It’s Greeta Sagris’ turn in the spotlight this month. A self-confessed tech novice – not to mention a straight talker – she is a breath of fresh air at Vapour’s HQ. She loves communication, processes, teamwork – and dogs!

Greeta, it’s over to you…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

This is actually my first job in the sector. I work in a process capacity, rather than on the tech side, pulling together my organisational skills from previous roles, to make sure the right things get done, to the right standard, at the right time.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

An ANCIENT Gameboy, Tetris and Snake.

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

Communication and determination. I talk A LOT, so this role is right up my street! It helps keep everyone in the loop as well and gets things done!

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

As I’m not from a techy background myself, it’s really struck me how much terminology is used. Some of it is relevant, of course, but the industry’s misuse and over-reliance on jargon is something Vapour is trying to change.

If you’re the CEO of an organisation preparing for a digital transformation project, for example, you don’t need to be bombarded with the specifics of the toolkit, so long as you know that the solution being recommended is going to achieve the outcomes you’re striving for. This is the simple, straight-talking language we should be focusing on.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

For our innovation and creativity – we are striving to be at the forefront of technology services, and disrupt along the way to change the face of what’s possible (without the headaches!)

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... the iPhone!

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... a new bigger, smart TV (or stronger glasses!)

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Amazon.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that... it’s all about physical technology – there is so much that goes on behind the scenes, and we receive as much praise for our people, as we do our products!

By the end of 2021, our tech will have made organisations far more... flexible and secure.

Disruptive cloud technology specialist Vapour has made a number of team changes to support the company’s progress towards £7m turnover, as announced last month.

Long-standing operations lead Carol McGrotty – who has been with the business almost since its inception – has moved into the new role of head of transformation.

The promotion – in what marks her 20th year in the telecoms sector – will see her assume responsibility for all aspects of Vapour’s service delivery. Managing the technical, field and administrative teams, she will define the operating model and capabilities required to run successful TechOps and business support functions, in an ever-changing technical climate.

“I met Carol when we both worked at Virgin Media Business, and her tenacity to get the job done was outstanding,” explained Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer. “She built relationships in our complex space and found ways to devise processes that meant nothing ever slipped, but innovation wasn’t hampered either.

“As soon as we could afford her, we brought her into the Vapour team – and she’s played a demonstrable part in our growth and quality standards, ever since. She’s worked her way up, devised processes we never knew we needed and, ultimately, transformed the company. Now, she’ll play a crucial part in delivering those same benefits to customers.”

Carol has been quick to build her growing team, with Adam Greenhalgh joining the business as service desk lead, and network engineer Richard Sasu enhancing Vapour’s technical capacity.

The arrival of a new account manager, Avaya engineer, and pre-sales engineer are also imminent.

Carol elaborated: “As we push for further growth, it’s important that we press on as one unified team, with one consistent strategy and one shared goal. We laid the foundations for this in 2020, focusing highly on our culture, values, employee engagement, wellbeing and succession planning. Now we’ve got the ingredients to be able to accelerate everything – to achieve operational excellence, superior customer experiences and the personal growth of our teams.”

“I’m passionate about seeing more women in tech too, from apprenticeship-level roles right through to seats at the boardroom table,” Carol continued. “This shouldn’t need to be such a focal part of the industry’s agenda, but for as long as there’s work to be done – in terms of all forms of equality and diversity in our space – I’ll keep banging that drum!”

In keeping with its promise to seamlessly deliver the hidden technologies that drive powerful businesses, Vapour revealed its new-look proposition last month. A fresh identity for the company was used to announce three exciting industry collaborations with Tech Data, Fortinet and Veeam.

It’s Salim Ramzan’s turn in the spotlight this month. An Acorn Electron kickstarted his love for gadgets, and now the Computer Science graduate is one of the most technically respected members of our team. Get to know our senior network engineer a little better, as he talks everything from self-discipline to SD-WAN…

How did you first get into the world of tech?
I’ve always been fascinated with technology and gadgets from a young age, so I decided to study Computer Science at university.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?
I can remember using an Acorn Electron games console – it used a cassette to load the game which I recall took forever (if you were lucky!!)

