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.

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

Application Monitoring as a Service was one of the final additions to our toolkit, late last year. But demand for the solution – Logic Monitor – has been so high, it’s now the focus of our first online event for 2022.

Providing visibility across an organisation’s entire IT infrastructure – including on-premise, cloud and hybrid applications – this proactive surveillance tool brings enterprise-level performance optimisation technology to organisations of all sizes.

By uncovering the root causes of network underperformance – often way before issues actually arise – this more preventative approach to application management boosts business efficiency, IT resilience and employee productivity, while minimising downtime, security risks and avoidable tech costs.

So, our inaugural event for 2022 delves deeper into this solution, offering a behind-the-scenes look at how the technology works, the insight it offers, the real-time alerts it provides, and the recommendations it suggests to continually optimise IT ecosystems.

Hear from:

PLUS: See live demos of the technology in action and put your questions live to our speakers, on the day.

Tuesday 8th February at 2pm

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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.

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.

Here at Vapour, we've launched a new connectivity solution for organisations seeking the advantages of both a public and private cloud environment.

The newly unveiled Express Connect service offers customers the opportunity to route their data via Vapour’s ISO27001-accredited infrastructure, so that they can achieve a dedicated private connection to their public cloud service.

This means businesses benefit from the public cloud capabilities of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google, for example, without their traffic going via the internet. The result is an optimum user experience in terms of bandwidth and speed, as well as complete peace of mind when it comes to security.

Express Connect also helps lower organisations’ network costs, boosts IT control, reduces jitter and latency, and enhances overall network performance. It is fully integrated by design – which means budget transparency – with the flexibility to scale up or down as business needs evolve.

This extension to our toolkit is a bold move having invested millions of pounds in our own private MPLS networks.

“Our goal has always been to provide customers with high-performance networks with resilience and security in-built as standard,” explained CEO Tim Mercer. “And, being cloud-only since day one, we were not satisfied with the industry’s readymade solutions, so we built our own private infrastructure.

“This will absolutely remain a critical part of many companies’ cloud architecture, as the public cloud is not right for every application. However, we’re taking the story on, by using that private network to power fast, secure and seamless connectivity with multiple public cloud service providers (CSPs).

“All too often, the market pushes what it wants to sell, rather than offering people choice. As hybrid cloud becomes increasingly popular, we want customers to explore what is truly right for them, without sacrificing resilience or performance.”

Express Connect is available direct to end customers, but we have also devised a reseller solution for channel partners too.

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