be hyperaware of hidden costs and sneaky fine print.

A clearly written service-level agreement will ensure you don’t get caught out.

It goes without saying that you will want to ask helpdesk providers things like:

  • Is the given price really the entire cost?
  • Will you proactively monitor my systems?
  • Are contracts rolling or will I be tied in?

It can typically take 4 – 6 months to really gauge the effectiveness of an IT support provider, depending on the size of your organisation.

Nevertheless, alarm bells should be ringing if a company immediately insists that you sign into a three-year contract with no flexibility.

Confirm beforehand what will happen the level of service you will receive, as well as what kind of exit path is in place if you decide to change providers in the future.

4. How Do You Service Your Customers?

This is similar to the topic of SLAs.

Customer service is more important than ever for business-to-business relationships, so it’s well worth taking a minute to ask what each provider holds as its core values.

IT support

Small and mid-sized IT support providers can often provide a more personal or bespoke service, but be sure to ask:

  • Will I have an account manager?
  • Is your support team on-site or do you outsource?
  • Do you regularly train your staff?

Continual improvement and development of staff is vital in an industry where technology is advancing such a dizzying pace.

A great IT helpdesk company will stay up to date with advancements in technology and practices so you don’t have to.

5. How Will You Manage My Business as it Grows?

Forcing a square block through a round hole is not going to work for very long in business.

Your IT Support provider must provide enough flexibility for your business as it grows and evolves throughout the duration of your contract.

Make sure your provider can answer the following questions:

  • Will you provide an IT Roadmap for my business?
  • How do your contracts allow for scalability?
  • Can I change my plan mid-term if needed?

An IT Roadmap is a great way of ensuring a bespoke service that is specific to your business.

A senior technician should take the time to sit with you and discuss what your plans are for the coming months and years so that there are no surprises down the line.

Another benefit of planning ahead is that an outsider’s perspective might actually provide some insights and ideas that you hadn’t considered outside of the IT arena.

Call us today to discuss your IT plans for 2017 and you’ll quickly see that we tick all the boxes!

Source: https://www.beaming.biz/press-releases/12-billon-cost-internet-downtime-uk-businesses/

Part Two: It’s Time to Start Viewing IT as an Investment, NOT an Expense

February 13, 2017

Following on from Part One of our interview with Sales Manager Guy Webb, this final part looks at the hidden costs of deferring investment in your IT infrastructure and refusing to look at IT as an investment.

IT as an alternative

Mark: So there are clearly some pretty significant hidden costs involved in putting off IT investment

Guy: Yep. And the problem is that it’s impossible to quantify missed opportunities from an operational point of view.

Successful businesses operate in a similar manner to successful entrepreneurs.

They are willing to take educated, calculated risks, including making investments that may not provide an immediately tangible return. Education and training are prime examples of this.

It might feel like taking a leap of faith, but it doesn’t have to be scary if you’ve put in the necessary groundwork and removed as many question marks as possible.

Taking Ownership

Mark: So what do you think IT support providers like Select Technology can do to help matters?

Guy: Good question.

I think a big part of our responsibility is in properly demonstrating the value of IT… Investment technology, that is.

Mark: How do you do that?

Guy: It might sound counter-intuitive but learning is an emotional process.

<Pointing at the green sections of his drawing from Part One>

Maybe we should invest more in our graphics...

This is a bit like the comfort zone for each business.

The business that is willing to expand that comfort zone will learn and grow in the process. You can obviously see that the opposite is true for the other company.

So our job becomes demonstrating the importance of stepping out of that comfort zone; you’ll quickly find that what was uncomfortable or scary quickly becomes routine through repetition and, more importantly, curiosity.

As humans, we’ve evolved with a brain that screams “STOP!” when we experience pain or discomfort, but this is an outdated trait. We’re not having to outrun sabretooth tigers anymore.

IT as an investment

Fear can be useful, but it’s redundant in business.

We open our doors to all customers.

Anyone who reads this is welcome to pop in for a cup of tea and a chat. We invite every prospective client to come in and see how we operate, asking any questions along the way.

Understanding how our services work on a human level removes the unknown, which should reduce the fear massively.

Mark: But not all IT companies work like this.

Guy: Well, no, and that’s fine.

