This woman has had her eye on me for 43 years!

Good luck Liz!

KC says thanks to Liz Ford

She has seen the restaurants I have eaten in and always known the names of the hotels I have stayed in. She probably could even tell you where I went on my honeymoon and which gifts I bought my wife for every birthday.

She is Liz Ford my Senior Personal Banking Manager from Lloyds in Accrington and is retiring today after 43 years of stunning service.

I went up to say thank you and good-bye and to wish her well in her retirement. It turns out I am not the only happy customer who she has kept out of the red and in the black. The room was filled with cards and flowers from well wishers.

Shirley Grimshaw, the Branch Manager who works with Liz and has herself been with the bank for 35 years, had this to say:

Liz and Shirly

Shirley Grimshaw, Branch Manager for 35 years with Liz

“It’s a really special day for Liz. We have 15 bouquets of flowers reflecting the fact that the service that she has been giving to customers over the 43 years she has been with us has been second to none. She will be sorely missed.”

I get inspired by people like Liz and Shirley who demonstrate the value of great service. So, thank you ladies. For both the service and the inspiration.

Liz, I wish you a fun filled and well deserved retirement.

Liz at Lloyds

Liz says goodbye to Lloyds Bank, Accrington after 43 years!

MTI expands into northern England to drive growth and innovation

It’s official – MTI has opened its Manchester office and we’re now offering our services to businesses across the north of England from this new base. Following the successful expansion of business operations into Scotland in 2011, it was the natural next step for MTI to continue its growth and innovation.

The expansion gives northern businesses access to our best-of-breed technology and our services including penetration testing, backup and recovery and all aspects of IT security and data centre design and implementation. MTI has always had a service presence in northern England, however we are now reaching out further to organisations in the mid-market and the Public and Higher Education sectors in the North West and North East.

Since MTI established business in Scotland at the end of 2011, we have seen a huge increase in demand for our solutions and services from businesses across the region. There are many organisations, both large and small, that feel not enough is being done to support them because they are not in the South East.

We are investing heavily to redress this balance. We now have the capability to be close to our northern customers and better understand their specific IT requirements.

Demise of 2e2 is a sad day for the world of business

I was genuinely saddened to read that 2e2 collapsed yesterday after failing to find a buyer. The harsh reality is that over 900 employees have been left suddenly without a job. The insolvency is being quoted as the biggest ever in the reseller-cum-integrator sector.

Whilst we all live in a competitive world, this does not detract from the fact that this is a gloomy day in the business world. I have genuine concerns for the employees, who were no doubt doing an excellent job and not responsible for the company’s demise.  Also affected will be the customer base, many of whom will be concerned about their own businesses as a result of this collapse.

Whilst competition brings out the best in many business situations, this type of failure affects us all. Customers will be wary about outsourcing to third-party companies as a result. Perhaps this is a good thing if it means that businesses like MTI get scrutinised more vigorously before businesses trust us with mission critical operations.

For what it is worth, we welcome that scrutiny and frankly, the harder you scrutinise our business stability the more likely you are to be fully abreast of your other partners and your own business. So please feel free to look under the hood. Caution is welcome and understood.

MTI’s success is leading to expansion

New office in Livingston

New office in Livingston

I’m delighted to report that our total bookings for Q4 2012 were 50% over the original target, and MTI is now growing 25% year-on-year. What a great way to end 2012, but the hard work doesn’t stop. We are focused on capitalising on this growth by expanding the business in several areas throughout 2013 and beyond.

MTI is opening a new office in Livingston as an extension of the successful Scottish arm of the business, which launched a year ago. This will allow us to expand our data security operations north by taking on further security personnel. In our Godalming HQ we’ve built out the specialist Secure Operations Centre (SOC) into a large 2700sqft space. We’re also increasing our investment in data security services, with a focus on doing more penetration testing. This is a great time to be part of MTI, with our success and expansion into new service areas and locations set to continue.

I’ll also take this opportunity to mention that Didier in France was our most successful sales person of last year. Congratulations to him and long may his and the rest of the sales team’s good work continue.

MTI is growing in Scotland

MTI is growing in Scotland

‘Big Data’ is more than just a buzzword

At MTI we’re proud of the industry-wide impact of our thought leadership on making the best of cloud computing and understanding the challenges and opportunities presented by ‘Big Data’.

