Cetus Solutions

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Happy International Women’s Day!


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I’ve previously been conflicted about whether I agree with International Women’s Day. I absolutely agree with what it stands for, but in my eyes, we have a responsibility to empower inclusion and equality everyday. Therefore for me, International Women’s Day is about celebrating how far we have come in improving gender equality.

Surrounded by strong women, I am fortunate enough to work for an organisation where women’s voices are not just heard; we are valued and influential. In an industry that is traditionally dominated by men (I found a dismal statistic that suggested women make up only 16% of the workforce in IT/tech companies in the UK) it makes me super proud that 42% of my colleagues are women.

Moreover, these women are not just working in the business; they are women that are leading the business… Whilst a man founded Cetus, women form an integral part of the leadership team and contribute greatly to the success of the company, with 60% of the directors who participate in board meetings being women. And that’s representative across the business – our senior management team headcount is 50% women.

From my perspective, working in an environment where your career success is defined by your contribution to our mission to help our customers; and not by your gender is an empowering place to be. And whilst, I share some positive reflections on my own personal experience at Cetus, I appreciate there is still work to be done to ensure gender parity in the wider workplace. It’s something that we all need to be mindful of 365 days a year… not just on International Women’s Day!

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Blog, Cetus Solutions, Uncategorized

My first week at Cetus Solutions


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I’m Missy, the new Digital Marketing Executive, and I’ve been a part of the Cetus Solutions family for just over a week now. And what a week it has been!

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind; the first couple of days were just back-to-back inductions on who we are, what we do, and the values that we’ve set as a company. As much as I ‘love all things digital’, IT solutions had never even been on my radar. In fact, I wasn’t very aware that they were a thing. So I walked into the Cetus building on Monday morning with only minimal knowledge of what the company does. Being wilfully ignorant of IT solutions didn’t last long, I can tell you!

We’re all sick of hearing companies going on and on about ‘transparency’, with regards to both their employees and their customers. I know I am, and I know that I fall for the false promise of honesty and integrity in a new job time and time again. There’s a lot to be said about working in a company that values its employees just as much as its clients. And Cetus is exactly the kind of place you want to spend quite a chunk of your life working for. Paul Kiveal, our Strategic Business Development Director (I’m still not quite sure what that is, but apparently he’s fantastic at it) explained that at Cetus, we live by the words ‘inspire’, transform’ and ‘together’. And I really do think that those are the best three words to sum up Cetus Solutions.

Inspire
I’m a creative; I draw, I scrapbook, I DIY. So sitting in front of a desk all day every day has always been my idea of Hell. Yes, I can spend hours designing a website, messing around with graphic design software Canva and keeping up with all three of my Twitter accounts (incidentally, three is too much, and they’re a full time job in and of themselves). But I didn’t think that my method of working; which is basically lots of index cards flying about, notebooks of all sizes open and scribbled in and all kinds of lists scattered all over the desk; would fit in an office environment. And sitting? I’ve never had a sit-down job, ever. I hate sitting still, and I hate desks. As it is, I’d rather walk for 45 minutes than wait in the cold for a bus.

Surprisingly, I needn’t have worried. The whole team couldn’t be more accommodating if they tried. I’m encouraged to book out our ‘inspire room’, with its beanbag and comfy sofa, to scribble my thoughts onto the purple whiteboard. I was handed the office supplies catalogue and told to go nuts; I have my own corkboard on its way to help me organise all the bits of paper, notes and reminders that I have flying about. And I couldn’t be happier; sitting at my cosy desk with a cup of coffee, my laptop running quietly while I try and organise myself and next week’s content. I even have a second screen that I use primarily to keep an eye on what’s trending on Tweetdeck. No one stares when I stand up at my desk to get a different perspective on what I’m working on. It’s fantastic.