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?
Be a team player – that involves being proactive, self-disciplined and positive.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?
There’s not a lot I’d change, to be honest, but I think we’ll continue to see plenty further developments as the sector – and wider business community – recovers from Covid-19.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?
Because we provide diverse and innovative offerings that don’t are far more than gimmicks – they really meet today’s business needs. Cloud, connectivity and voice has been our mainstay since 2013, but our toolkit has now expanded significantly!

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... the internet!

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... SD-WAN.

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Fortinet.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that virtualisation is the same thing as cloud computing.

By the end of 2021, our tech will have made organisations… far more secure and geared up for new challenges and opportunities.

Cloud technology specialist Vapour has announced a trio of powerful new industry collaborations as the company moves into its next era of growth. The news marks a £350k investment in its toolkit, and the creation of at least seven additional jobs, as Vapour eyes £7m turnover by the end of 2021.

The Yorkshire-headquartered firm has been appointed as a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (Microsoft CSP), having signed a new deal with global distributor Tech Data. This means organisations can source any Microsoft product or service, through Vapour – including Teams licences, Azure, hybrid cloud, and backups – with one wrap-around support solution and analytics across the collaboration stack. Customer support will be provided by Vapour’s own specialist engineers, who will triage enquiries and call upon Tech Data’s own helpdesk if required, with direct escalation into Microsoft if needed.

Elsewhere, Vapour has enhanced its relationship with existing firewall partner Fortinet, to launch a security-first SD-WAN network proposition with zero touch provisioning. This move comes in response to market demand for cost-effective hybrid cloud solutions that deliver greater agility, network performance and real-time control.

With SD-WAN overlays available for MPLS networks, as well as ‘plug and play’ SD-WAN boxes to protect corporate traffic in remote working setups, it is anticipated that this new proposition will prove popular among businesses with a cloud-first roadmap – especially those with satellite operations and homeworkers.

The third collaboration sees Vapour further cement its long-standing relationship with Veeam, with the launch of a new suite of hybrid backup, data management, servers, storage and disaster recovery solutions, for customers large and small.

The partnerships – which have been almost 12 months in the making – coincide with a complete rebrand for the company, as it nears its eighth anniversary.

However, the changes signify far more than a new visual identity, explains CEO Tim Mercer.

“When we entered the voice market in 2013, we were very vocal about what cloud could do,” he said. “In truth, people weren’t really ready, yet with the support of our investors, a considered recruitment strategy, and a lot of hard graft, we built an ultra-resilient network – not to mention a straight-talking reputation – which transformed the space.

“Fast forward to 2020 and I knew we could do more. I knew our network could be a real enabler of digital transformation. So, as part of our work with Barclays and Cambridge Judge Business School, we challenged every part of our organisation. We enjoy innovating. We aren’t afraid to disrupt. And now I think we can shake up the norm in wider segments of the market too – especially with these tech giants by our side.”

Industry collaborations have always been key to Vapour’s route-to-market, and that’s not about to change.

“We’re saying to companies of all shapes and sizes, you bring the challenge – however complex – and we’ll bring the solution,” continued Tim. “We’ll continue to collaborate with resellers throughout the channel and hope we can further strengthen their proposition by enhancing our toolkit, while satisfying some of the opportunities that are coming in directly to our business too.”

Other new additions to Vapour’s toolkit include robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities, UC&C analytics, and a more defined consultancy service to bring the tech stack together.

“It would have been easy to rein things in when Covid-19 hit,” admitted Tim. “And the economic backdrop has naturally caused vast uncertainty for many. But we had three big projects on our ‘hit list’ for 2020, and we actually accelerated our growth plans as the year unfolded.

“We’ve more significant announcements to come throughout 2021, but the rebrand represents the start of something really exciting for our team – that’s why they played such a crucial part in shaping how we’ll look, sound and behave, moving forward.”