Big Data, The Moving Parts: Fast Data, Big Ana...

Big Data, The Moving Parts: Fast Data, Big Analytics, and Deep Insight (Photo credit: Dion Hinchcliffe)

Our marketing director Richard Flanders recently got on his soapbox in the magazine Cloud Computing Intelligence, warning businesses that dismissing Big Data as a tech industry buzzword means missing out on improved efficiency and new revenue streams. The term was in fact borne out of a realisation that technology had advanced to a stage where businesses could store more data than they knew what to do with, so coming up with ways to make real use of it became a focus for technology innovators.

Big Data is of course not a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s in fact an umbrella term that refers to the unique situation and challenges for every business big and small in handling huge amounts of data. That’s where we come in – our expertise and consultation in knowing which storage infrastructure suits which business is crucial for both customers and the vendors whose technology we sell.

You can read Richard’s Big Data insight in full below.

Future gazing in Room 413

In a business like MTI, where excellent service and technical expertise are so central to what we do, it is vital to keep abreast of developments in the industry.

People often come to me with great news – “someone has closed a deal”, “my customer is really happy”, “a partner has given us an award”. These highlights make my day – but it can be dangerous if this is all I listen to. Part of my job is to look for trouble, find complexities or problems and anticipate issues. I can then move to fix them or prevent them from happening to us or our customers in the future. Of course, when everything falls into place, there is no problem and there is no feedback.

Last week the Institute of Directors, based in Pall Mall, London, hosted MTI for a series of meetings designed to empower us to avoid problems and resolve issues. Room 413 was the setting and the first meeting was a private seminar with leading law firm DAC Beachcroft LLP. The topics for discussion included Freedom of Information, Data Protection, Email Archiving and everything else to do with handling data within a company.  It was fascinating stuff that will enable us to help our customers and partners in the months and years ahead.

The magnificent Grade 1 listed building, the onetime London Residence of George IV, then welcomed a group of some of MTI’s longest serving customers to our Customer Conference. The carefully selected group included representatives from the financial services, public, healthcare and professional services sectors.

During the session, we asked for detailed, open and honest feedback and said that no subject was off the agenda. And boy did we get it. The session started at 12.30pm and wrapped up at around 6pm when the Chairman called time. I was humbled and honored by the commitment and investment of time our customers were willing to spend to make MTI better.

MTI was praised for the trust and reputation it has developed, which is very positive and I am delighted to learn about. The feedback also included many things we will be getting our teeth into. I was slightly surprised to learn that there seems to be a lack of awareness of our strength in the vertical sectors, and more needs to be done to ensure that customers understand our security capability. It also became very clear that the industry at large is confused about Cloud and that the managed services industry as a whole is suffering from a crisis in confidence, as promises are being broken and SLAs are not being met. Whilst these issues were not MTI’s doing, they present problems as well as opportunities for us.

So it was a day of listening for us. The key thing that came across from both sessions was the importance of independence and objectivity. Whether helping our customers with data protection or their transition to the Cloud, we will continue striving to improve our service and expertise.


MTI hosts the cream of French IT media at UK head office

MTI welcomed three top French journalists to its head office in Godalming last Thursday:

They were treated to an introduction to MTI’s world by Damian Saura, Vice President French Sales and Richard Flanders, Marketing Director. We then talked through MTI’s involvement in both the private and public Cloud, with a guide to our services and solutions by Simon Walters, Managed Services Director and Tony Conway, Vice President Customer Services.Bertrand Garé, Jacques Cheminat and Yann Serra are welcomed to MTI

I gave them an overview on our strategy and vision, with my overriding point being that people buy from people they like, so that’s why we have the best people in the business. The message I drove home was that MTI is small enough to care, but big enough to manage the largest and most demanding customers on a daily basis.

We wrapped things up by giving the journalists a guided tour of our secure operations centre and demo facility. They left full of appreciation for the trip and very impressed by MTI’s capabilities and expertise.

We put a lot of effort into maintaining and strengthening our relationships with IT journalists throughout Europe by providing them with quality customer case studies, expert articles and inviting them to press trips and regular informal lunches or dinners.

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