Transform
With my brand new Journalism and New Media degree, I have a bit of a background in PR and digital marketing. I think it’s fun, and I’ve looked into it for the craic. But I haven’t had much experience at all. So you can imagine my surprise when I actually got The Dream Job at The Dream Company (I’m convinced that I just dazzled them with my Irish accent). But in all seriousness, I walked in last Monday morning worried that I would be thrown into the deep end and be expected to increase engagement and drive leads within five minutes of my arriving. These weren’t ‘first day new job’ nerves, these were ‘I am nowhere near qualified for this and I have no idea what I’m doing’ nerves. A bit like going in to an exam without having had studied for it (not that I would know what that feels like!). Again, I had nothing to worry about. The Marketing Department has doubled in size, and we’re basically going to grow the Cetus marketing into a beast to be reckoned with. Claire Gibson is the Head of Marketing and Strategic Vendor Alliances, and she’s kind of like Wonder Woman. I started with Leanne, our new Campaign Manager, and Claire is carefully directing both of us, as well as getting on with whatever Strategic Vendor Alliances involves. So, while there is a lot to do, there’s no pressure to stress about. We’re not alone in our mission to improve the marketing at Cetus, we’re all in it together. So watch this space, we’re going to get big!

I love working here, I really do. I come in in the morning, with loads of ideas and things to be doing. I never have to ask what needs to be done; I already know what does. I’m constantly planning, organising and creating content for our social media (make sure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and our shiny new Instagram!). The days are short at Cetus; I often don’t get to complete all the tasks that I’ve set myself for the day. But there’s always tomorrow, and the deadlines that have been set are always attainable. My job is definitely an exciting one. There are so many things that need to be done, and I have so much creative freedom, it really is a dream come true!

Together
I’ve settled in quite well already in Cetus. I’ve been so lucky in the past to work with fantastic teams, full of young, ambitious people. And thankfully, it is much the same here at Cetus. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere- you get on with what you need to do, but there’s always time for a chat and a laugh. On Fridays at 2pm, it’s beer o’clock; time for a quick chat with a refreshing drink which we then bring back to our workstations and continue with what we were doing.

Tea and coffee; that is such a luxury. I’m not going to lie, my first day I made the mistake of asking all the ladies on the floor if they wanted teas or coffees and I got bombarded with requests. Trying to remember them all and get them back up the stairs again was a bit tricky, but as with most things, I’m starting to learn everyone’s orders. Typically British, tea is always most popular!

So that was my first week at Cetus; busy, inspiring and fun. I’m happy where I am, with a fantastic group of people with a vision and drive that have made me feel so welcome already. Cetus Solutions isn’t really a job, it’s the beginning of a career, and I know that I’m going to be pottering about the sales floor dropping index cards full of ideas behind me for many years to come.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Cloud, IT Solutions, Uncategorized

The Sheep with No Legs, a World of Many Clouds


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Industrial revolution? The next technology wave? The new age of computing? Just exactly where are we? Automation, augmented reality, big data (too much data), analytics, the drivers for DevOps, AI, machine learning and IoT all have commercial merit and compose strong business cases to deliver that USP or unique value to your business. Long gone are the days of a ‘steady as she goes’ business, the fight for supremacy, the competitive edge and more so survival, will never leave us.

My team and I here at Cetus have been presenting the merits of “The Journey to the Cloud” and building solutions on Cloud platforms since 2010, that seems an age considering the average age of a sheep is only ten years!  Does this mean we’ve not got long left for the Cloud?!

Today we live in a world of many Clouds. I presented this at our recent annual Cetus Summit to my team, I like it! Public, private, hybrid, even bespoke clouds are all too common platform choices alongside regular physical platforms. Many Clouds depicts choice, agility and flexibility. After all no two customers are the same and differentiating business outcomes define organisational stature, a mantra deep in the core of Cetus DNA.

As many organisations have started their cloud journeys and are embracing the utility base computing model, delivering computing like the flick of a light-switch analogy, what constraints are we starting to see?

One must be open and adaptable to the X-as a service model, utilising computing technology the same way your utilities at home are consumed.  I have the little house-spy that monitors consumption of ‘Gaz and Lekkie’ so like it or not, I’m used to a consumption model.  So, it’s actually very easy for us to embrace right?!

