It is Jordan’s turn in the spotlight this month, as he tells us about his days of playing FIFA 2004 on a PlayStation 1, his hope to see flying Tesla cars, and how he thinks the best piece of tech invented is the smart phone. 

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I initially wanted to be an electrician. Whilst I was doing my electrical courses in 2012, I was pleasantly introduced to my colleges 3x 48u racks full of cables, switches, and routers. Ever since I set my eyes on this, I was fixated. I asked my electrical tutor more questions about the rack than I did about 3 phase induction motors. 

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

My earliest memory has got to be playing FIFA 2004 on the PlayStation 1. I was bad at this game and probably experienced too many angry moments by not being able to score goals on easy mode. 

As well as this, the first time I can remember being exposed to tech was having my first mobile phone – a Nokia 65000 – and downloading the soundtrack to ‘War of the Worlds’ from a well-known free website called ‘LimeWire’. I had to transfer it onto one phone and then Bluetooth it over to my own phone – this took 3 hours!

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

I wouldn’t pinpoint one skill specifically. To thrive I think people need to have multiple skills. For example, Vapour is full of individuals with a broad range of skillsets, and this is where I feel I fit in well. 

I would say being diverse would make people thrive in any environment, especially at Vapour where technology is at its forefront. 

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

I wouldn’t change anything. I think the direction we’re heading in should help develop the world and help us understand what we need to do in the future. 

Although, I would like to see flying Tesla’s in a few years so if Elon can hurry up with that before I’m to old to drive and need a bus pass.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I think Vapour can service and manage any business model, with its vast range of technology offerings. There aren’t many companies out there that can offer this many and be good at it. 

Vapour offers numerous products that are great and still provides excellent service to the market. 

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... a Smart Phone

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wish list is... an 8k TV 65”, keychron k2 keyboardA tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Amazon

Vapour’s head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty, recently took part in a Q&A session for a feature on women in tech, with PCR magazine. If you missed it, you can read the article in full here...

1. Please could you provide name, job title, company

Carol McGrotty, Head of Transformation & Operations, Vapour

2. What is your professional background and how has this contributed to your current working position?

I joined the tech sector at the start of 2000, following a seven-year period working in insurance.  Initially, this was in a provisioning role delivering projects to enterprise and public sector customers, whilst also contributing to process improvement workstreams and new-to-market product launches. 

Having curiosity, a drive for purposeful transformation and a collaborative approach within the industry are still fundamentals in my position at Vapour today, as much as they were back when I began my tech journey.

3. What are your experiences of being a female tech leader?

For me it has always been a very positive experience, and I often refer to the fact that I am lucky in this regard – on reflection I wonder why this is, as surely it should be the norm for all females in this industry. When I started out in tech I had some very strong, knowledgeable and inspiring female leaders around me – who also then became my mentors.  Having had this grounding from the start of my career in tech has made me feel extremely passionate about being the same to other upcoming females.

4. What challenge have you encountered, if any, being a female in the tech sector?

Not so much of a challenge, but as I attend events, meetings and focus groups, I can often be the only female in the room.  At first, I could have seen this as a challenge – coupled with making it clear that you aren’t in attendance simply to take the minutes! But this is where relationship building comes to the fore, as does knowing your topic well, showing passion, listening to other peoples’ view points, and not trying to be someone else. As a female in tech if you’ve earned your right for a seat at the table, then you absolutely should be there.

5. What are your interests and passions in regards to working in the tech channel?

A key part of my role at Vapour is promoting our culture, leading by example on our company values and behaviours, and encouraging and supporting our teams in doing the same – through initiatives, committees, focus groups and sponsors. This aligns to another of my real passions, sustainability – not just at Vapour, but also within the industry as a whole and among our clients, by supporting their digital transformation with sustainable decisions.  Our ESG strategy and execution is paramount.

6. How can the channel drive greater diversity in the sector?

We need diversity in the sector from the floor level to the boardroom, to ensure there are a diverse range of views – this is particularly the case in tech, where innovation plays such a vital role.  Having this as a value and behaviour within the business, shows the support that comes from board level, and the role everyone can play.  By opening up discussions at department meetings, and even having a committee in place to be involved in driving change where needed, it is important to think outside the box to accommodate everyone, and continue to push for diversity and consider all needs.

