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Find out more about Julie’s role at TechCare!
Every so often at TechCare we like to catch up with members of the team and find out a little about their role, what they do every day and what they like about TechCare. Here, we speak to Julie Roper, TechCare’s Office Coordinator, who has just celebrated her fourth anniversary of working with us and is integral to the smooth running of the business.
What attracted you to the company?
I was actually approached by an ex-director who used to work here and was a friend of a friend. I’d been off work for 12 months taking care of my grandchildren, and I was looking for a local, part-time role. He heard about me and got in touch!
Fabulous! Can you tell us a little about your role?
My role is pretty varied and very busy. I set up jobs on CloudFlow (our CRM system), then follow them through until they’re completed, when I then invoice the customer for them. During the middle of the month, I send out all the invoices to the customers who have monthly support and any services from us, which takes up quite a lot of my time. I also have to check that the services are the same as what they were charged for the previous month. I also raise purchase orders, monitor the mileage of the vans, send out statements for overdue invoices and follow them up with phone calls, as well as dealing with general email enquiries.
What’s your favourite aspect of working at TechCare?
To be honest, I enjoy everything about it. But I think I get the most satisfaction when we receive a payment because that obviously underpins the business. Setting up the job, sending the invoice, and finally receiving the payment, it’s a really satisfying process.
Can you sum up your job at TechCare in three words?
Enjoyable but frustrating! I don’t mean that negatively, the frustrating part simply relates to when you’re chasing a client for payment and they sometimes take their time in coming back to you. That can be a little frustrating.
How would your TechCare colleagues describe you?
I would hope they’d say I was helpful, efficient, approachable, friendly and sometimes annoying if I’ve been chasing them for something!
Would you like to meet our other team members? Head to https://techcare.co.uk/meet-the-team/ for more information.
The answer to your IT infrastructure headaches
Running a business is hard. There’s so much to think about, budget for, and to manage. Particularly when it comes to IT infrastructure, with the ever-increasing pace that technology advances, keeping up with technological changes can be a full-time job – and a costly one – in itself.
But there is a way around it. A way businesses can maximise their IT infrastructure’s efficacy without breaking the bank or wasting valuable hours. It’s by renting infrastructure components from an external provider rather than investing in your own.
As a business owner, it’s a challenge to decide how much precious budget to put aside to invest in IT infrastructure, get it wrong, and the consequences could be serious. Spend too much and it doesn’t get used to its full potential, wasting the company’s money. Spend too little, and the company can’t operate as efficiently as it could, potentially losing customers and damaging your reputation. Getting the balance right is vital, but outsourcing your IT infrastructure requirements and utilising Cloud computing services could be the answer.
So, why rent rather than buy?
There are lots of benefits to turning to an external IT infrastructure provider and the Cloud. Just take a look at the main points below:
How can TechCare help?
Here at TechCare, we are dedicated to helping businesses grow by embracing the power of technology. Offering everything from additional IT support for an in-house IT department to a fully-managed service from an outsourced technology partner, TechCare provides the technical help and support that businesses need to grow, despite the uncertain economic situation the UK is facing at the moment.
We can take care of your IT infrastructure, utilising the Cloud, meaning you don’t have to worry about it at all and can focus on running your business. If you’re not sure whether this is the right way forward for you and your business, give us a call, and we’ll happily go through it with you and help you work out what’s best.
For more information, please contact us today techcare.co.uk/contact.
We’ve Struck Gold!
TechCare is proud to announce that we’ve earned a prestigious accreditation in collaboration with WatchGuard.
We’ve been awarded the WatchGuard Gold Partner status, which means that we have proven our product knowledge and expertise by passing a challenging mix of technical training sessions and practical certifications.
This accolade further proves TechCare’s commitment to the WatchGuard brand and means that we are now certified to a level that sets us apart as a solid point of reference for the products that WatchGuard provide.
This is also great news for our clients, as not only will they benefit from the superior level of training and expertise that the Gold Partner status reflects, but they will also enjoy the additional discounts on WatchGuard products that we will now be eligible for.
Lewis Lydiard, TechCare’s Project Engineer, is one of our team that has been working hard to complete the various examinations to enable us to reach Gold status. He commented: “I’ve recently been taking on a range of self-training courses to help us meet the Gold Partner Status through WatchGuard. This particular round of certification was a one-day course for which we studied various topics. This included looking at multi-factor authentication from a WatchGuard point of view and how to integrate it into online services to include the WatchGuard Authpoint product.”