Public Cloud adoption whilst both worldwide and dominating, delivering new ways of service delivery is, believe it or not, still in its infancy and does carry constraints.  Let’s go back to the world of many Clouds. Hybrid Cloud platforms, designed and developed specifically for you, your business, your requirements and your desired business objectives, how does that sound? Indeed, much more flexible right?!

But, yes, there’s always a but! What we are starting to see is big data continuing to grow into ‘colossal data’ and it just keeps coming and, we’re really only at the start of the IoT revolution too.  Analytics is almost imperative for management of large volumes of data for organisations to gain the crucial value of their data. Interestingly for the first time in years, hardware vendors are reporting increased sales in high powered edge computing, powerful desktops and laptops. Why? What’s driving this? Simplicity, Data and Analytics. Data can be generated too fast and too large to transport efficiently to the cloud, no doubt costly too, analytics engines need efficient data access and fast processing to produce crucial and meaningful real-time results.

So, the tin-vendors are seeing increases in edge computing sales, meeting demands for high productivity and driving computing efficiency, organisations striving for speedy real-time information at source on a more common well managed Windows 10 device. It’s not unusual for analytics engines to be local to the data, factories, plants, branch offices etc. I recently had the pleasure of understanding how a leading F1 team handles valuable car data and analytics in a matter of seconds, incredible!

So, what next? If i could give you that answer id most likely be ‘up there’ with Elon Musk and some dude named Gates!

The world of many Clouds is upon us, allowing companies like Cetus to design and develop the most flexible, tailored, agile and powerful computing solutions in our heritage. Solutions which embrace on-premise, SaaS, public and hybrid cloud platforms, together in a single managed service or consumption model, this is realism, right now, exciting times!  The increase in edge computing power arguably further stretches the cloud to the desktop, I like the phrase ‘where digital and physical worlds meet’ and forms part of the hybrid or the many-clouds solution.

A further recent debate I had discussed that Cloud is the future’… yet edge / physical computing is on the increase.  Will we see cloud saturation? Will real-time demands and the all-crucial analytics overload bandwidth and public cloud platforms driving a return to local, on premise computing?  The tin-vendors remain buoyant, selling truck-loads of servers to the world of many clouds and now similarly increasing edge computing sales… perhaps a leading indicator?

Will we see a computing singularity? I’d suggest its right here, right now…

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Mike.pngMike English – Managing Director
Since forming Cetus in 2001, Mike drives change and development to ensure Cetus empower and deliver real value to our customers, enabling successful business outcomes.

Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Raison D’être


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I recently joined Cetus Solutions, after knowing them for a number of years and in the throes of business against each other I decided to sign up. I have often been frustrated with their customer base being almost fortress-like, it is difficult to see or know why when you are on the outside.

Now I have joined as a Sales Manager for Cetus I have been enlightened on the reasons why and more interestingly how their ability to work on such large scale customers and projects is a reality.

Working in the industry we do, it is no secret that a lot of money is spent on technology. A number of people see this (normally finance ;-)) as a cost, but actually I feel there is a different way to explain the spending on technology.

If we look at the world today, a car, a Blu-ray player, checking in at a hotel, a new build home. None of these would be considered a suitable purchase or process without modern technology of today. Some people won’t buy a TV without Wi-Fi capability, most people certainly won’t buy a new car if you cannot connect your phone via Bluetooth.

So, why is it acceptable for a business not to do the same? We look at the companies we know and revere in this modern day, we look at how they use IT as a business enabler and these companies all have one thing in common. Huge growth patterns, both financially and also in size. Companies are worth $1b in less than two years, the only way this can happen is investment in technology. Yes we can argue that people are the biggest asset but these people won’t be working at a company that give them a 7kg laptop and a mobile phone they can’t speak to family on.