To further discuss the contents of this press release, or to arrange an interview with any of the parties highlighted throughout, please contact Katie Mallinson at Scriba PR, on T: 0044 7751 615110 or
E: katie@scribapr.com.

Known for helping organisations unleash the power of cloud computing, whatever their size, we’ve put our heads together to give companies a much-needed boost during 2021.

SAVE ON INDUSTRY-LEADING CLOUD TECHNOLOGY… IN THREE EASY STEPS!

1.Vapour’s secure cloud servers 

State-of-the-art cloud hosting with 99.999% uptime, in our secure, private, ISO27001-accredited data centres.

Benefit from three months’ half price on any IaaS bundle and achieve increased security, resilience, scalability, performance and support from cloud-specialist engineers:

Small Hosted server bundle2 Core CPU, 4GB RAM, 40GB SSD£38 per month*
Medium Hosted Server Bundle4 Core CPU, 8GB RAM, 80GB SSD£78 per month*
Large Hosted Server Bundle8 Core CPU, 16GB RAM, 200GB SSD£159 per month*
With storage of only £0.05 per 1Gb and free migration*excludes licenses

2. Industry-leading Veeam cloud backups

Recover the data you need, quickly and with minimal fuss, if the unexpected happens, to reduce downtime and maintain BAU.

Backup workload typesCost per unit
Workstation£3.00
VM£5.00
Physical server£8.00

And now save even more:

12-month contract50% off for 3 months
24-month contract50% off for 6 months
36-month contract50% off for 9 months
Includes free migration!

3. Microsoft 365 backups

Microsoft 365 usage exploded in 2020, but why do so few businesses backup their accounts?

We can help, now for only £1.50 per user.

Resellers can also contact us to explore additional savings.

Commenting on the launch of these special bundles, sales manager Alec Stephens said: “We don’t typically push price-led offers, as our OpEx budget-friendly models are packed full of value and customers are often hoodwinked into ‘deals’ that end up not-fit-for-purpose.

“But so many organisations came to us last year because they didn’t have the cloud infrastructures they needed – and business continuity and disaster recovery is hard to deliver in retrospect! We know that IT decision makers need to achieve more, with less, so we want to ensure their budgets work harder. And, rather than focusing only on short term projects, we can help deliver future-proofed infrastructures, with quick turnaround.”

Offers end 31 March 2021.

To discuss any of these promotions, please call 0333 200 1142, email sales@vapourcloud.com or complete our short enquiry form.

‘Christmas came early’ for the students at Brian Jackson College – that was the sentiment of headteacher Jacqueline Green, when local businessman Tim Mercer recently dropped in.

The tech boss of Elland-headquartered Vapour collected up more than a dozen refurbished laptops and handed them over to the youngsters at their Lincoln Street centre, as an early ‘Christmas present’. They’ll now be used in lessons at the Huddersfield and Heckmondwike sites, and will be made available for home study as and when the pupils need them.

But there could be even more to come from the collaboration, it has since emerged.

“We’re sadly all too aware of the digital divide that continues to put young people’s future potential at risk,” commented Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer. “And with no way of knowing if or when the UK will face further lockdown restrictions in 2021, we wanted to make even a small pledge to help these young people continue their learning – whatever Covid-19 throws at them.

“However, I found the visit to Brian Jackson College even more inspiring than I thought I would. There was a great buzz about the place and a real family feel, with no judgment. So, I quickly began to think what more we could do.”

With an ethos of providing care, guidance and support for young people experiencing difficulties with mainstream school education, the College was born out of a 2001 project designed to meet the needs of students in years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4). Now a not-for-profit run by Yorkshire Children’s Centre, its mission is to offer a fresh start to all students, to nurture their self-belief and aspirations that encourage positive progression.

Jacqui Green elaborated: “Our students have a range of social, emotional and mental health needs, and everyone is different. We work hard to break down any barriers that could obstruct their development and explore multiple ways to engage them with academic and vocational learning, as well as experiential therapy.