7. How can the channel look to attract more females into leadership positions in the channel?

There is evidence to show that having females in leadership and board positions can improve performance and attract more female talent into businesses, particularly in roles that would previously have been deemed male-orientated such as engineering. 

Having policies such as split maternity/paternity leave, advertising job salaries to be transparent and ensuring female mentoring programmes are in place, all helps, as well as supporting on leadership and training programmes, and reviewing how job adverts are written (in less masculine language). Our male colleagues can be allies in this too – it is not just a female subject to drive and champion.

Cloud technology specialist Vapour has announced its expansion in Leeds city centre with new workspace in tech hub Platform. This news coincides with two new additions to the company’s engineering team, as the business furthers its fast-paced growth plans.

The additional workspace at Leeds’ well-known coworking space, Platform – adjacent to the railway station – increasing Vapour’s network across the UK, with its HQ in Huddersfield, and satellite bases already in Glasgow, London, and Lancashire.

Vapour’s duo of hires includes cloud voice UC engineer, Graeme McCabe who joins Vapour having worked with Avaya systems for the last five years. In his new role, Graeme will install, troubleshoot, and manage all changes on Vapour’s platforms, working alongside the team to ensure customers have a smooth transition and quality ongoing support.

Further strengthening Vapour’s cloud and networking resources, Jordan Stephenson – as senior cloud and network engineer – will ensure the resilience and efficiencies of Vapour’s services. Focusing on maintenance and diagnostics, as well as uplift and project work around the network infrastructure and cloud environment, his strong background in information technology, following his previous role as network lead at Contrac IT, will be a great asset to the technical team.

Tim Mercer, CEO of Vapour, commented: “This is a promising time for the company as we scale to meet the demands of our customers and the ever-growing cloud market. Our new hires Graeme and Jordan will be a huge asset to our technical team, and I welcome them onboard.

Announcing our new workspace at Platform is also a proud moment for me as we’ll share the building with some of the region’s most innovative tech companies. To be able to offer my growing team access to more vibrant office space in a new city is a key part of our ongoing recruitment strategy – not to mention our accessibility for customers seeking face to face time – and I look forward to expanding further throughout the year.”

Two new graduate sales recruits are also set to join Vapour soon, in a fresh collaboration with Pareto Law.
The search is also on for a sales and marketing administrator, with the vacancy now open.

From landing client contracts and speaking at industry events, to securing recognition for our impact and embarking on fundraising endeavours, it’s been an exciting time for Vapour. And as we prepare to launch into our tenth year of growth, we’re yet to see our trajectory stall.

That’s why we’re seeking a new sales and marketing administrator to welcome into the fold immediately. This will be a critical role at the heart of a busy and growing sales team, with an opportunity to also work closely with our CEO and head of communications.

The world is your oyster too. Vapour is passionate about nurturing and retaining talent with tailored career development plans. This role could therefore evolve with progression opportunities in the sales/marketing teams or office management, in the future.

Right now, the priority is the appointment of a committed, outgoing and diligent self-starter, who is extremely organised, has a ‘can do’ attitude, and is looking to grow in a company that cares about its people, customers, charity (Borne), and the environment.

Discover more specifics of the role on offer…

Job title: Sales and Marketing Administrator

Location: Heritage Exchange, Huddersfield

Our vibrant office is located in the heart of a restored textiles mill in Lindley, 5 minutes from the M62 and less than 10 minutes from Huddersfield train station. The bustling location has an on-site deli cafe, gym (with discounted membership for employees), spa, free parking, hair salon, and more.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5:30pm

This is a full-time position, but flexible working is offered as standard.

Responsibilities include:

Holidays: 20 days per calendar year, plus birthday holiday

Holidays increase 1 day per year following 1 year of service at the start of each holiday calendar – up to a maximum of 5 days.

Additional benefits include:

About the company: Vapour was founded in November 2013, coming to the market with a cloud-first mission that sought to disrupt, innovate, and demystify the world of tech. Since then, we’ve helped organisations of all shapes and sizes unlock significant growth with high-performance strategic technology.

While technology is exciting, innovations starts with people. That’s why we’re known just as much for our team as we are our toolkit, and why each new hire plays an integral role in helping shape our future.

Relevant experience is desirable for this role, but not essential, as full training will be provided to the successful candidate.