Lewis has been continuously trained and mentored by several team members, but in particular by Oliver Aleksejuk, Head of Operations. Lewis commented: “Upskilling the team is something that TechCare is really passionate about. They’re dedicated to continuously training their staff to always meet Best in Standard certifications and possess all of the latest technological requirements needed to offer the kind of service that TechCare clients require.
Oliver Aleksejuk, Head of Operations, commented: “It’s vital that we continue to meet these certifications to be seen as being the forward-thinking company we are. It shows that we are an up to date tech company that really cares about being up to speed with all of the latest legislation and certifications we need to provide a robust, reliable, dependable and knowledgeable service to our clients.”
WatchGuard is a global, cutting edge provider of pioneering cyber-security technology deployed as easy-to-use and easy-to-manage solutions for businesses of all sizes. More information can be found at www.watchguard.com.
For more information about TechCare, please visit www.techcare.co.uk.
Software development, according to IBM Research, refers to ‘a set of computer science activities dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software.’ It’s an essential part of running any business and requires expert attention at all stages.
Some businesses have in-house team members to do this for them, but actually, many find that outsourcing these types of tasks is much more efficient.
Using a managed software development company is ideal in many situations. For example, for smaller businesses that don’t have the means or the workload to employ someone full-time, having someone to call on as and when needed is perfect. It can also be an excellent option for business owners with multiple projects to manage, using a team of experienced operatives who can work across any project as and when required.
Outsourcing has become much more prevalent in the Covid-19 era. With more people working remotely, it’s the new normal. But carrying on this trend beyond the pandemic has many benefits, including helping businesses to become more efficient and cost-effective. Here’s a rundown of the 8 main reasons why managed software development might be a good choice for you and your business:
1 – No holiday or sick pay.
You don’t need to pay for staff annual leave or illness like you would with a fully employed member of staff. With a managed software development company, for every hour you pay for, you receive a full hour of labour.
2 – No recruitment fees.
Due to the current sky-high demand for Software Developers, finding new talent requires specialist recruitment support. Typical recruitment costs for hiring a developer right now can be as high as £6,000! Imagine what else you could do with that money!
3 – No overheads for development tools.
Many managed software development companies use the latest development workflow software such as Jira, Tempo and other development tools. These all have high subscription costs but are paid for by the outsourced company.
4 – Cloud hosting know-how.
You will benefit from the managed software development company’s comprehensive understanding of cloud hosting, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Not all developers understand the system, but many software companies (including TechCare) have a strong commitment to upskilling their developers to learn this infrastructure. This means you don’t need help from a separate – and often pricey – AWS consultant.
5 – Zero training costs.
Outsourced Software Developers receive regular training on various systems, and their knowledge and skills are updated all the time, with all training costs taken care of by the management company. So you don’t have to worry!
6 – Reduced management time.
Whilst the Project Manager will need some of your time, as well as your team’s time, once the required features are captured, they then spend further time ‘behind the scenes’ with the Developer. This is when they organise the features, translate the business requirements into development requirements and then manage the delivery of the project. This means that you and your team don’t need to spend precious hours managing a Developer of your own – you’re free to get on with the important job of running your business.
7 – Increased IT integration.
Sometimes software development and IT need close integration. With your outsourced software development company being capable of managing both, there are many benefits such as knowledge sharing and inter-department collaboration, which all make the process simpler.
8 – Multiple Developers.
Most managed software development companies – TechCare included – have a growing team of Developers. This means they have a lot more resiliency to things like sickness or training leave, and they are more likely able to cover jobs with another Developer, meaning there’ll be no delay to your project.
TechCare is passionate about helping businesses grow with the use of technology. We can provide you with a professional, sleek and reliable service for all of your business’s managed software development needs. Our ever-expanding team of developers are highly-skilled and experienced in all aspects of software development and are always on hand to ensure you and your business have the software support you need to thrive. For more information or to arrange an informal chat, please contact us – https://techcare.co.uk/contact/.
We are the Cannock Chase Small Business of the Year!
TechCare is proud to announce that we have been named the Cannock Chase Small Business of the Year at the Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield & Tamworth and Cannock Chase Annual Awards Celebration 2021. The online ceremony, organised by the Greater Birmingham Chambers, highlights the achievements of businesses across the Greater Birmingham and Staffordshire regions.
We couldn’t be prouder of this award. We are passionate about helping our clients grow their businesses with the use of technology, and for our work to be recognised in such a prestigious way is fantastic.
