If you know anything at all about tech, it’s that the last two years have thrown organisations of all shapes, sizes, and sectors head-first into the digital realm.

But just as much as state-of-the-art products and solutions have the power to revolutionise business, people are equally a key driver of innovation – not least when they’re industry-renowned professionals with bags full of experience and expertise.

Didn’t catch the commentary from our hand-selected panel of VIPs at our intimate event last week? Don’t fear. We’ve curated a list of the key takeaways that every successful leader should know as they continue to augment their own digital transformation strategy in 2022 – and beyond.

So sit tight, and delve in…

1. Don’t underestimate conversation  around the 4th industrial revolution – it’s here

And our clients think of Vapour as the plumbing to the Internet and other applications. It just works.

2. By 2025, 27% of the global workforce will be Gen Zs

Not only are they an important talent pool in this industry – having grown up without a recollection of life with no internet – they’re also the future of every organisation.

With that in mind, do you understand what your employees need and want from the workplace, especially when it comes to the expectations they have on technology?

3. Intelligent automation is a key driver of innovation

As well as saving time, money, and headaches dealing with the ‘dumb stuff’ – much like RPA – intelligent automation on the other hand can also ingest, interpret, and think about data, work harder, and enhance the roles of people even further.

4. Automation can work 24/7/365

Not only this, but it’s also able to work three times faster than human processing and with 100% accuracy, plus infinite scalability.

Repetitive tasks are often one of the biggest causes of job dissatisfaction and wasted time, and according to Rob Dawson – principle consultant at Robiquity and one of the speakers at our event – clients save an average of 27,000 hours per year using their intelligent automation services!

5. McKinsey data states that IT budgets typically go over by an average of 45%!

That’s why it’s crucial to look for a partner that is vender agnostic, and will implement the solution that’s right for your needs – not the one they’re paid to implement.

Ask questions specific to your own IT scenario too, to validate their experience. Rob’s advice on this topic was to ensure the discovery stage of a project is thorough, to ensure true RPA readiness, and to ask for a partner’s typical speed to value time – 5 weeks should be feasible, on average (depending on the nature of the project of course!).

6. Many VoIP providers only work with 1-2 carriers

This means their disaster recovery lacks vital resilience.

On the other hand, Wavenet – one of the partners to feature on the event line-up – works with multiple carriers. This vastly mitigates the risk of any comms disruption for that client. If the connection goes down unexpectedly, the traffic simply flips to another in milliseconds.

Is it any wonder over a 12-month period, a busy 300-seat customer of Vapour’s had ZERO faults with Wavenet’s TeamsLink system?

7. Worldwide IT spending to grow 3% this year

Despite economic headwinds, IT decision makers are spending more on cloud services and the data centre.

And with inflationary pressures top-of-mind creating a degree of uncertainty, already high prices could rise even further. With that in mind, it’s no surprise enterprises are making a switch from ownership-based IT models to service-bases ones.

8. Tech adoption has risen exponentially – but there’s a renewed focus on people, and therefore employee wellbeing too, particularly in contact centre environments

Puzzel’s partner success manager, Alison Hogg, suggests that customer tolerance for slow service has diminished, and there’s an increasing demand to use whichever channel they want, when they want – with an unparalleled new focus on receiving a seamless, connected customer experience. So, Alison encouraged us to think about what that means for brands and how they respond.

It’s also important to remember that comms channel silos means team silos, which usually a bad user experience, as well as inefficient workloads as tasks require duplication.

9. Puzzel helps you serve micro-moments that drive engagement

With intelligent self-service for consumers, a seamless user experience for customers and agents, and automated scheduling that ensures you are always effectively staffed, the platform’s digital-first approach speeds up first contact resolutions to help improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

And if a customer wants to speak to a real person, chatbots can recognise this too! With a request for intervention and a full chat history, agents can easily pick up a customer conversation to enhance the overall service level.

