My industry isn’t known for it’s fun and engaging service to the rest of humanity. If IT gets a mention at the friday beers, it’ll be because a techy let someone down again! Businesses around the world depend on IT support, but no-one gets excited about it. It’s time for a change!
I’d like to start by giving you the short version of how I ended up doing what I do. I’m much more of a creative, but was too scared to risk it as a job, so I headed to Uni to study Computer Science because I was good at it. Notice I didn’t say I enjoyed it. In fact, I’d sworn to myself never to do another computing course after A-level Computing! That changed when I received my results and my dad mentioned that Brighton University had spaces through Clearing for Computer Science.
I pressed through the degree and secured an internship with IBM. That paved the way for my career. After graduating, I worked for a number of service providers and ended up focussing on IT for creative environments (mainly Apple focussed). As years went by, I was out and about working with scores of customers of all shapes and sizes. I would hear feedback about their experience with IT service providers (including those I was working for), and took onboard much of what I heard.
Fast forward to 2013 when I set up Invona. Much of what I had been hearing from customers left me buzzing with energy to set up a fresh experience of IT. Mine would be different. But how?
Anyone who knows me would *hopefully* confirm this, but I’m generally a friendly guy. Our tag line as Invona has been “The friendly face of IT“, and that’s very deliberate. I wanted to start a managed service provider (MSP as we call them) who invested in strong authentic relationships with our customers. Now, in 2020, the relationships with our customers are stronger than ever and I expect many of them would happily refer to us technology “partners” more than an IT service desk who don’t know them and want to keep call times to a minimum!
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made mistakes and am still learning a lot about improving how we do things. There have been some “lessons” along the way. But even they have been settled on the basis of face to face conversation and working out what is best for the customer whilst being honest about our own needs as a business too. This only ends up underlining the strength of those relationships, credit to our amazing customers who I love working with.
Well now, you may be well aware of the lengthy contracts and tendency to tie businesses in for the long-haul, trapped so they can’t escape the poor level of service they actually end up receiving from an IT company attempting to “look after” as many contracts as possible with as few resources (techies) as they can get away with. Deep breath…
Notwithstanding the occasional need for a longer term contract in order to ensure you’re going to stick around and do what’s needed, we’ve worked with many of our customers on a month-to-month basis for years, allowing them to increase and decrease products and services as needed. We’re able to offer most of all of the services that other IT companies offer but without the same scary commitments (and lengthy cooling off periods).
This has enabled a couple of unexpected opportunities for us and our customers. Firstly, we’ve been able to work well alongside other service providers, supplementing what our customers already have in place, especially where our competitors fall short of meeting customer needs (don’t mean to brag)! Secondly, our customers are happy to try things out and see if they work for them and abandon them if they don’t. Most of the time they do work and they keep them (we wouldn’t recommend them if they were a bad fit).
We’re also flexible regarding how customers use our time. We don’t just want to leave people where they are, but help them go further. Time can be used for new projects, setting up new products and services, new team members, for consulting and various other needs. Like most IT companies, we can provide maintenance contracts and unlimited support, but we don’t leave it there. A key component that helps realise this is our regular off-the-clocks review meetings. These ensure we stay on the pulse, while also giving us the chance to see how we can continuously improve theirs and our systems and services.
We believe that no one should “have to” stay with us, but we’d much rather that they “want to“. Our hope is that this assures them of our commitment to them while demanding more accountability on our part and ensuring we deliver customer success as we partner with them for their journey.
Before I push the boat out, I should emphasise that I understand businesses need the core elements when it comes to IT services (support, cyber security, business continuity and disaster recovery, compliance, and so on and so forth). They need to be able to trust and rely on their IT products and services.
However, if that’s where we stop, it’s not much fun, just functional (see what I did there!?). One passion that drives me is efficiency, and another is pleasure. I believe that we should enjoy working with the technology we choose, especially if we use it day in, day out.
We need to find pleasure in our work. Alongside the fun of great relationships and humour playing it’s part, we also need to enjoy the tools we use. We don’t always need the most expensive gadgets to achieve that, but more just recognise where technology creates pain and where it eases it. Technology done badly eliminates efficiency, causes stress and frustration, leaving people with high blood pressure and RSI – oh, and a headache!! That is not what we wanted tecehnology to deliver.
So, let’s think about how technology is supporting our well being, providing a healthy foundation for not only carrying out the serious aspects of our work, but having fun while we do.
So there we have it. A fresh take on IT services. Human centred services offering various wins for our customers while making our jobs more fun and engaging.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can support your business, please do get in touch!
Founder & IT Consultant, Invona IT Services
With over 20 years experience working in IT, Daniel specialises in providing IT services to businesses. He left his role as an IT consultant in London and set up Invona back in 2013 after a number of organisations sought to engage his expertise. Leading up to that time, whilst working with many organisations, he identified common problems described with IT services, which Invona aims to address by providing a fresh experience of IT services built on very strong relationships with a smaller number of organisations.