TechCare MD, Karl Frankham, commented: “Winning this award is an overwhelming achievement; even just making it onto the shortlist was incredible and being in the mix with so many other brilliant companies was really humbling.
“Winning the award is a real testament to our team, and I would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all of them. Their hard work has helped us to win this – our very first business award. They do an amazing job for both us and for our clients, and it’s really down to them that we have come this far. They always work hard, but over the last 12 months throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, they’ve absolutely smashed it by putting in extra hours, dealing with uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and going above and beyond to meet our clients’ needs. I’m really proud of each and every one of them.”
For more information about the Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield & Tamworth and Cannock Chase Annual Awards, please visit www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com.
TechCare by day, army by night!
Here at TechCare our team is at the heart of everything we do. They are our family. That’s why every so often we like to catch up with them to find out a little about their role, what they enjoy about their work and what makes them tick. Here, we speak to Peter Hull all about his role as the third line escalation point within this business and his work as a teacher for the army.
How long have you worked at TechCare, and what attracted you to the company?
I’ve been here for two months. I was attracted by how much my role would be developed from what I was doing before. In my last job, I was providing support, whereas now I’m a bit more involved in the builds and projects. My job now is much more technically involved than it was.
Can you tell us a little about your day-to-day role?
Day-to-day I manage third line escalation, meaning I’m the escalation point for the first and second line engineers. I’m the person that people come to when projects need more detailed investigation! I also manage some of the project builds for the future go-lives and future migrations, and I work on the site visits for the migrations too.
What’s your favourite aspect of your job at TechCare?
I really enjoy how varied my role is. I’m not pigeon-holed into one area. I do lots of different things like support, builds and project work. I have a really varied input, which as an MCSE certified professional means I can really put my skills into action. I like working across multiple projects during the day as it never gets boring.
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not at work?
I like to run, and I also teach for the army reserve. I used to be in the RAF, which led me on the path to teaching for the army. I currently teach ‘skill at arms’ which is how to handle a rifle safely and the loading processes – so a very different role compared to my work within TechCare! I also teach drill, and this weekend I’m taking a group of students out camping to learn lots of different skills that they would need in the army. It’s exciting, and I’ve loved being a part of it over the years. I’ve been involved with the armed forces since I was 18, but now I’m 51, and so I feel the time has come to hang up my army boots, so I’m finishing my involvement at the end of this year.
Would you like to meet our other team members? Head to https://techcare.co.uk/meet-the-team/ for more information.
Self-taught John is excited about the future with TechCare.
You know about TechCare’s dedication to excellent service, our passion for everything tech and how much we care about our customers. But every so often we think you might like to learn more about our people. That’s why we like to bring you regular interviews with members of our team so you can find out all about their background, what led them to us and what makes them tick. In our latest TechCare Team Spotlight interview, it’s the turn of John Hoey, TechCare’s new SEO Executive.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about your background?
During this time, I started my own freelance business, as well. I was carrying out web development for companies, both B2B and B2C. From there, I found a lot of companies were looking for help with SEO because they wanted to be at the top of Google. So I thought I’d give it a go and teach myself. So from there I began working with clients on SEO and then the breakthrough came with a digital marketing agency in Staffordshire where I did a few bits of freelance work which led to a full-time position as SEO Manager. Then I got to know Karl, the MD of TechCare, through them after meeting at several networking events, and then a few weeks ago, we began the conversation about me coming on board with TechCare. It’s all happened very quickly!
Q: Have you always had an interest in technology, and if so, why?
A: Yes, definitely. I’ve always loved figuring out how things work. My Dad is a Business Improvement Manager, and so he’s done a lot of work on operational excellence and similar things, and so it’s very structured in breaking things down to a process level. I like to think about things in that way, asking how does it work and why does it work? Anything from computers to guitars, I’ve always been a bit of a gadget geek – I like having a good play around!
Q: Do you have any significant professional goals you’re still aiming for, and if so, can you tell us about them?
A: Yes, of course. The word ‘guru’ gets thrown around a lot in the SEO business, and although I wouldn’t necessarily say I want to be a guru, I do want to be the subject matter expert for TechCare. I want people to see that I have a good reputation and a good grounding, and I’d like to be able to build on the trust I have with clients to be able to offer this type of service. I want people to come to TechCare and me for help with improving their Google search results. And then from there, I want to expand onwards and upwards to other areas and help the team out where I can, with things such as UX and web development.
Q: What excites you about the future with TechCare?