10. Businesses will increasingly demand network connectivity via ground and air

The world of 5G is expanding at pace, fuelling pacy innovation for organisations reliant on smart devices and IoT, and providing ever-changing businesses with a quick and easy way to get connected – rapid deployment with a fixed cost, particularly great for firms with satellite/pop-up sites.

Still hungry for more insight? Download the full speaker presentations from the innovation forum, for free.

To discuss any of these topics in further detail, please contact Vapour on 0333 200 1142 or fill out our contact form.

If you’re keen to bag a seat at our next event, keep your eyes peeled on our LinkedIn and Twitter channels for updates as they unfold.


Innovation forum presentation

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Tell us about your role at Content Guru and the part you play in the tech sector.

As a business development manager, I’m responsible for account management and working closely with new clients, customers and partners. As a cloud communications provider, it’s also important to keep on top of industry trends, to understand the new and emerging challenges that organisations face and how technology can help.

What innovation was the turning point for your organisation, to get it to where you are now?

The cloud. Where would we be without it – especially since the pandemic?!

And where’s next for your business?

We’re currently expanding our global reach into the US which is very exciting!

The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…

That price should be a core deciding factor – organisations need to carefully consider requirements, alongside how providers/solutions can best meet the needs of the organisation and what value the solution or service is delivering above simply cost saving.

What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?

The pandemic has led businesses to diversify their communication channels and has opened the door to an increase in self-service solutions to help address resource limitations. As we start to navigate out of the pandemic and adapt to a more permanent hybrid way of working, we’re likely to see more of this as an effort to support organisations.

What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel in their tech career?

It’s really important to keep your eye on industry trends and to learn your products inside and out. The technology sector can be full of jargon and complex terminology, so knowing in detail what the products and services are capable of means you can add extra context for customers to break down those barriers.

The next purchase on my personal tech wishlist is…?

New PC parts – I’ve taken on the task of building my own computer!

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

An Xbox!

What is one longstanding piece of tech that you are shocked is still used today?

A fixed home landline. You see them less and less in homes today, but there are still some around.

If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?

Going for a drive. There is something about getting on the road that is just so relaxing.

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.

Renowned commercial property rental specialist Towndoor has renewed its connectivity agreement with cloud tech firm Vapour, as the two popular Huddersfield brands near a decade of working together.

The relationship initially began with the supply of managed internet lines for Towndoor’s Holmfirth HQ and Dyeworks industrial property. Powering the organisation’s business-critical operations as well as tenants’ own connectivity, the 100mb lines have long proven their quality of service, however busy Towndoor has been.

But mindful of the company’s upcoming growth plans, Operations Director Jack Dixon sought an upgraded connectivity package to support the firm’s evolving cloud tech infrastructure.

“We are continuing to expand our commercial property portfolio in Huddersfield and Holmfirth, with the development of additional facilities including our recently launched café and some upcoming new industrial units,” Jack said. “It is vital that as we look ahead to future growth, nothing holds us back. Vapour has powered our connectivity for nearing a decade, and they’ll be our ISP long into the future too.”

Impressed by the level of personal service delivered since the relationship began, Towndoor still conducted due diligence when it came to the upgrade project.

“Our latest Vapour contract was signed three years previously, and it’s only right that we benchmarked their quality of service and price point against the wider market, for peace of mind,” Jack continued. “Once again, they did not disappoint.”

Vapour has therefore rolled out 500mb over 1000mb connectivity.

“While Towndoor’s operations are not IT-heavy, we are renowned for being at the forefront of adopting the latest systems and technologies, particularly if they will have a positive impact on customer service levels,” concluded Jack. “We were therefore keen to futureproof our internet provision, so that we’re equipped with the speeds and uptime we will need, as we grow.”

“We have clients throughout the UK, not least because we have a satellite presence in Scotland, Lancashire, South Yorkshire and London, to complement our Huddersfield HQ,” added Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer. “But there’s something quite special about cultivating and sustaining a relationship with a fellow local business, especially one as respected as Towndoor.