So, whether you’re starting out on a new career path, or have a rich history in the sales and marketing industry, we look forward to hearing from you.

Apply now, by sending your CV to: careers@vapourcloud.com   

It’s Graeme’s turn in the spotlight this month. Today he shares that his love for tech stemmed from working on nuclear submarines, expresses his admiration of Apple and debunks the misconception that tech needs to be complicated…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I think I’ve always had an interest in tech. From calibrating reactor instrumentation onboard nuclear submarines in the Royal Navy to piloting remote vehicles on the seabed while offshore, which then led me to enter the telecoms world for the last nine years. 

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

I’m going to show my age here…. I’d say probably a BBC micro when I was at junior school – for those who don’t know, enjoy googling that! I also remember a ZX Spectrum playing Daley Thompsons Decathlon.

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

I don’t believe there is one specific quality needed. I think you need to have many attributes to your persona and then be able to bring them together to get a full understanding of each customer requirement.

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

Too many acronyms…the fact that suppliers and manufacturers produce a similar product but then decide to overcomplicate things by using new acronyms for services and products that already exist.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

Before joining Vapour, I spoke to various contacts I have within the industry, and all had positive things to say about the company. From my time here so far, I can see that the company’s biggest assets are the staff and how we pull together to give the customer the best experience we can.

Complete the sentences:

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... a Garmin Vivoactive watch – which I’ve just bought myself to monitor my fitness training. 

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Apple. I know this is going to divide the room, but the company is big for me at the minute. 

The biggest misconception in the channel is that... tech needs to be overly complicated.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more... collaborative - giving users an increased ability to work in multiple locations.

It’s Kian Jackson’s turn in the spotlight this month. Kian has joined the team as part of a work experience programme, as he completes his T-Level qualifications at Calderdale College. With aspirations of one day becoming a senior network engineer, discover how his passion for all things coding and tech have led him here, and his experience with the Vapour team so far. He shares all in our latest Q&A.

Take it away Kian…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

When I was in Secondary School, we covered the basics of simplistic coding, which was my first introduction into working in tech. When it came to choosing my career path, I took the T-Level approach which has allowed me to advance and develop my knowledge, technical ability and skills in the sector. I’m so grateful for these more technical-based qualifications, as I’ve been able to explore the subject in much more detail, with industry examples.

Undertaking work placement opportunities like this with Vapour also allows me to gain real-life experiences to put what I am learning into practice. It’s been a valuable experience so far.

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

Watching my brother play on his computer when I was younger stands out as my earliest memory. He mostly used it to play video games and have fun exploring digital technology – I remember being so surprised at what was possible with such small devices.

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

Creativity and an open mind. In tech there are always a range of different outcomes and ways of doing things. You should be open to options and alternative methods to really excel, rather than being tempted to stick with how it’s always been done previously.

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

I’d like there to be more straight-talking people in tech. When you’re first starting out it’s hard to find mentors and learn from people in different specialist areas. It’s a complex industry and often encounters some barriers in terms of buy-in from colleagues – with more people who understand its capabilities, we could break down those blockers.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I’ve been really impressed by how the channel works and the partnerships Vapour has within the industry. These collaborations – in addition to the team’s technical experience – means it’s possible to deliver highly personalised and powerful solutions relevant to organisations’ individual needs.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

The computer. Just think how reliant we are on its existence, every day at work. In both a personal and professional environment, it allows us to access so much information and has capabilities that very few of us truly capitalise on.

I could say something like the CPU or RAM, but one doesn’t work without the other, so for me it has to be the overall machine itself.

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

A more powerful computer… can you sense a running theme?

It’s great to be able to update specs so you aren’t limited to what you can do, giving me much more variety. Increasing the process power and graphics capabilities will also help with my development in the coding world too.

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

It’s hard to say – most brands that I’m familiar with in the industry often have to collaborate and work together to ensure compatibility across devices, so it’s hard to identify just one.

The biggest misconception in the channel is...

The complexity of code. It’s a completely different language but isn’t given the same acknowledgement. People only see the front-end that’s meant to be viewed by the end-user, without understanding what goes on behind the scenes or what it is truly capable of.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more...

Versatile. Often people use technology to fill a particular need, but it can offer so much more than that if you ask the right questions of teams like Vapour.