“Our vision is a future where all young people can achieve their full potential in life. But as part of a registered charity, we rely greatly on fundraising efforts, beneficiaries and donations. We sometimes even struggle to get hold of workbooks and pens. So, when we met Tim, we were blown away by the kindness of the tech donation. And I’m told that he was so impressed by what we’re doing at the College – and some of the students he met on the day – that he has even more ideas to help us in 2021.”

Tim plans to revisit the College in early 2021 with further supplies and hopes to spend more time with the youngsters to talk to them about some of the difficult choices you can make to change the path your life may go down.

“Even though I was only with Jacqui and her team for a short while, I felt really connected to the centre and what they are achieving with limited services. I’d love to do more to help and think more businesses should do the same,” he said. 

“Mainstream school may not be for these kids, but it doesn’t mean they can’t achieve great things, with the right environment and support. My father died when I was young and we didn’t have a lot. I didn’t particularly enjoy school and I joined the Army to get away.

“Hopefully some of the students might relate to my experiences. And if not, I’m happy to roll my sleeves up and just help out when it comes to making lunch!”

Jacqui concluded: “We’re beyond grateful for Tim’s generosity and proud of our students for the impact they made. Yes, their behaviour can be challenging, but it just goes to show how special our offering is – and only a small proportion of the population knows what we’re up to!”

Receiving referrals from Kirklees schools every week, Brian Jackson College has capacity for 80 students across its Huddersfield and Heckmondwike sites. For further information, visit Yorkshire Children’s Centre – and watch this space to see what happens next thanks to this Vapour collaboration!

As we enter the final weeks of 2020, we invited our team to reflect on their highlights from the past 12 months. We warmly received plenty of ‘best-bits’ from what has been an unforgettable year, showing that even through tricky times, our business stayed people-focused for both our customers and employees.

Here’s what some of the team had to say…

Tim Mercer, CEO: We delivered on the strategy devised in 2019 and created the same amount of new business growth as we did last year too – which, during the pandemic, feels like a huge achievement! Starting my podcast series ‘Between the eyes’ and learning to not over think or over complicate, have also been key takeaways from this year.

Carol McGrotty, head of operations & compliance: This year, we’ve made strides in our green policy and mission statement – everyone at Vapour has jumped onboard to support this.

Greeta Sagris, executive & team administrator: My highlight has to be joining the Vapour Cloud team this November!

Alec Stephens, sales manager: Every member of Vapour Cloud has grown – taking on new responsibilities, working collaboratively whilst spread across the UK.

Jill Playfair, finance manager: My highlight for 2020 must be putting up Christmas decorations in anticipation of the lift of lockdown 2.0. It gave colleagues a really warm welcome back.

Amanda Harrison, desktop project manager: We were always a good team – however, I feel that I have really got to know my colleagues better this year. We’ve worked with some lovely customers, delivering projects, and my involvement with the roll out of new products has been challenging and fun!

Damien Collard, voice engineer: My best-bit from 2020 must be launching VSS – Vapour’s subscription service – and us welcoming Joel’s baby Ralphy into the world!

James Wood, account manager: Rocking up to work and seeing the boss convert the carpark into his own personal gym!

Jason Fenwick, senior cloud infrastructure engineer: In October, we finally announced the launch of The A-Z of workplace technology’! Covering everything from analytics to Gen Zs, it is packed full of actionable advice from dozens of industry experts.

Adam Wolstenholme, finance assistant: Putting up the Christmas tree as the festive season is finally here!

Emma Haywood, digital marketing consultant: My highlight of this year was getting the first webinar underway in September. I made the 5-hour journey to the North to be in the office, and the whole team tuned in and clapped when it had finished.

Besides our team’s highlights, CarolAlec and CEO, Tim Mercer, ‘graduated’ from the Barclays Scale Up UK Programme 2020 in association with Cambridge Judge Business School.

Let’s wrap up this year by saying thank you for your continued support – we’ll be here to provide even more straight-talking solutions for all your cloud technology needs as we transition into a brighter 2021.

Keep your eyes peeled for some big announcements in January.

