Tell us a bit about your background.
My first job after graduating college was in the motor trade as a Data Inputter entering service details into an old DOS database. I was the go-to guy if anyone wanted to know how many times their Ford Escort broke down! I moved quickly to become the Rent A Car Manager which meant at 19 years old I got to drive brand new cars everyday – cars I couldn’t possibly afford but were great for showing off to my mates.
So, it wasn’t a career in motorsport that you chose to follow?!
No, not quite! Through the grapevine I heard about an IT company looking for a Sales Advisor who had some knowledge of Accounts and with an interest in IT. Well, I’d just bought a Pentium II 230 PC running Windows 95, so I knew everything!
What does your role involve at Quintech?
I manage the sales department day to day, predominantly looking after our current clients. A large part of the job involves finding solutions to their needs or suggesting solutions to improve their efficiency and security.
What unique qualities or skills do you bring to your role?
IT can be very technical. I like to think I explain solutions in a way people understand and they don’t feel embarrassed by asking questions. To get points across I use lots of examples and anecdotes, and if I can make them smile at the same time then I have done my job well. What I try to bring to the role is a helpful, sensible, and friendly conversation, not so much a supplier-customer relationship. It’s about explaining the situation, not telling, so that people understand “the why” not just “the what”.
What do you find challenging about your role?
Making people aware of IT security and the risks that are out there. Too many people will click on links in an email, or join any Wi-Fi network, without realising what the possible consequences could be. My job is to help clients understand the risks and what we can do to help them protect their business.
Convincing a client to replace an 8-year-old PC that is past its natural business lifetime can be challenging. Sometimes PCs are thought of as old transit vans that will last forever! People can be right to say they are doing the same job as they did 8 years ago, but while what they do hasn’t changed, software has, and technology has moved on. I need to effectively get the message across that replacing hardware/software in a timely manner can mitigate risk and manage business downtime.
What do you like about working at Quintech the most?
Definitely the clients. When you put a system in place that genuinely saves somebody time and money that’s very satisfying. Introducing them to Microsoft Teams is my favourite mission at the moment. Most our clients already have Teams but showing them how it could work really well for them, and seeing the ‘wheels’ turning, is amazing.
Why do you think businesses choose Quintech for IT support?
The culture at Quintech is not to make a fast buck but to provide the best advice for the client. I think we treat clients how we would like to be treated and if you do that, they stay with you year after year. We are getting to the point now where problems and issues from a sales point of view are very few. Quintech has a proactive approach to clients, which means we work with them to identify potential problems and nip them in the bud before they become major issues. We work as a genuine business partner. It is our job to manage and care for our clients’ systems, giving them peace of mind to focus on running their business.
Tell us about developments you’re seeing in the industry?
It’s becoming clear that remote working just works. Like many others I used to think remote working was for people who wanted to stay home and watch ‘Homes under the Hammer’! I’ve been promoting great remote access systems for over 20 years, but these have relied on expensive communications and equipment. Now, with faster home broadband speeds and video calling platforms like Microsoft Teams, which allow easy collaboration on projects or single Excel files, I am now convinced this provides companies with flexibility for staff and helps to maintain a healthy home/work balance.
How do you see IT heading in the next five years?
Security is everything. Villains are not breaking down your door to steal your PCs or Server. Instead, they can simply make more money by accessing and selling your data, sat hundreds or thousands of miles away. Protecting data and staff should be higher up the priority list for businesses. I think we will see training and re-training become a weekly/monthly event rather than a once-a-year tick boxing exercise.
Moving forward, I think Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play an even bigger part of our everyday home and business life. It can learn, plan and solve problems like humans and not necessarily be told what to do. We’re already seeing this in our ‘smart homes’, for example using voice commands to control appliances. In the commercial world, cyber security uses machine learning algorithms and big sample data to detect anomalies, adapt and respond to threats. Next generation antivirus software is using AI engines for static and behavioural detection that gets smarter over time.
What’s your favourite inspirational quote?
“If you are working on something that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed” – Steve Jobs. It says how I feel about working with our clients. I love it so I do it to the best of my ability.
What animal do you think closely matches your personality?
I guess a giraffe, because I like to put my head above the parapet to see what’s going on…pretty much what I’m like sat at my desk!