We would encourage any business to speak to other providers besides ourselves.

Remember that you’re not comparing a like-for-like commodity. Each provider you speak to will likely raise a couple of questions in your mind that you can use to better compare them.

Conclusion

Mark: Thanks for talking me through all of this.

So here are the main points I’ve gleaned:

  • Keep your business IT Infrastructure up to date
  • Small Business Mindset can cause stagnation and lead to missed opportunities
  • Take educated risks based on reasonable assumptions
  • Fear stems from a lack of information or understanding on a subject
  • IT managed services and solutions are not commodities

I also really like what you said, linking price shopping with scarcity mindset.

Guy: Exactly – how can you grow a profitable business if you’re busy counting the pennies?

Mark: Did I miss anything?

Guy: No, I think you covered the most important points.

Mark: Is there anything you’d like to add before we wrap up?

Guy: Henry Ford said, ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’

A lot of people know this quote, but not many people really internalise it and put it into practice.

MarkHe also said that we get old when we stop learning, regardless of age.

Guy: Yeah. So what I’m getting at is that the growth, development, profit, and all that good stuff exists squarely outside of your comfort zone.

Look at Tesco. When they introduced the Tesco Clubcard it was a huge risk – something like 20% of their revenues were on the line. But the data they collected on customers, and the loyalty it created in consumers… well, you get the point.

<Check out Tesco: How one supermarket came to dominate>

If you’re not learning, experimenting, trying new things, taking calculated risks; you’re not going anywhere.

So there you have it.

Step out of your comfort zone, shake off the Small Business Mindset, invest in your IT infrastructure, and improve your operational efficiency.

Call us today to learn more about how we can help!

Part One: It’s Time to Start Viewing IT as an Investment, NOT an Expense

February 10, 2017

So many business owners view IT as some kind of necessary evil akin to tax that must be tolerated, rather than embracing IT as an investment.

IT as an alternative

Our recent post The Cloud: Five Misconceptions About Office 365 Holding Your Business Back touched on the idea that IT should be viewed as a legitimate investment rather than just another expense.

So why are so many businesses still refusing to accept IT for what it really is, Investment Technology?

The Pitfalls of Maintaining a Small Business Mindset

For this post I decided to borrow from someone far more experienced than myself.

Sales Manager at Select Technology, Guy Webb, has spent over a decade in the world of technology.

Guy has developed his technical prowess while always maintaining a keen emphasis on the people who ultimately rely on said technology.

Mark: To kick things off, what would you say is the biggest obstacle faced by small business owners today?

Guy: Rapid change presents a huge challenge for small businesses, especially when we look at how quickly technology is changing.

The real challenge is overcoming resistance towards making small incremental changes. But this needs to be done if a business is to keep up with the pace as technology develops.

Mark: And would you say there is a fear of obsolescence?

Guy: Obso-what now? Haha!

IT as an investment

Of course. A lot of businesses think it’s pointless to invest in a technology they think will be obsolete six months down the line, understandably.

This line of thinking means that IT falls down to the bottom of their list of priorities.

The small business mindset stems from viewing things like IT as an expense rather than something that can be invested in to help the business perform more efficiently.

Mark: Do you see this mindset permeating into other areas of a business?

Guy: Absolutely.

I was just going to say that Marketing is another area that usually ends up as a low priority, when really it should be a top priority for most businesses.

If you’re not marketing your product, sales will suffer.

So I suppose the small business mindset leads to paying the bare minimum just to cover basic requirements. Or rather, what the holder of the purse strings thinks are basic requirements.

Price Shopping for a Rolls Royce

Mark: So without naming names, can you think of any of your own clients who may fall prey to small business mindset?

Guy: Well I can think of a great example of two clients who are roughly the same size and operate in similar industries, yet who are polar opposites in their attitude towards technology.

The first pays around £X per year for us to support XY employees; the other pays £3X for more or less the same number of users.

It’s no secret that we sometimes struggle to service the first client because their ‘bare essentials’ mentality doesn’t always account for the curve balls we’re thrown from day to day.

Mark: The second client pays almost three times as much for the same staff numbers – does the service really scale like that?

Guy: Well look, the £3X client understands and moves with the advancements that technology brings.