It’s Katie’s turn in the spotlight this month. Here she shares the role communications can play in driving tech sector change, the need for energy in our business, and what journalists REALLY think about Vapour…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I come from the comms side of tech and started out in the industry in 2006. I worked for a PR agency with a varied client base, at the time, but naturally gravitated towards the ‘geekier’ of businesses. These were the stories I found the most thought-provoking, especially if you could debunk the jargon and relate to stakeholders at any level. In 2013, I left to focus solely on technical communications – and ‘ta dah’, here I am at Vapour.

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

I had a rainbow-coloured kids’ typewriter, not long after I could walk. As I grew up, I advanced to a PC, practically the size of our dining table!

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

One is hard, as there are lots of values that differentiate Vapour in a crowded tech space. But I’d probably say energy. The pace of innovation is fast, and the appetite to solve customers’ challenges never stops. This is in the DNA of the whole team, not just the CEO, which means there’s always something to talk about. This energy keeps us all moving forward.

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

The perception that all suppliers exploit how complex it is. This view suggests dishonesty or a lack of transparency – and don’t get me wrong, some companies will take advantage of how ‘green’ customers can be. But that’s not Vapour – and I’m sure there are other companies equally passionate about banishing this misconception. Yes, it’s complicated sometimes, but there’s always a way to explain it, honestly and respectfully so that everyone in the room can make informed decisions.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I am genuinely proud of the Vapour brand. I don’t just mean the logo (although it’s cool, right?) I mean the reputation Vapour has carved for itself, despite not being the biggest player – we’re not nestled in a city centre tech district either. But I spoke to a journalist the other day and he said: “I used to think you punched above your weight – and I admired Vapour for that. Now I realise you rightfully have a seat at the table.”

Quite often, it’s Vapour bringing new innovations to market, and word is continually spreading – especially because we’re so human in our approach. And I’m on a mission to keep telling that story, so more people know it!

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... any device to play music – I couldn’t be without it.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... probably a kiddy gadget – I’m a mum of two girls under four, so let’s face it, practically every penny goes on them. One thing I’d love someone to invent, is a savvy device that knows what I’m thinking and types it up for me. If someone could please let me know if it already exists, that’d be great!

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Champion Health – a digital employee wellbeing platform.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that... it’s all smoke and mirrors. Let’s have more conversations that everyone can understand – that’s when businesses will rightfully get excited about what tech can do.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more... efficient. Whether that’s in terms of collaborating with colleagues, moving traffic securely around the network, or automating even the simplest of processes to free up the time of their workforce.

At the beginning of 2021, the rebrand and repositioning of Vapour marked a significant turning point in the nearly nine-year journey of our company. Fast forward to 2022, and the investment is still proving to be as crucial as ever in helping us dominate the conversation in a crowded sector.

But for head of transformation, Carol McGrotty, it’s people that play the most crucial role in branding transformation success. In an exclusive webinar hosted by legal professionals, Mills & Reeve, on February 9th, she delved deeper into driving innovation at Vapour through brand and highlighted the importance of employee buy-in…

Although the decision to embark on a digital transformation project can be driven by a whole host of challenges – from rapid growth and emergence into new sectors, to a pivotal change in business perspective – it’s often the people behind the organisation who act as a catalyst for change. Only by undertaking an honest review of a brand’s current positioning and identifying a need for transformation, can real evolution take place – innovating just for innovation’s sake will not only burn a hole in your time and resources, but it will also result in a ‘paint job’ finish that makes no commercial and/or cultural difference.

For Vapour – and any other business – this is no overnight process. Prepare well and give the project the time and attention it deserves – rather than treating it as a sideline objective – and company leaders will soon reap the benefits of streamlined operations, enhanced company culture and improved bottom line. For Vapour’s own strategic roll out, we devised a ‘365-day plan’ which was broken down into three smaller, more manageable stages, to enable us to analyse every facet of the brand’s evolution and maintain momentum from start to finish.

