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The Select IT Projects Team is Growing! Let’s Meet Svet Vidinski

March 2, 2017

I recently interviewed our Sales Manager Guy Webb on the importance of viewing IT as an investment rather than just another expense.

Continuing our series of staff interviews, we’re moving over to the more technical side of things – the Select IT Projects Team.

Svet Vidinski recently joined the dedicated Projects team at Select Technology, so I thought what better way to welcome him into the fray than by subjecting him to a thorough interrogation!

The Projects Team’s Latest Member

Svet previously worked for one of our clients, and was quite familiar with us having already spoken to our Director Nick Potter a number of times.

He was looking to join an IT company when a position opened up on our dedicated IT Projects team.

Mark: So Svet, to start off I wondered if you could tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in the IT industry.

Svet: Okay, sure.

I have been interested in IT for around 25 years now.

It started off as more of a hobby but my first role was a two-month internship at a school that I completed as part of my MCSE training.

<For those uninitiated amongst us, an MCSE is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. The certification involves examination on Windows 2003, BackOffice, and other Microsoft products.>

IT projects

Mark: You mention starting off in IT as a hobby.

IT definitely seems to be a field that you need to be pursuing with a genuine passion.

Would you agree?

Svet: Yes, and that is part of what led me to work with Select.

Mark: I was just about to ask about your role here – could you elaborate?

Svet: Well, working in a company’s IT department means that you often only ever complete large projects once.

Things like server migrations only occur every few years so there isn’t enough repetition to really master what you’re doing.

Mark: So I guess working on our Projects team is exposing you to similar projects on a regular basis?

Svet: In a way, yes.

For example, I recently worked on Office 365 migrations for two clients, and this repetition definitely helps the learning process.

Mark: It sounds like you’re being thrown in at the deep end so far.

Svet: Actually I’m not being given more than I can handle right now but my role will develop as I learn more.

For now, the senior Projects technicians are delegating tasks to me, and I hope to become more client-facing. This will enable me to relay the knowledge I’m gaining in a way that customers can understand.

Mark: That sounds great!

Speaking of knowledge, tell us about your own areas of expertise and what you’re bringing to Select.

Svet: Well I’m not sure how I feel about that question.

Mark: How do you mean?

Svet: I don’t like to use the word ‘expertise’ because you’re never really an expert in IT.

The technology is constantly advancing, making it impossible to know everything and really call yourself an expert.

Mark: That’s a great answer actually. It shows that you’re humble enough to know your own limitations, but confident that you can continually learn and develop to fill the gaps.

Svet: Yes, that’s fair. I see this a lot in the team here.

In this kind of environment, you’re only as good as your team.

The IT Projects Team here gives me access to a lot of talent, so I can keep asking questions and learning along the way.

It’s all about teamwork.

IT projects

Mark: Yes! I’ve experienced this myself as well, so I couldn’t agree more. My team is incredibly patient with all the questions I throw at them!

So what goals have you set yourself so far

Svet: It’s not a very exciting answer, but I’m focused on learning as much as possible at the moment.

Mark: Ditto, it never stops!

Well I really appreciate your time today, I hope we can catch up later in the year for an update on how you’re doing?

Svet: Thanks Mark, I like the sound of that.

Mark: Great, see you there!

Let’s talk about your plans for the year – Call Us Today and find out how the Select IT Projects Team can help you!

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