They’re not afraid to make that investment-

Mark: And I guess even if they are afraid, they’ll do it anyway if they can see the value.

Guy: Exactly, and the £X client will probably end up spending any “savings” on some form of upgrade down the line anyway.

Look at it like this…

<Guy proceeds to scribble frantically on his notepad>

IT as an investment

Maybe we should invest more in our graphics…

On the left is a business who moves with the times and keeps their IT infrastructure up to date.

That big green area is the increased efficiency the business enjoys as a result of a consistent investment level [labelled IL] over time.

On the right is a business who puts off IT investments until they become a necessity for one reason or another.

Notice how much smaller the green area is for the guys who view IT as just another expense?

Mark: What’s the grey area on the right?

Guy: That’s the efficiency and potential growth they’ve missed out on by not stepping out of their comfort zone. It’s a cliché but you get what you pay for!

If you go shopping for a Rolls Royce, you’re not going to be concerned with cost because Rollers aren’t a commodity. You’re shopping for the best quality, not the lowest price.

The same is true with IT; it’s not a commodity.

No two IT helpdesks are the same.

Skillsets, team structures, escalation procedures; even company culture. These things can all vary massively from one provider to the next so to compare them like for like is missing the point.

Price shopping can cripple the competitiveness of a business because it keeps you in a mindset of scarcity; worrying about the pennies instead of proactively searching for opportunities to bring in more pounds.

Click Here for Part Two

The Entire Internet Infrastructure Reborn… in Slough?

February 9, 2017

The Internet in its present form was originally conceived as a way of transmitting simple communications like email.

As Internet infrastructure has evolved ever more rapidly, we have gone from text to online video games and live video streaming in just a few short decades.

We know the internet needs reinventing,” says Dimitra Simeonidou at the University of Bristol. “It was originally designed for basic communication like email, and now we want 4K video available to us standing on the street.”

So what is being done to give the Internet its much-needed makeover?

The Dark Age of Dialup

I’ve been fortunate enough to see mainstream consumer-level Internet pretty much from its inception.

I can still remember visiting an Internet café in London and paying for 30 minutes of dialup access; just about enough time to figure out how to navigate Internet Explorer and oh… so… slowly load up a few images on a Simpsons fan site.

arrow-1773951_1920

Moving forward a few years and being able to stream videos – but not without having to pause and allow YouTube to buffer first – was nothing short of amazing!

Now in 2017 we’ve got researchers like Dr. Toktam Mahmoodi talking about combining emerging telecom technologies with robotics to enable remote surgery on patients.

“I work with a surgeon who takes a train to Leeds once a week to perform robotic surgery, but he wouldn’t need to go there if the internet was better.” says Dr. Mahmoodi, “He could do the same procedure remotely, saving lots of time and effort.”

Straight Outta Slough

Given the interconnectedness of the Internet, it is hardly feasible for us to start messing around with an infrastructure that just about everyone uses on a daily basis.

It is impossible to roll out 5G or high speed light-based Li-Fi on a large enough scale to know with any certainty that they will stand up to the demands and environmental variables associated with entire cities or even countries.

With this in mind, researchers are using a server in Slough, Berkshire as a base for testing new ideas.

Straight Outta Slough

Researchers from the universities of Bristol, Edinburgh, Lancaster, and King’s College London will run their experiments. “We’ve rented high-speed fibre-optic cables to connect all of the different institutions, controlled from a server in Slough,” Dimitra Simeonidou continues, “We will be connecting everything from smart cities to 5G mobile internet.”

This provides an isolated environment that researchers can test ideas on without the fear of, well, breaking the Internet.

Scaling Innovation

The researchers are utilising technologies which for the most part already exist, but the difference here is the scale on which they can now be tested.

Whatever the results of these experiments, something needs to change.

The Internet infrastructure is well overdue for a big overhaul if we are ever going to see the dawn of remote robotic surgery and 4K live streaming from the beach.

We can’t wait to see what the next few years hold in store, especially as concepts such as the Internet of Things continue to develop.

Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2120393-internet-playground-trials-new-tech-to-deliver-smart-cities/

The Cloud: Five Misconceptions About Office 365 Holding Your Business Back

February 8, 2017

With a growing number of businesses moving their computer systems into the cloud, you might have been considering migrating to Office 365.

