My name is Rob Marsh and I’m the MD of the Harleyford Group, which encompasses all different types of business including property development, property maintenance and our core business is marinas on the River Thames based in two sites, Shepperton and Marlow. We concentrate on rental of berths, brokerage and yard services, as well as dispensing petrol and fuel.
IT is growing so quickly it’s not our core business and it’s not what we understand. We needed somebody who could tell us the best ways to get the specific information we needed to put our charts and reports together and also talk to us about hardware and software, because it’s something we know nothing about.
If I came to you said ‘can you lift a 25 ton boat’ you wouldn’t know what to do. If someone came to me said ‘can your computer do this?’ I wouldn’t know what to do. So therefore I let Ziptech deal with it because they are the professionals.
I would say your response levels and times are far better than out last supplier. The way you log a ticket, then the way you are updated on the progress of that ticket is great. It’s a great system that works well.
When hardware or software goes down you want it fixed like yesterday. Because your business stops – so the communication between yourself and your IT supplier is critical. You need to know what’s being done, when it’s being done and when it is going to be completed. Without knowing this you don’t know when you can get on with emails, complete that report you were writing and that’s important – especially when you are working to a deadline.
What Ziptech did was to introduce me to preventative medicine. I think that companies like ourselves look at their budget every year and think ‘our IT is great, haven’t had any problems for the last 6 months, don’t really need to assign any money to that function.’ And then something goes wrong. To be honest computers are defunked after 4/5 years so what Ziptech did was to say to us that we do need to put money aside and continually update hardware and software. Things are getting quicker, people are using different operating systems and if you don’t come on board with these things you will find it more difficult the longer you leave it.
Our server had a major problem last year and was on the verge which would have been catastrophic. It would have meant that all of our offices would have gone down – there would have been no email communications between us or our clients – but we had put in preventative measures, by making sure we’ve got money in the budget to cover things like that which come out of the blue. I think all companies should take heed and put money aside. Because when things go wrong your business can come to a standstill overnight.
Day to day operations – it’s nice to have the reassurance of the Red Z in the bottom of your screen and if something goes wrong you can click on it and log a ticket or speak to Ziptech.
It’s like having your own IT department, which is what it’s all about, without the employment costs and costs of actually running that department, just by paying a monthly premium.
I’ve seen Ziptech grow and I think they have always managed to acquire people who can communicate and that’s really important. Especially when you have professionals dealing with laymen. I don’ t know anything about IT – I just want to be able to turn my computer on, make sure it works and if it doesn’t I want someone to fix it and deal with it. What Ziptech do is take on people who can communicate and put things in plain English.