I shall also bring in my favourite quote, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

But, not all businesses can hire a huge team of technology experts who can advise or consult on the best technology to meet the requirements of an ever changing and more demanding world. So it becomes a struggle to just keep the lights on, let alone let Margaret in Marketing use her personal iPad to access corporate marketing information on a public Wi-Fi in Shanghai whilst on holiday. This also isn’t saying, that technology is everything. But it is the most effective and reliable enabler a business can invest in, enable the idea, the people, the product to do more and this can only mean positive results.

Let’s get to my point… raison d’être. Translated from French this means “the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence”

This isn’t Cetus’ tag line obviously, but after my first couple of weeks that phrase is entirely apt. Cetus’ whole ethos and mantra is about understanding how, when and where a business requires their assistance. The genuine focus is on what is best for the customer, I have seen and heard more about other businesses than I have Cetus in my few weeks here which shows that they truly pull together for one aim. Their raison d’être.

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Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Uncategorized

The Passionate Fishmonger


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I enjoy fish. In fact I really enjoy fish. Like many Brits I consider Fish & Chips to be our national dish; but would I consider myself ‘passionate’ about fish? More importantly, do I believe that anyone can be truly passionate about fish?

I found myself pondering the above during my drive into work one day. As is frequently the case, I passed a fishmonger’s van; on which they proudly proclaimed ‘People – Passion – Fish’. Now I’m clearly not a fishmonger, but I found myself questioning wether they were truly passionate about fish. Was the van driver deep in thought about fish while he drove down the motorway? If I rang them, would the receptionist have to interrupt her musings on the benefits of fish to take my call? I suspect not.

And so, not long after my new found insight into fish & passion; I found myself in the position of having to sum up Cetus Solutions with three words. Clearly ‘passion’ was off the agenda: overused, vague and misunderstood were just three very good reasons to avoid that particular appellation.

We’d reached this position because we had decided it was time to clarify “what Cetus do” as part of a rolling refresh of our marketing messaging under the stewardship of Claire Gibson, our then new Head of Marketing. With this goal in mind, Gary (our Sales & Marketing Director) and I locked ourselves in a room with nothing but a whiteboard and our wits to guide us. We were prepared to spend all day in there if that was what it took. In the end, we found our three words in just under 45 minutes. Not because we couldn’t be bothered, but because describing Cetus in three words was surprisingly simple.

We decided that our words should describe not what we do, but how we do it. They should encapsulate the experience of working with Cetus from our clients’ perspectives; to give a sense of longevity in our approach to relationships; and to recognise that what we do is a highly transformative process. At the end of the short session we had our three words on the whiteboard; we looked at each other and agreed that (a) that didn’t take as long as we’d expected and (b) we liked our new words. These three words are now a central part of our outbound and inbound marketing messaging; providing clients and colleagues alike with a touch point for what to expect when we engage with them. They are:

inspire. transform. together.

Of course, we’re as passionate as any fishmonger here at Cetus; but we believe that our customers want something more than that. Some of our clients have been with Cetus for almost all of 15 year history and they, perhaps better than anyone else, can attest to the accuracy of our chosen three words.

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Blog, Cetus Solutions, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Uncategorized

The Sat Nav Got Me Lost!


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I recently loaned my mother my car to take some friends away for the weekend, I showed her how to put an address into the sat nav and sent her on her way… When she (finally) returned I asked how her weekend was and if the car was ok and I was a little surprised by her response.

“It’s useless… it got me lost, I should have gone in my car, I wish I had my map” which was fully supported by all her friends who continued to berate my car…. my surprise was two fold… firstly how did they get lost with a sat nav and secondly how the sat nav had now led this group of people to say how useless my whole car was.

In my job I rely on my sat nav and use it to guide me around the 20,000 miles of business travel I take on each year and I can honestly say it has yet to fail me. This got me thinking, how can this intelligent woman not see the benefit of this fantastic technology….

The answer; a poorly managed roll out of the technology by the individual pushing the technology on her (in this case me…. her son.) This one, initial poor experience has led to my mother swearing blind she will never use a sat nav again and disliking the whole vehicle!