A: Speaking to Karl about the thoughts he has for the future. He has some big plans, especially in the area that he’s brought me on board for and so that’s exciting for me. With Covid-19, we’ve seen a significant shift lately with people’s digital footprint. There’s a lot of companies coming online now that probably relied on a more retail-based plan rather than the digital side of things, and I think it’s perhaps brought forward a lot more companies’ plans to move towards a digital platform than 6 months ago. We’re seeing across the board that a lot of people are starting to build new websites and build up their digital marketing experience, plus we’ve also seen a lot of people asking about SEO contracts over the last 5-6 months and I think that’s only going to increase as we move forward.
Q: In your opinion, is education or on-the-job experience more important for someone who wants a job like yours?
A: It’s always good to work with people who have experience. Other people may have expertise in areas that you don’t, and you can learn from that. Everything is interlinked in marketing so there’s going to be things that you can take from SEO for example that you can implement in other areas of marketing. Also there are parts of general marketing that you can use in SEO, like customer personas and things like that. You really can’t beat on-the-job experience to teach you how to be proactive as well as reactive to various situations and client needs.
Look out for our next TechCare Team Spotlight interview where we’ll be sharing insights from another team member very soon!
Here at TechCare, we like to think of our team as a family, that’s why we want to get to know them properly. And we believe you would like to get to know them too! To that end, every so often we like to have a chat with our members of staff to find out a little about their role and what makes them tick. This month we chat with Debbie Toombs, our Executive Assistant.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your role?
A: I have worked at TechCare since October 2018, and my role has developed significantly over that time. I predominantly look after Payroll, HR, Cash Flow, Accounts Payable, Staff Training and Health & Safety. So as you can imagine, my job is varied, busy and I rarely have a dull moment! I try and make sure that the whole team can carry out their roles without having to think about the smaller details.
Q: What’s your favourite aspect of your job at TechCare?
A: Multi-tasking and problem-solving. I love the variety of the role and taking on new challenges.
Q: Tell us about your team. What’s it like working with them?
A: Having worked for several years in a variety of roles within administration and business management this is, without doubt, the most dynamic team I have ever worked with.
There is a culture here that no one is above anyone else, and everyone is positively encouraged to contribute freely. It’s a friendly, positive and highly-skilled team with the same common goal – providing excellent customer service and making TechCare the best! It is an absolute pleasure to work with them.
Q: How do you like to spend your time when not at work?
A: I adore my family and have two granddaughters who I spend as much time as possible with. They often spend weekends with my husband, Paul, and I in Stratford.
I am an avid reader and particularly enjoy crime fiction. I am currently reading the work of Karin Slaughter. As a child, I loved Enid Blyton and the classics.
Thirdly I love a game of golf and was honoured to have been the lady captain of Walmley Golf Club. At my lowest handicap, I was off 8 and currently playoff 11. It’s such a fantastic way to spend a day, especially when the sun is shining, and there is a nice cold beer at the end of the game.
Q: If you could sum up your job at TechCare in 3 words, what would they be?
A: Rewarding, supportive and friendly.
Look out for our next TechCare Team Spotlight interview next month!
As part of our new Spotlight Interview feature, each month we’ll be catching up with members of the TechCare team to explain a little more about their role, what they do every day and what they love about working at TechCare. This month we’re talking to Oliver Aleksejuk, our Head of Operations.
Oliver, who joined TechCare last summer and has been instrumental in helping the company on its journey of growth. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: How long have you worked at TechCare, and what attracted you to the company?
A: It’s been just over 12 months since I joined and to be honest, it was mainly Karl who attracted me to the company. I’d known Karl for around 7 years. He tried to get me on board when TechCare was young – about 3 years old. But at the time, it wasn’t a fit for me, so I accepted a role from another company. But Karl and I kept bumping into each other from time to time, and he always said to me that I was ‘the one that got away’!
Finally, after having spent seven years as Head of Infrastructure at a sizeable commercial catering spares company in Cannock, I was ready for a change. I ended up catching up with Karl, and he told me where TechCare was at and what they’d been up to, and then within the next month, I was working at TechCare! The prospect of joining the company at such an exciting time was what attracted me to the business. Karl wanted my experience in terms of knowing what a larger company wants from IT, to help TechCare on its journey to the next level, and that really appealed to me.
The last 12 months have been exciting, and we’ve changed quite a lot. The service desk has changed significantly. I don’t think Karl envisaged what it would look like in 12 months, but we’re really on the way to meeting some key goals now. We are in a position now to help companies that we wouldn’t have been able to serve a year ago.
