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The channel is changing. ‘Digital transformation’ is no longer just a buzzword, and clients are now demanding cloud-first technologies within their business.

But Vapour has been cloud-first since our inception in 2013. In fact, our company is built on four cornerstones of cloud-first excellence – voice, video, networks and storage. It’s all we know.

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What makes us tick? Vapour’s values as we head into year 7…

All too often, businesses publish their values on their websites, and they just sit there – almost as though they’re little more than a tick box exercise.

Then there are some shining examples of organisations who truly live and breathe the values that underpin their very existence. In fact, their values are so strong, they almost don’t even have to be written down – they’re clear for all to see.

But as firms evolve and new colleagues come on board – particularly in the fast-paced world of tech – it’s important to keep revisiting the values that drive decision making, cement the company culture, and hopefully, keep employees and customers returning for more. Everyone needs to be aligned, and communication must continue if the team is to remain unified, especially during periods of growth.

So, in week one of 2020 being back in full swing, we sat together – as a team, refreshed from the Christmas break – to recap on what makes Vapour tick. Together, we’ll hopefully ooze these values in everything we do throughout the year, from the approach we take to working with partners, to the changes we make to our ever-advancing product roadmap, the recruitment decisions we make and the things we do in the community to showcase our Northern soul.

Here’s a bit of an insight into what to expect…

  • Innovative and challenging

Once we’ve got the basics right, we work with curiosity – constantly looking for ways to surprise partners, their customers and the wider industry. We hang our hats on being a new breed of channel partner, so we’d be failing if we didn’t always have our eyes peeled to identify better ways of doing things.

Even small, incremental improvements can lead to big differences that challenge the norm and shake up the competition, so we very much foster a culture of entrepreneurial experimentation, rather than excuses. This isn’t about change for change’s sake of course – but if we can add a tiny bit more value, we’re all over it!

  • Customers TRULY lie at the heart of everything

If you speak to any colleague in the office – or catch up on their views via the monthly employee spotlight on our website – everyone shares the same frustrations. The industry is overwhelmed with snake oil sales tactics, purposefully mind-boggling acronyms and false promises. It’s something we hate to admit, but it’s true in many cases.

So, from day one, we’ve been unswervingly committed to breaking this mould. It should never have become the norm.

How do we do this? In simple terms, we encourage every employee to behave as though they work in our customer service department, whether they have an outward facing role or not. We treat others how we want to be treated ourselves, communicate, take on board feedback and focus on exceeding expectations.

We recruit friendly, straight-talking, empathic, informed and efficient colleagues. We give people permission to be themselves – how would we deliver a personal service otherwise? And while we have these shared values, we don’t want anyone to feel rule bound, heavily scripted, or false.

  • Good quality and then some!

This isn’t about searching for perfection or placing unrealistic expectations on others. It’s about paying attention to detail to help us get the basics right, because, if we do the simple things well, we’ve laid the foundations for establishing a superior service where it really counts.

We’re not being inefficient by repeating the tasks that should have been right first time – instead, by being lean, we’ve got the headspace to go the extra mile as a matter of course. We recognise and celebrate brilliance, at every level within the company, which creates a positive working environment for partners and our own people alike.

  • Value for money

Put simply, we think before we spend. Even when we’re moving at pace – and believe us, we are – we make sure people have time in their diary to consider their actions and the knock-on impact to customers, so that we’re getting best value from every investment.

This translates into delivering more – more innovation, service, productivity, ideas, connectivity, everything! And hopefully this means that every penny ploughed into Vapour, is money well spent.

  • One team – one collaborative approach

Rather than working in silos, we push ahead with our straight-talking ambitious vision, as a true collective. Our colleagues care about the jobs they do, share knowledge as standard, mentor each other, and know how to have fun!

Visitors to Vapour will see the whole company get together – no excuses – every Monday morning, to discuss must-know WIP matters, celebrate milestones however minor and get revved up about the week ahead. We’re not shy in sharing ideas or voicing areas for improvement – this is an open, engaged forum for constructive feedback not criticism.

And this ethos is echoed in how we work with our partners. Because we are here to serve them – and help their businesses grow – we work hard to become bolt on members of their teams too. This collaborative approach has shaken up a traditional channel and means that, in tandem, we can deliver something very different for the companies who can benefit from our tech.

By Carol McGrotty

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