This got me thinking of just how important that first user experience is in all walks of life and especially in the world of IT. The success or failure of any technology project is judged when it is rolled out to the end users or customers, the whole solution has to work and work well… if there is a slight hiccup that will be the focal point and getting back on track is like navigating spaghetti junction.

The leading edge technology, advanced security and huge time savings your new IT solution delivers are all insignificant if that end user experience is not close to perfection. Ensuring that initial user experience is positive enables the most valuable marketing tool of word of mouth to spread and ease the transition to the new way of working.

At Cetus we focus a great deal of our time engaging with customers before any technology decisions have been made… ensuring we get a true understanding of what you as an organisation are looking to achieve and we can then discuss how technology can help you get there.

Once the technology and project has been decided the impact on the user base becomes the priority and focusing on the least disruptive and easiest transition for the end users is at the heart of the project. The Cetus implementation methodology is tried and tested and is one that has saved many project and programme managers a lot of sleepless nights (or wrong turns!)

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Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Back in the Desert…


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I’m currently looking out at a beautiful ocean, waves lapping in the golden sand desperately trying to disconnect and enjoy that valuable downtime and relaxation we all seek, I’m sure you  know what I mean! Picture it with me.!

I sit here, iPad in hand, writing away, yet this doesn’t phase me as it’s what we all do as driven individuals. Some may read a book, listen to music, I do too but this is modern relaxation, right?!

As I sit back reflect and muse, I look at my son, sitting next to me, earphones in, foot tapping away, ‘Linkin Park’ he says, iPad in hand and hopefully not racking up a large data roaming charge. He’s now 17 and I say to myself, where has the time gone?

Indeed, where has the time gone? The first generation iPhone hit our streets in 2007, the iPad only in 2010, now, both smart phones and tablets are widely adopted and simply part of our daily lives, in such a highly productive world, could we live without them?

Wow its hot today! I’m fully connected to the rest of the world from a beach with Wi-Fi (just say that back to yourself!) and our expectation is exactly that, connectivity. Our connected world has shaped and transformed us all.

My reflecting soon takes on the topical subject of Brexit, a deep conversation over to my right. My thoughts meander to Cetus and how Brexit is naturally influencing our thinking.  I go back to an analogy I used back in pre recessional times around 2008/9, which was derived from a strategy for growth and embracing change. “Let us stop worrying about trying to get out of the desert and start trying to live in the desert, as this is how it is …” referring to the recession of course. Initially some of my colleagues looked at me somewhat deranged and wondered what words I had just spoken!

IT Managers were expected to deliver more with less; reduced resource and restricted budgets were the norm, yet with an expectation to deliver at least the same or indeed a much improved service.

It was crucial for Cetus to embrace change and adapt to a weaker economy, in this case unplanned change thrust our way and beyond our control. We adopted the strategy and challenge for growth through the recession and holistically changed the way we worked with our customers, working to understand not just IT stuff but real business challenges.  We aligned ourselves as a surrogate partner and an extension of our customer’s teams, becoming more of a true business enabler.

What does Brexit mean to Cetus?  This answer would require more time than I’ve got on this sandy beach I’m sure, I could try and lose my passport I guess…  However, here we are once more, Cetus are ever analytical yet un-phased and more importantly embracing the changes en-route.  I do believe the word ‘uncertainty’ is heavily overused as a smoke screen to many.

“Working closer with customers to deliver enablement, increasing agility and productivity, allowing customers to focus on what they should be doing” A mantra Cetus have adopted from day #1.  In camp Cetus, no hill is too steep to climb. This, is certainty.

Like the impact of the smart phone, technology moves at a staggering pace. And it is all too easy to get giddy over the latest and greatest, but how does such technology impact and transform commerce? How can Cetus deliver value to customers to improve their service delivery when they have ever decreasing budgets and resources?