Q: Can you tell me a little more about your role at TechCare and what it is you do day-to-day?
A: When I joined TechCare, Karl was doing everything – technical escalation, operations management and marketing. As with a lot of small businesses, the Managing Director ends up wearing a lot of different hats. He recognised that we couldn’t grow the business by doing that, and he understood that we needed to have people on board that he could split those responsibilities across.
So my role takes care of some of the more technical aspects of the business. I’m the person who takes control and tells people step by step how to rectify things when things go wrong. I also help with the operations side of things. We’ve got some engineers who are out on the road, and I make sure everyone’s got what they need to move forward and do what they need to do. There’s also the customer side of it, which was my main focus. Ensuring that our customers’ tech is exactly what they need is my primary drive.
For example, a business will come to us and say ‘I’ve got X amount of users, what do I need?’ Then I can tell them what they need and what’s cost-effective. It’s that top-level advice that doesn’t beat around the bush by telling people what their best options are that makes us stand out. We are honest. We don’t believe in just giving people the cheapest option, so we’ll tell them that although something might be a little more expensive, it will actually last them X times longer than the cheaper choice. We put solutions in place that will go the distance.
I do a lot in this role, but we’re like any small business, we’re focusing on growth – Karl is looking at it from an external point of view, whilst I’m focused on the internal growth, not only with technology but also with staff and processes.
Q: What’s your favourite aspect of your job at TechCare?
A: It has to be building solutions for customers, as I mentioned before. I love going to someone and telling them what they can do with the budget they have, and in what ways it will improve their business.
It’s about telling them the important things, like how much their return on investment with certain solutions will be, and how it will increase efficiency. I love letting them know new and improved things we can add, as things are developing all the time. That’s what they want from their investment in TechCare and being the facilitator for that is exciting.
Q: Was there any part of your role at TechCare that you were apprehensive about at first? If so, how do you feel about it now?
A: Yes, the main one was about getting involved with small businesses. There’s always the worry that a small business won’t respect IT, and therefore won’t want to invest in it. But, it’s been a pleasant surprise. Of course, you’re always going to get those businesses that feel that way, but at the same time there are a lot of companies out there that want to invest in IT, and that’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed seeing.
With the pandemic, the shift towards IT has been massive. People have had to invest in it, and now they’re reaping the rewards – people are working remotely and realising that they can do business from anywhere. Technology has become a facilitator for companies to increase sales, improve reach and just about anything they want really!
Q: Finally, what tech gadget could you not live without?
A: It’s got to be my phone; I could not live without it. I think it’s just because of my role – I use it for everything. I get my emails on it, our ticket system app is on there, even the server monitoring is on there, so I’ll get any alerts on there. It does make it impossible to switch off from work, but I’d rather that than wake up in the morning and find that there’s been a problem I didn’t know about!
In the Spotlight next time is our Executive Assistant, Debbie Toombs.
It’s an exciting time for the team here at TechCare. As we continue to expand the business and grow our client base, we thought the time was right to team up with an organisation that helps ‘British businesses to build relationships on every level’ – the Chamber of Commerce!
We’re confident that joining this fantastic and well-respected network will give TechCare the chance to connect with countless other businesses locally, nationally and internationally, providing us with boundless opportunities to grow – which is sure to be beneficial for us as well as our clients.
Several of our clients have been members for some time, and so we’d already heard about the benefits of joining from them. As we talked more and more with these clients, they explained further about how joining could benefit TechCare and assist us on our journey of growth.
The support that we’ll receive from being a member of the Chamber, especially through the presentations and events, will help provide a growing business like ours with a considerable amount of valuable insight and advice, and the peer group support available is going to be really beneficial, and probably what we are most excited about!
In addition to the benefits we will get from being part of the Chamber, we also feel that TechCare has lots to offer other members as well. Our MD, Karl Frankham, said: “Our team of business and technology professionals have over 100 years of combined expertise. I believe the value-based content we share can help members to better understand how technology can help their business not just survive but thrive in these uncertain times.
“Whether a client is looking for an outsourced IT partner, a communications specialist or a bespoke software developer, we can help them with our team of experts.”
We’re really excited about what the future holds in terms of our Chamber membership, and we’re looking forward to you – our clients and suppliers – taking that journey with us, and hopefully reaping some of the benefits that, inevitably, this affiliation will bring to all of us.
For more information about TechCare or to talk to us about how we can help with your business’s IT needs, please contact us https://techcare.co.uk/contact/.