Customers also play a pivotal role in driving transformation, particularly when it comes to such jargon-filled, technical industries. Not only did we want our rebrand to demystify cloud technology and restore that ‘human touch’ we set out with, we also wanted our reputation to extend beyond our ‘toolkit’ to showcase our team, and help attract and retain the best talent. Therefore, gathering insight from our colleagues and customers on wider perceptions of Vapour was an essential part of the process – unveiling a concerted recognition of passion and talent, while addressing an apparent confusion over visual branding and restrictive product names. Putting the customer at the forefront of our ambitions meant we could also preserve the longevity of our digital transformation and bolster our sense of authenticity by giving them a stake in mapping out our future.

But a considered approach to driving innovation doesn’t just involve the rigour of senior level employees and customer insight – every colleague with a passion for the idea is able to tell the story upon launch. Think of them as your business’ most important ambassadors, and encourage them not only to embrace this new chapter, but to openly share their ideas to help spearhead further innovation. To hear more of Carol’s expert advice, and to catch up on commentary from other industry peers, watch the webinar in full, here.

Vapour’s head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty, will take to the ‘virtual stage’ next month, when she participates in a straight-talking webinar about the topic of brand in tech.

Organised by the team at legal specialist Mills & Reeve, the sixty-minute online event seeks to delve into the fundamentals of building a successful brand and protecting it – not least to mitigate the risks of imitation.

With over 20 years’ experience in the tech industry, Carol will share her own perspective on the rebrand of Vapour – which not only gave the company a fresh visual identity, but further served as a mechanism to completely reposition the brand in a crowded space – and speak on the role of authenticity in personal branding.

Also joining Carol on the webinar will be Lesley Gulliver, managing director at The Engine Room – the strategic brand consultancy responsible for taking Vapour on this journey last year.

Head of intellectual property litigation at Mills & Reeve, Claire O’Brien, completes the line-up of panellists. She will share her expertise on intangible business assets, as well as how to safeguard them to protect long-term viability and set your organisation apart from competitors.

Commenting on the opportunity to be involved in the webinar, Carol said: “There are so many difficulties for women trying to emerge into the tech industry – I think it’s crucial to offer guidance and be unapologetically visible to show that it doesn’t have to be male-dominated. Breaking past the struggle of ‘imposter syndrome’ can be a challenge, but owning your expertise is just the first step to enhancing your personal brand and differentiating you from the crowd.”

To register for this free webinar, taking place on Wednesday 9th February at 10am, sign up here.

It’s Adam’s turn in the spotlight this month. Sharing how his latest tech purchase is helping integrate his devices more effectively, and why it’s important to have a team filled with bright and versatile people.

Your 60 seconds start now Adam! Take it away:

How did you first get into the world of tech?

Starting at Vapour was my first full-time role. When I was looking at getting a job in finance, I started searching for companies in the local area, and as someone from nearby Halifax, this was a perfect fit.

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

I would have to say the PlayStation 2. I was a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) and a StarWars Battlefront fan back in the day – those games kept me entertained for years.

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

Teamwork, as without it, you can’t really get anywhere. At Vapour we all bring a different set of skills and experience, so when we work together, we can fill knowledge gaps – this is so important in an industry like tech.

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

All of the big words and acronyms! Working on the finance side of the tech, it can be hard to translate the jargon from one company to the next, especially in invoicing. It also makes it much more daunting and complex when working alongside customers who aren’t used to the language, so in an ideal world everything would be much more straight-forward and easier to understand.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

The team is filled with really bright and talented people. When you call us up, you can get through to the person best equipped to help you, which can be rare in the tech space.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

The mobile phone. Having the technology to contact people no matter where you are makes it so much easier to stay connected.

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

That’s a tough one. I’ve recently invested in an Apple Watch, moving over from Samsung for a more integrated ecosystem – so I don’t have any other tech on my wishlist just yet.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that...

Everyone knows everything! Going back to my point about teamwork, we have a lot of intelligent brains that make up the Vapour team, and their different skill-sets and specialisms are key. Tech isn’t an industry where one person can know everything – you’ve got voice, storage, security, and connectivity to name just a few.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more...

Cohesive – because working from home has sectioned people off and potentially made it harder to keep track of projects, morale, and connectedness. Our tech makes that easier, bridging that gap and maximising what is possible in organisations, no matter how large or small.

A lover of the simpler things in life, Adam has taken on a ‘Beige vs. Food’ challenge to raise money for the premature birth charity, Borne - as we continue towards our boldest target yet – a staggering £23,000! Follow challenge over on our Instagram.

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