A few months ago, we revealed the launch of a straight-talking new podcast, brought to you by our CEO Tim Mercer. In only a matter of days, Between the Eyes quickly rocketed up the entrepreneur charts, and we were soon inundated with people asking when the next episodes would drop.

We’re delighted to confirm that the wait is over – back by popular demand, the first interview of season two is now live on Spotify and iTunes, with a new episode airing each consecutive Sunday.

Between the Eyes – Tim’s brainchild – was launched back in July, to provide listeners with an unfiltered and honest insight into the twists, turns and challenges facing businesspeople at varying stages in their careers.

Armed with a strong line up of interesting guests – from Dragon’s Den star and founder of makeup brand War Paint for men, Danny Gray, to trailblazer Harry Bliss, founder and #CEO of

Champion Health – the popularity of the series was evident as it soared up the entrepreneur podcast ranks by 200 places, to reach number 30 in a matter of weeks!

Commenting on the success of series one, Tim noted: “It was fantastic to see receive such a great response from our listeners. We set out to make the podcast as frank and interesting as possible, without skirting over sometimes uncomfortable topics.

“This new series is no different, as we uncover some of the biggest obstacles confronting the business world in the current climate, and some of the ‘chewiest’ leadership challenges people encounter. There’s everything from futurology to the Special Forces. I’m excited for our followers to listen for themselves.”

The first guest to step up to the mic for series two was Wayne Hoyle – a Yorkshireman who went from a council estate in Halifax, to encountering every major conflict since the mid-80s and receiving the Queen’s commendation for bravery.

Also set to feature on the show are Jamie Coan and Richard Peck, founders of Eison; Nicola Millard, futurist and principal innovations partner for BT; Jacob Hill, founder of Offploy; and onetime coach and captain of the England lacrosse team, Rick Cotgreave – who also happens to be the former school teacher of Vapour’s sales manager, Alec Stephens.  

Tune into series two via your preferred streaming service:

Members of Vapour Cloud’s management team rolled their sleeves up this week as part of our ongoing efforts to raise funds for this year’s chosen worthy cause, CLIC Sargent.

We announced our 12-month pledge to dig deep for this hardworking children’s charity, at the start of summer. And as September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it seemed the perfect time to get the whole business involved.

So, following our usual Monday morning meeting, the whole team headed outside for a pop-up car wash!

Vapour’s CEO Tim, head of operations Carol, sales manager Alec, finance manager Jill and head of engineering Craig Holmes got to work cleaning colleagues’ vehicles, in return for a £7 donation per car.

But the senior team didn’t stop there. They also promised to more than quadruple the funds they would personally donate, if an employee got to work on their car!

“It was a nice way to kick off the week,” commented Vapour’s charity champion Emily Potter. “At times there were bubbles everywhere, which naturally raised a lot of smiles as well as more than £200 for an organisation we care a lot about.”

With plenty coming up on Vapour’s fundraising agenda, the team is particularly excited about taking part in the Huddersfield Santa Dash and Reindeer Run with families, at the end of the year!

It’s Alec’s turn in the spotlight this month – here, our sales and strategic accounts manager talks corkscrews, complexity and why Vapour will always constructively challenge…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I fell into it – four days after returning from travelling in 2004 – when I began working in a call centre for Telewest Business in Sheffield.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

Either ‘Roland on the Ropes’ on the Amstrad, or my mum and dad’s old hi-fi system. Either way it’s far later than some people at Vapour (*cough*, Tim), but much earlier than others.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

Can I have two? One would be removing the complexity. Yes, what we do is critical, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. It should be simple.

The other is my ever-present pet peeve of companies with big sales and marketing functions, but hardly any support in the back-end. It always leads to a bad customer experience.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

We challenge everyone, all the time. It’s very rare we will work with a partner or end user and just deliver what they ask for straight away. We bring experience to the table and use it constructively to ensure the best outcome.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...a corkscrew.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... I’m eying up an Apple Watch.

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is...SpaceX. Topical, I know, but they are bonkers!

The biggest misconception in the channel is that...cheapest always wins.

By the end of 2020, our tech will have made organisations far more...confident.

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