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Betasoft is 12 – Reflections – Part 2

My previous blog about Betasoft’s development over the last 12 years somehow and abruptly ended in 2010. Shock and horror – that is an age ago. Perhaps some might be interested how we went on from there.

In 2010 Neil joined in the Spring and then helped to get Mark on board. Mark came in for an interview and when I told him that our business was related to printers, he stormed out! In Dell, where he worked, printers were looked after by the lowest category  of support staff. So we sat down and looked at the work I actually did day in day out. And that was fixing an SQL problem for a large university and setting up a clustered SafeCom server for another corporate client. Suddenly, he was very interested. A year later Richard joined, also from Dell. I figured I needed to recruit people not with SafeCom and Print related skills, but consultants with good IT, server and troubleshooting skills. People who knew about how to support large customers. Both Mark and Richard stayed at Betasoft since. Neil left for a short while, before returning in 2015. I thought he had more to learn and a post for UK Managing Director for SafeCom came up. Perfect place for another apprenticeship.

Nelson came and after a couple of years felt it was time to move upwards and onwards. He left with our best wishes. We were less lucky with engineer-level posts. Even the interview process was an eye opener. you’d invite someone to an interview, they accept but then never turn up. One other started a job, but unbeknown to us continued an application elsewhere. Once that came good they left again. I learned that the higher skilled roles could be filled by better calibre candidates and that would be what we end up focussing on. Although, at Glasgow University we had to cover all aspects of installation: servers and printer software with card readers onsite. We hired Iain to do the onsite work for us for a fixed period. Iain was a more mature gentlemen, reliable and trustworthy. They don’t make new models like that anymore.

Over the last 7 years we retained most of the HE accounts we had and added more. There was Cranfield, Manchester Metropolitan, University of Manchester, St Andrews, Hull, Glasgow. Those were the accounts we would continue to do great work with over the years. Some decided to split the software element from their MPS contract and engage Betasoft directly. In very large accounts that is when we can deliver the best results.

Over the same period we also developed our partner business. Not necessarily by being the lowest cost, but by focussing on deep relationships and value add services. Having Betasoft provide all the required technical expertise and experience helped our partners to close out more challenging opportunities and tenders.

Barry joined us in 2014, having just relocated back to Scotland from a stint in Australia. Steven joined in Spring 2016 and Doug later on that year. Steven primarily looks after our large HE accounts in Manchester. He is our assigned consultant for our Managed SafeCom Service at MMU. Steven also took on all activities relating to developing templates for our SafeCom Advanced Reporting offering. Doug does most of the installation and support work for SoftCat and a couple of other partners. All in the tech team have a great passion for their work, which our customers will no doubt notice.

Sharon joined us in 2015 and looks after all our finances. Aside from Karen, who she replaced, we had been unlucky with our choices until then. I accept that being an only lady in a room full of geeks takes its toll eventually.

In 2014 I also decided to to create a post for doing all of our quotes. Alistair was a great kid. However, his heart was on the Golf course and not with his desk job – and that’s where he is now and happy. Suzanne replaced Alistair 12 months ago. Her passion is numbers and spreadsheets and doing things correctly. And that makes my heart beat happier.  Suzanne also has legal training. So look out for the small print.

So where are we? After 12 years with primarily print related solution activities this new year will hopefully witness a shift into new territories. More of that in 12 months time.