This post was inspired by a recent eBook released by Microsoft called Myths About Moving to the Cloud – What Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Really Need to Know About Moving to Microsoft Office 365.

We didn’t cover everything in the eBook, so be sure to check it out!

There are a fair few differing opinions on the subject, but as your business grows you will ultimately want to look at O365 as a worthwhile investment.

Providing our clients with IT support and services gives us insights into the overall perceptions that individuals and organisations have about modern technologies.

Let’s look at five of the most persistent misconceptions that you may have about Microsoft 365 and elevating your business into the cloud:

1. Office 365 is Just an Online-Only Version of Office

Far from it!

Microsoft has developed Office 365 as a unique cloud-based productivity suite that covers all of your usual office tasks.

However, the applications you know and (hopefully) love like Outlook, Word, Excel, and Skype are still installed on your device. This means that you can access them offline with the option to automatically sync your data when you reconnect to the Internet.

O365 gives you the consistency of offline applications with the added benefit of being able backup and collaborate in the cloud.

2. Email is Unchanged in the Cloud

Wrong!

At Select Technology we’re mad advocates (#madvocates?) of being proactive in our IT support and services, so this next point definitely resonates with me.

One of the best things about Outlook 365 is that moving your business email to the cloud places maintenance into the hands of Microsoft. This means that you can be more proactive by working on your core business, rather than re-actively fighting fires as the arise.

at-99377_1920

Office 365 email login is seamless, and Microsoft’s Exchange Online can be set to update automatically, with enough customisation options included to keep you in the driver’s seat.

If you’re still not convinced, bear in mind that you don’t actually need to migrate your email to O365 right away.

Microsoft offers a few different Office 365 plans based on your needs and preferences.

3. Office 365 Will Negatively Impact My Business’ Agility and Security

Never!

As we just touched on, less time spent on upgrades and maintenance equates to more time available for growing the value of your business.

Microsoft 365 makes your business more adaptable and agile, and will often save you considerable sums of money that would have been spent on expensive servers.

As for security, this comes straight from the horse’s mouth:

“To keep Office 365 security at the pinnacle of industry standards, our dedicated security team uses processes such as the Security Development Lifecycle; traffic throttling; and preventing, detecting, and mitigating breaches that many companies don’t have the resources to ensure. And, Microsoft Office 365 has a 99.9 percent financially backed uptime guarantee.”

Microsoft also lists a myriad of acronyms like FISMA, FERPA, and PIPEDA to highlight the endless rules and regulations they adhere to.

4. Monthly Updates Will Cause Issues with My Business Applications

False!

This one’s easy.

Microsoft have enough experience working with enterprise-level clients to know that their cloud offering must ensure operational continuity on all levels – no one would buy it otherwise!

Your business no doubt relies on some kind of critical bespoke solutions. If they can operate alongside Office 2010 or Office 2013, they will probably work with Office 365.

In fact, Microsoft has more than enough industry clout to work with the biggest software houses and ensure optimal integration with O365.

If you’re still worried, then rest assured that you can still keep your older version of Office installed just in case – Gates forbid – something goes awry!

5. Office 365 Migration is a P.I.T.A.

Nope!

Simply put, Office 365 migration is a cinch, but I’d like to use this opportunity to talk about something related.

This actually touches on a common overarching perception of IT being some kind of necessary evil, or expense that is to be tolerated and kept to a minimum.

That may have been true in years past, with clunky hardware sometimes being more of a liability than an asset.

Times have changed.

Another expertly coordinated migration

Another expertly coordinated migration

For us, IT should stand for Investment Technology.

With the incredible advances we’re seeing in the field… that’s exactly what it is – an investment!

Compare it to training your staff.

You might not see the results instantaneously, but as the weeks and months pan out – providing the training was decent – you’ll begin to reap the returns from your investment.

The exact same thing is true of cloud migration and IT support.

Investing in something that will help your business become more efficient and ultimately more profitable can’t be a bad thing!

If you’re ready to look at Office 365 migration or you’re not sure if it’s right for your business, call us today for some free advice.

How Much is Your Loyalty Costing You?

February 7, 2017

One of the most common objections I hear when talking to businesses is that they are happy with their current IT support provider.