“Like us, they don’t stand still, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside a progressive, ambitious firm like that. Despite all their success to date, I still feel like there’s an awful lot to come from this continually-expanding team. It’s great to play even a small part in supercharging their growth.”

Read the case study in full

It’s no secret that the global tech sector is advancing at an astonishingly rapid pace – not least in relation to the now integral role of digital transformation in spearheading growth and success. But no matter the size or scope or your organisation – or how sophisticated your innovation strategy is – the only way to drive significant change is to leverage the power of people.

So, to champion some of the industry’ finest talent, and gain some insight into the minds of individuals from across the tech space, we’re inviting friends and partners of the business to take part in our quickfire Q&A.

Up next, it’s Craig Webster – contracts manager at award-winning IT service provider, Mint Support. Take it away, Craig…

Tell us about your role at Mint Support and the part you play in the tech sector.

As contracts manager, I’m responsible for maintaining and developing relationships with our new and existing customers – I’m always on the lookout for improvements in both service and delivery. Mint provides managed support services, primarily for the education sector, but also for businesses too.

What innovation was the turning point for your organisation, to get it to where you are now?

IT is continually developing, so keeping abreast of developments and being able to support customers through these changes is key. You could say that the PC and internet were the innovations that allowed us to ‘exist’, and their continuous developments mean we are always working alongside new technology.

And where’s next for your business?

We’re migrating into communication technology and making the most of remote tools to deliver services to customers further afield.

The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…

That technology will solve everything.

What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?

Further development in AI and automation – that is definitely a trend I expect to see grow. I also think that we will see much more focus on sustainability and greener solutions within the tech space over the coming months.

What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel their tech career?

Remember that technology is there to make life better for the end user. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people.

The next purchase on my personal tech wishlist is…?

I’d love a drone – using that technology to capture creative video and photography appeals to me.

What is one longstanding piece of tech that you are shocked is still used today?

The vinyl record – but I’m glad it still exists.

If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?

I’m a simple guy who remembers a time before the internet, so I can think of plenty of things. For me, I enjoy getting out of the house for a long walk and spending time with my family and friends. I think that sometimes, even if the internet is working fine, we should switch off, as it is easy to get distracted.

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.

Now that face-to-face events are back, next month some of our colleagues will be heading to Birmingham’s NEC for the Channel Live expo. With over 40 presentation and panel discussions centred around business, people, technology, and skills, the event seeks to keep industry professionals abreast of the latest issues impacting the Channel – not least to bolster growth and success through practical business advice.

Joining an expert line-up of industry panellists – including WISE Campaign CEO, Kay Hussain, and Jola’s chief marketing officer, Cherie Howlett – is our very own head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty. Taking to the stage in Conference Theatre 3 at 11:15AM on day one (30th March), Carol with delve into the fundamentals of attracting more women into the next generation telecoms workforce.

With a rich career history spanning over 22 years’ experience in the telecoms sector – from provide manager at Virgin Media Business, to her current position at Vapour – Carol is perfectly placed to deliver valuable insight into this topic. Bridging every gap between sales, operations, the technical team, and ongoing support, she is not only the lifeblood of our company, but a true ambassador for women in tech.

And if that wasn’t enough, Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer is also set to deliver a session of his very own the following afternoon. Leveraging over 20 years’ experience in the IT sector – and his strategic entrepreneurial insight – Tim will tap into the opportunities associated with Technology as a Service (TaaS) the market hasn’t yet thought about, for the channel and customers alike. For this must-see discussion, you can find Tim in Conference Theatre 2 from 3:15-3:45PM on 31st March.

“Just because tech is changing, doesn’t mean the role of conferencing has. There’s such a buzz around face-to-face events, and the benefits are unparalleled – from facilitating learning and driving personal and professional development, to fuelling continuous inspiration. There’s just so much creative potential when it comes to in-person engagement,” says Tim.

“And people play a crucial role in spearheading growth. It’s all about sharing your knowledge and experience with others during what is such an exciting time for the industry, to build a stronger market together.”