Cetus invest heavily into a continuous development programme of technical and awareness training, complimented by our extensive experience and deliver this to you, we love the challenge! Check out our latest inspiring workshops and case studies on our website to see why we love what we do.  Our new website will keep you abreast of inspirational and thought leadership subject matters, case references and use-cases together with our popular workshop series.

Finally, just reflect on your journey home, what will you be using technology for over the next decade as we approach the ten-year anniversary of the smartphone and the impact it has had on productivity in our lives. Will we finally get to use the area of our brains we have so much to learn about?!

More sunscreen…

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Mike.pngMike English – Managing Director
Since forming Cetus in 2001, Mike drives change and development to ensure Cetus empower and deliver real value to our customers, enabling successful business outcomes.

 

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Current Vacancies, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

It’s Value, But Not As We Know It…


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To be honest, I’ve never been much of a Treky, but the new Star Trek film had me reminiscing about years gone by. And, having recently returned to the IT reseller channel after a 20 year journey through the land of systems integrators and vendors, there’s lots to reminisce about!

It was obvious that things would have changed, but even in the fast paced world of technology it’s amazing how much the market has moved on. And as a Sales and Marketing professional, I can see the impact runs deeper than just the changing dynamics of the IT sector.

A new landscape
Cast your mind back to the IT market of the 1990’s (if you are old enough!) and you find a land of plenty. Prospective customers actively seeking out information on new products, their enquiries fulfilled by sales and marketing teams focussed on features and specifications. When demand outstripped supply, adding value was rarely more than an afterthought for IT vendors and resellers.

Fast forward to the present and the situation could not be more different, with an increasingly congested IT market where it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. And the growth of the web, with powerful search engines and a proliferation of content, has caused an irreversible change in buyer behaviour that dilutes the effectiveness of traditional marketing techniques.

As personal experience will tell you, bombarding people with email or telephone calls rarely delivers results. People now buy differently, they do their own independent research, identify different potential solutions to their problems, and produce a shortlist of suitable suppliers, all through the use of the web. Search engines mean they can discover all they need to know without speaking to pesky salespeople!

Behaviour change
This new behaviour is known as ‘inbound marketing’ and has dramatically changed the interactions between customers and suppliers. The customer no longer needs to speak to a salesperson for product information, so the first time they engage is at the end of the process when they are ready to buy. In principle this is good for everyone, it’s an efficient use of time and resources, but it has a couple of key problems.

Firstly, the quality of the end result is dependent on the customer’s research uncovering the best possible solutions, and in today’s time pressured environment that isn’t always the case. And conversely, it’s more challenging for suppliers to get their voice heard and add enough value to earn their place in the buying process.

So, in the brave new world of inbound marketing, how do IT resellers add real value?

Creating value
The answer lies in the customer’s expectations of their suppliers in this new world. They expect suppliers to inject new ideas they can’t discover for themselves, and to challenge their thinking with insights that are directly relevant to them. In turn, this demands that suppliers build a detailed knowledge of their customers, the markets they operate in and the stakeholders they serve.

This is a real challenge for many IT resellers, who are naturally focused on the technology sector rather than their customers markets. But the prize for meeting the challenge is early involvement in the buying process, bringing the opportunity to shape thinking and influence strategy – in short, the chance to add value.

So for IT resellers to add real value for their customers, they need a detailed knowledge of the vertical markets their customers operate in, a clear focus on business outcomes, and a proven ability to deliver tangible benefits. Coupled with a tailored approach for each individual customer that is relevant, personal and compelling.

Our DNA
Here at Cetus we’ve thrived in the changing IT market of the last 15 years, largely because the ability to add real value for our customers is embedded in our DNA.
But don’t take my word for it, let us prove it!

Just contact us and give us the opportunity to ‘walk the walk’. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about working with Cetus, take a look at the Who we are  section of our website, or register for one of our upcoming Inspired Leaders Programme events.

Directors-9688Gary Hyman – Sales & Marketing Director
Gary’s core focus is to find potent solutions that help customers confront specific business challenges, equipping them to enrich the lives of their customers and stakeholders.