Helping you with your IT projects is a lot like helping you build an extension

Hands pointing to a laptop in an office

If you were looking to build an extension on your home, where would you start?

Would it be with a sledgehammer and pile of bricks?

Or would it be with an architect, who can tell you what you can and can’t do, and the implications of your choices?

Unless you happen to be an architect, it would most likely be the latter. And you’d have good reason to…

Take, for example, the process of extending a kitchen. You might want to knock down a wall, but if it’s load-bearing, the process isn’t so straightforward – and you’d rather not see your home collapse.

Or you might want to add some windows, but you’re not sure where they should be positioned for the best light, or how they might affect the temperature and humidity of the room.

In both instances – and many, many more – your architect will consider your aims and give you expert advice on how to best achieve them, looking at all the possible outcomes of your choices. And they’d probably do this before you hired a builder – and certainly long before anyone took a sledgehammer to your home.

And so, armed with clear plans based on professional advice and experience, you’d be able turn your dream home into a reality.

Perhaps you’re now asking why should home renovations matter to you as an IT professional?

Well, it’s an analogy that lends itself to our new, unique consulting service. But before I get to the nuts and bolts of it, here’s a little context.

In the UK, some 63,000 professionals work in consultancy roles, in a market that’s worth around £10 billion. Of that market, some 28 per cent work in technology – and consequently, you’d be justified to feel a little swamped for choice if you were looking for guidance on an IT project.

At the same time, you may have picked up on certain headlines about consultancies – stories that quite rightly reveal some of the more unsavoury practices of the big consultancy firms.

And consequently, you might be wondering if consulting is all it’s cracked up to be – and if you should even continue reading.

But stop right there.

You might have noticed I referred to our new programme as a ‘consulting’ service, rather than a ‘consultancy’. But if you didn’t, you’d be forgiven – after all, it’s only a few letters different.

Let me explain this deliberate wording: although we offer IT consulting, we are not a consultancy.

And it’s an important distinction, because at our heart, we’re a very practical, hands-on business technology provider, with the scars to prove it.

And so, when we talk about ‘consulting’ – it’s exactly that in its truest sense. As with the architect analogy, you’ll talk to us about what you’d like to achieve, and we’ll help you get there. And we’ve already been doing this for many years, with clients as varied as the smallest SME, to large public sector organisations, like Kent NHS.

Of course this all sounds too simple to be true, so let’s look more closely at the details.

In the case of our consulting service, we have some specific offerings that we’ve developed based on the experiences of our clients. For them, IT tends to pose an overwhelming number of choices and infinite complexity.

Two areas this is particularly true is in cybersecurity and cloud. And so, we’ve developed our Security Readiness Assessment and Cloud Readiness Assessment. There’s a practical example of how these work below.

You might notice that the names of these packages are pretty self-explanatory. And there’s another important quirk of wording – we believe the world of business IT is already too complicated without grandiose names. So when you talk to us about either of these programmes, you’ll get approachable, friendly advice that’s built around real customers, not our sales agenda.

And this brings me onto another couple of points about our consulting service – points that make the service unique.

Firstly, we are genuinely vendor-agnostic. And so, while we work with a wide range of technology partners, we’ll never push you towards a particular product or service. Our priority is developing loyal customers and to achieve that, we know that it’s no good to be one-hit wonders.

Secondly, our people are unique and remarkable.

Of course, every company has unique people – and most companies talk about their people when in self-promotion mode. So allow me to elaborate on something that stands out for our clients: our people know their work inside out and back to front – but they also know what they don’t know.

And by this, I mean that our people have humility with their knowledge. Because, perhaps more than others, technology is a rapidly-evolving field and no IT company should ever claim to be 100 per cent on top of technology – that’s not how technology works.

What really matters is having curious people who live and breathe problem solving – and who know where to turn when they don’t have the answers, in order to get the right answer and provide it in the most transparent way. This mindset became obvious to me when I recently asked my colleagues to write short statements about themselves for an internal project – as demonstrated by the responses from two colleagues:

“I have tested (and broken) firewalls that cost more than the house I live in!”

“My strongest attribute is being able to take this very technical world to someone who doesn’t understand the technology and break it down to point where they do understand the design and products available.”

And on that positive note, I’m going to leave it there. Well actually, I’m going to say thank you for reading – and that there will be more on the way about our consulting service. But if anything I’ve said here rings a bell, then do get in touch. You can find out more and make an enquiry here – and you can also find me on LinkedIn here.

  • How a Security Readiness Assessment could work for you: a real example

One company that has benefitted from our cybersecurity consulting is Premier Partnership (PP). The Doncaster-based firm offers leadership, management, health and safety training – and it was looking to tender for more public sector business. But to do so, it needed to strengthen its cybersecurity. Likewise, PP found that Cyber Essentials (CE) Plus certification was required to renew existing government contracts.

None of this was news to PP. As an AdEPT managed services customer, the company gained prior knowledge of these topics, since we make a point of proactively advising our customers of developments that affect them. In PP’s case, it meant we could help them go straight to Cyber Essentials (CE) Plus certification, bypassing the standard Cyber Essentials (CE) criteria.

To do this, we carried out a Pre-Cyber Essentials Security Check – or ‘Security Readiness Assessment’ – and highlighted the areas where PP needed to improve its cybersecurity, advising how they could be addressed. Next, we worked with PP to roll out these improvements, including networking changes, IT policy updates, and independent penetration testing.

After this methodical process, PP passed its Cyber Essentials (CE) Plus test first time, gaining full certification. PP can now confidently renew and tender for new government contracts knowing that its cybersecurity has significantly improved – to the benefit of their users, customers and partners.

Written by Tim Scott

Chief Commercial Officer at AdEPT