Whether you’re looking to expand your portfolio and integrate best-of-breed technologies into your organisation, or seeking new partners and business opportunities, Channel Live offers an unrivalled opportunity for tech and telecoms professionals alike.

Sign up is completely free, although attendees are encouraged to pre-register their interest to guarantee a place, here.

If you spot a familiar face, please don’t hesitate to come and say hello. We look forward to seeing you!

Tech leaders from throughout the UK gathered at The Chambers in Leeds last month, for an invite-only forum exploring the innovations that will disrupt the market in 2022.

Vapour hosted the intimate event at the prestigious city venue, to bring together some of the most pioneering thought leaders from the communication and cloud tech spaces. And a hand-selected number of customers were also asked to attend for an exclusive insight into where the market is going, and the impact the innovations could have on their businesses.

Leading the line-up was Fortinet’s Steve Mulhearn exploring the advances in the SD-WAN environment, and the emergence of SD-WAN 3.1 for organisations who really want to future-proof the resilience of their security and networking infrastructure. 

Next up was Content Guru’s Edward Winfield and John Funning. They explored the paradigm shift in customer service – particularly since the onset of the pandemic – and the changes that savvy organisations must make if they’re to retain their reputation and market share. Ed shared industry data which evidences individuals’ falling tolerance for poor service levels, and some surprising statistics regarding the ever-evolving need for businesses to offer omnichannel options when communicating internally and externally.

Logic Monitor’s Samkit Shah and Antony Hawkins delved a little deeper into the technology behind Vapour’s much-talked-about new Application Monitoring as a Service solution. But rather than relying on a PowerPoint presentation, the duo shared a live demo of the platform in action – showing how organisations can use AMaaS to see more, know more, and do more.

Vapour’s very own head of transformation and operations Carol McGrotty also took to the ‘stage’, to encourage the audience to understand how the implementation of technology, processes and people, can liberate business growth. She spoke honestly about the journey we have been through and the lengths we are going to, to push for continuous improvement – however major or marginal the gains.

To conclude the afternoon, there was an impromptu showcase of some extremely hot technology – the world’s only bonded and truly mobile router, built here, in England. While the event was not designed to have a sales focus, the audience lapped up this product introduction, and showered the trio of surprise guests from Albeego with questions about the device – which relies on multiple encrypted connections to a network, so the user’s data is never exposed to the ‘raw’ wireless environment.

Commenting on the day, Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer said: “We’re here to join the dots for our customers – and we believe in being straight-talking. We’ve also missed the opportunity to spend time, face to face, exploring how we can solve today’s – and tomorrow’s – business challenges, together.

“The timing therefore felt right for our latest innovation forum – it’s been a while. But we wanted it to be exclusive, rather than a mass gathering. The day ran like clockwork, and the level of conversation in the room was inspiring. So much so, we started planning the next event before we even got home.”

To discuss any of these topics in further detail please contact Vapour on 0333 200 1142 or complete our contact form to request more information.

To express an interest in attending Vapour’s next innovation forum in the summer, please email Greeta Sagris – gs@vapourcloud.com

Everybody’s talking about Vapour’s Application Monitoring as a Service (AMaaS) solution – Logic Monitor – one of the hottest pieces of tech to emerge from our toolkit in the past 12 months. But what exactly is it, and why is its launch so well-timed? Here are the 10 key things you need to know about AMaaS, including why many businesses will be hugely dependent on it in 2022…