The reason behind this steadfast loyalty usually falls into one of three categories:

  • Family / Friend: “My third cousin does it all for us.”
  • Satisfaction: “We haven’t had any problems.”
  • Longevity: “We’ve been with them for X years.”

These are all legitimate reasons; however, your unwillingness to consider alternatives could be costing you more than you realise.

IT Support Provider

The Three Hidden Costs of Loyalty

As far as I can tell, there are three main costs to never challenging your incumbent providers:

Financial

 

When was the last time you made sure you’re getting the best value for money?

Just imagine that every month you spend £75 more than you need to on, say, widget insurance.

Every year, this equates to £900, so over five years we’re talking about £4500 which could have been spent on R&D, system upgrades, or staff incentives – *cough*pizza!*cough*

These figures are pretty arbitrary of course, but should illustrate how cutting costs on just a single service can result in some significant savings.

Logistical

 

When did you last check that your provider is still a ‘best fit’ for your business?

Before sending a prospective client a proposal I take the time to visit the premises to discuss requirements and pain points, and to get a feel for the way the business operates in a broader context.

No two people or organisations are the same, so a provider who offers a genuinely bespoke service as standard is going to be more adaptable as your business changes and grows.

Opportunity

 

What else could you be spending your time and resources on?

Squeezing more value out of your providers and improving efficiencies in your business will free up your resources to pursue other opportunities for growth.

As a quick thought exercise, consider some areas of your business that could be automated or outsourced.

How many hours you could save each week?

What could you do with that extra time?

 “But they earned our loyalty!”

Loyalty in business isn’t just earned once. It must be maintained.

The same is true of everything from vehicles to marriage, and even your bank balance.

If these things aren’t proactively given plenty of TLC, it will soon become noticeable.

Don’t believe me?

Skip your car’s next service, forget your wedding anniversary, and ignore your bills – see where that gets you!

In my opinion you owe it to yourself, your business, and your family to run as tight a ship as possible, so make your providers work for your continued loyalty.

If you’re not sure how to approach this, call me and I’ll happily provide some questions you can ask companies like your IT support provider to prompt some innovation.

 “But I want loyal customers!”

Customer loyalty creates great testimonials and enables more accurate revenue projections, but let me ask you a question.

Do loyal customers challenge you to change?

To grow personally?

To improve as a business?

Kaizen is the Japanese business philosophy of continual improvement.

Literally meaning “change for good,” kaizen holds as one of its central tenets the idea that big results come from many small changes accumulated over time.

kaizen

Are your providers acting in accordance with kaizen?

Are you?

We’re either growing or dying; there is no middle ground or static position.

“Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.” – 10 points to anyone who can name the movie!

When you deal with an “awkward customer,” do you resent having to step outside of your comfort zone or do you welcome the challenge?

To prosper as a modern business, you need to be creating, innovating, and refining.

It is your most demanding clients who will force this kind of positive change, or kaizen.

The Comfort Zone is a Grave

PR firm Berkeley put out a great little blog post a while back entitled “Metathesiophobia – The fear of change, and something we are all guilty of!”  here’s an excerpt:

“Look at the likes of Kodak, Blackberry and Blockbuster. All are dead, or dying because of a fear of change and lack of innovation. Now compare this to Google, the most successful internet company of today; Netflix, which has turned the TV network into an app and Apple, a company that doesn’t need an introduction. The difference, not just in marketplace but in survival, is huge, and all because some are willing to innovate products and services in line with their customers’ needs and the ever changing world we live in.

Our very own Guy Webb also likes to talk about metathesiophobiaif you want a laugh, give us a call and ask him to say it three times fast!

Look, I know it isn’t always practical to put out tenders and have meetings with umpteen providers every year, but you need to go above and beyond if you’re going to differentiate from your competition.

This is achieved by allowing the kaizen philosophy to permeate through your entire business – many small changes accumulated over time.

The Full Disclosure Challenge

Here’s your chance to step out of your comfort zone in a controlled environment.

Where are you falling prey to metathesiophobia in your own life?

You can gloss it up by calling it complacency or laziness, but those are just examples of you moving away from the pain of having to make a change it’s all the same!

Leave a comment below with an area of your business or even your personal life that may have stagnated due to fear of change.

Make what you will of the scary spider…