  1. Tech stacks have grown particularly complicated over the past couple of years, not least because of hybrid working practices. Understanding the true performance of these complex ecosystems is therefore tough enough – optimising them is even harder! Even the most technically astute CIOs are feeling the heat.
  2. Application monitoring provides a sharp pair of eyes across an organisation’s entire IT infrastructure – including on-premise, cloud and hybrid applications – for unparalleled visibility.
  3. Much like a proactive surveillance tool, it works by uncovering IT estate issues that may otherwise go unnoticed when IT teams only have so many pairs of hands. Detecting everything from broken processes and bandwidth drains, to significant network risks and non-compliance, it tells you what’s going on under the hood and the implications if no action is taken. Think preventative maintenance and performance optimisation, all rolled into one!
  4. Performance metrics and proactive alerts are accompanied by monthly recommendations from Vapour’s straight-talking tech team – if required – to help mitigate downtime before problems arise. For many customers, the human element of this service, is crucial.
  5. User productivity is safeguarded – if not boosted – which strengthens colleague job satisfaction too. We all know how draining it is when tech doesn’t work as it should!
  6. Happy, productive staff usually leads to greater customer satisfaction too, which is particularly important in competitive markets.
  7. In analysing and improving the efficiency of their networks and devices, businesses can often reduce the carbon impact of their tech – critical for organisations striving to leave no stone unturned when it comes to being greener.
  8. Traditionally, only large enterprises have been able to justify the cost of sophisticated application monitoring solutions. However, because AmaaS is available via an affordable monthly subscription fee, it delivers the ultimate in performance detection technology, irrespective of company size.
  9. It helps rectify potentially costly tech headaches before they arise and can arm IT teams with the data they need to validate or disprove the need for further investments. A slow network doesn’t necessarily mean a bandwidth issue for example – application monitoring delves deeper to protect tech spend. This is particularly important because, while many organisations’ tech budgets are increasing, so too are ROI expectations.
  10. To celebrate the launch of the AMaaS solution, Vapour is offering customers a 30-day free trial (T&Cs apply). Network performance audits are also available for non-Vapour customers.

To discover more about Vapour’s Application Monitoring as a Service solution, how it works, and the impact it could have on your business, contact our team.  

Two disruptive cloud tech firms – both headquartered in Yorkshire – have announced an industry collaboration to supercharge the digital transformation solutions delivered to clients.

Managed IT specialist CloudCoCo, based in Leeds, will strengthen the cybersecurity offering provided by us here at Vapour. And in return, we will enhance CloudCoCo’s infrastructure with the addition of security-first SD-WAN connectivity – a cost-effective, scalable cloud technology that integrates network and user security, with ease, for high performance remote working.

The alliance signals the latest in a series of strategic partnerships for us – as an organisation that has never shied away from joining forces with the industry’s brightest talent, when approaching customers’ digital transformation projects.

“Organisations – certainly in the larger SME market and above – don’t expect or want a vendor to be a ‘jack of all trades’ anymore,” explained CEO Tim Mercer. “They seek to place their trust in a small number of proven experts who will listen carefully to the brief and deliver exactly what the business needs. Partnerships, in this environment, are therefore key. But they have to be carefully formed, between specialists whose technologies, standards, and cultures, are on a par, with no exceptions.”

With both companies closely aligned with enterprise cybersecurity giant Fortinet, the credibility of the two brands was clear when discussions to partner first began.

“We’re here to demystify cloud technologies to make the impossible, possible,” Tim added. “You can only do that by remaining straight-talking and customer focused at all times, and sometimes going against the grain. We’re not afraid to do that, and neither is CloudCoCo. I think both companies – and the teams within them – are respected for their honesty, so we’re a good fit when it comes to devising solutions, together.”

Like Tim, Mark Halpin’s cloud-first vision was also dismissed when he too left the corporate world to set up CloudCoCo. Fast forward three years, and the business now has more than 1,000 customers, £27m turnover, and has recently acquired managed service provider IDE Connect and Nimoveri IT Support.

“I was told I was cloud cuckoo for believing the managed IT sector had become slow, unresponsive, boring and broken, so in April 2018 I left my long-term job and built a company of agile, fiercely passionate, and supremely talented cloud, cybersecurity, connectivity, hardware and hosted voice professionals,” explained Mark.

“Tim and I share a similar back story and many values too – not least a passion for delighting customers with the help of progressive people and powerful technology that doesn’t have to be complicated. This partnership could mean great things for both our respective teams. CloudCoco has an unlimited ambition in terms of growth, so the future starts now.”

Vapour is also forecasting 25% revenue growth by the end of the financial year.

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