We’re excited to announce the launch of Legal Ignite – our new cloud platform, designed specifically for small to mid-sized law firms. Backed by our ten years’ of experience in cloud and our in-depth knowledge of the legal industry, Legal Ignite is designed to help law firms benefit from the security, scalability and convenience that cloud computing can provide.
Combining a robust mix of best-of-breed hardware and legal software, Legal Ignite has been built specifically with the legal sector in mind and can be adjusted to fit each firm’s exact requirements. It can even be delivered onsite for those firms which are wary of moving to the cloud.
Firms can use their existing software or opt for our chosen partners, for everything from time recording and practice management systems, through to CRM, email security, document management and case workflow. Other hardware and other IT related services can be delivered on a simple operating expense model.
The new cloud platform has been built to boost efficiency by being simple to use. It’s completely customisable and scalable, without compromising on security. Legal Ignite is hosted in the UK’s most secure data centres, which are operated to military standards. They also have ISO 27001 and other security accreditations and come with 100% uptime guarantee.
Legal Ignite also offers a built-in IT manager-on-demand and CIO-on-demand services to provide law firms with board level expertise to help them make business-focused decisions that support continual business improvements. Helping your law firm make the best business decisions as new issues, priorities and challenges arise in this rapidly changing sector.
“With competition in the legal sector more fierce than ever before, firms need to employ IT systems that help them work faster, smarter and more efficiently. Cloud computing can offer all of these benefits and more – but it’s vital that firms choose a mature, custom-built cloud solution that has been developed with the specific needs of the legal sector in mind,” comments QuoStar CEO, Robert Rutherford.
“Legal Ignite ticks all of these boxes by offering an easy-to-use solution that helps firms to compete more effectively, without compromising on security. We run a 24x7x365 operation, manned by seasoned and qualified engineers, to ensure constant uptime and availability. This way, firms not only benefit from having a modern flexible IT system that can help boost productivity, but also a strong support network of industry-focused experts.”
2015 is QuoStar’s 10th anniversary. We have come a long way from a shoe-box office with no windows and no clients to where we are today. We have learnt so many lessons as we’ve probably hit most bumps in the road along the way. However, I wouldn’t change that as that experience is what makes you stronger, more capable and I believe a better person.
I was asked after 10 years in business what lessons had I learnt whilst chatting with a friend who is looking to start his own business. I could list hundreds but here are 10 key lessons I’ve personally learnt along my journey to date:
1. Don’t chase the money
Do what you love and the business and the associated benefits will come. Even if you are adding an additional product or service into your organisation you have to be passionate about it. If you aren’t your teams won’t be and you can be sure that your clients won’t be. The passion has to come from the very top, passion sells.
2. Hire slowly and address issues quickly
Good people can deliver 3 times the return of a normal hire. Bad people 3 times less. If your interviews last 5 hours or a day, or more – that’s fine. Be sure and plan your hires, as far in advance as possible. When networking, don’t just look for business, look to meet people you like, value, trust and respect. People you could maybe one day employ. Employ staff who are willing to develop themselves outside of the 9 to 5. Being the best takes more work than normal – make sure you reward that. In my view, you should like every member of your staff, and they should all be of equal importance in your eyes. If they aren’t then something is wrong, address it.
3. Don’t think your staff know how much you appreciate them
Make sure ‘you’ tell them. Developing your staff develops you just as much as them, from a business and personal perspective. Everyone in your business adds value. Be sure that you don’t allow a hierarchy that allows others to look down on anyone else. Personally, I hate personal offices and make sure I move around the office, so I can feel the business and know all of my people.
4. Manage expectations
If you say you’ll do something, no matter how small – do it. It’s so easy to procrastinate as a business leader as there is so much to do. Pay attention to both staff and clients, return calls on time and be careful not to let emails fall off the radar when someone is wanting or expecting a reply. Over time, even the slightest failures can build up, no matter how good you or your business are. Everyone’s perception is their reality. Take time to put yourself in other’s shoes.
5. Never lie to a client, a prospect or a member of staff
Business is complicated enough without carrying that baggage. Take business personally but be prepared to take some pain – people are fickle and can turn on you in a second. The old phrase “there are no friends in business” is ‘mostly’ true. However, in my view, it’s best to place trust in others than to withhold it, just go in with your eyes open to what could happen.
6. Don’t have an ego
Be confident in yourself but never be arrogant. There’s always someone better than you out there so get over yourself. I still remember people who were rude or condescending when I started off, you never forget it. Do show respect to those businesses who are just starting as one day you may want them as a client. Don’t network on a business level thinking about what others can do for you. Look to meet people you like and people who like and understand you. If you help others with your experiences and expertise then they’ll do the same. If they don’t then just accept it and don’t worry about it as you don’t have time to harbour negativity.
7. You can’t be a master of everything
Even if you can, you can’t grow a business like that. It’ll affect you and those you employ. Along the same lines don’t blame others if things aren’t going right; you are most likely to be to blame if you really break it down. On the flip side if things are going well it’s probably down to someone else – make sure you recognise that.
8. There is no such thing as a work/life balance
Something has to give and it’s down to you to make a conscious decision on what. If you are sacrificing now then be working towards something that gives you time later on – but set a date that it needs to happen. Use your work diary for home and business – invest your time in both. Personally, I no longer work on a weekend, except for maybe an hour on a Sunday night, however, for the first few years of business, I was working at least 70 hours a week. I’d be surprised if anyone can get a new business off the ground with little commercial experience on 40 hours a week.
9. Don’t moan about clients or anything else in your business
Your staff pick up on that and one day you’ll want to change that pattern. You’ll appreciate that people are different and you are probably to blame for their perception. If you really are right to moan then let that client go as it’s not doing you, your staff, your reputation or the client any good.
10. If you can’t measure all areas of your business you can’t manage them
Ensure you can measure and set KPIs across your business. If you don’t have accurate data and can’t report on it then making decisions comes down to gut feel. Sure, that may work for a good deal of the time but the advantage comes from upping the percentage of good decisions. Going forward real-time data and reporting becomes invaluable.
So, on my now starting my next 10 years…. I’m sure I have plenty more to learn. I’m happy with that as I guess if you aren’t learning you aren’t doing anything new.
QuoStar has been shortlisted for a Cloud World Series Award, in the category of “Best Cloud SME Project by a Vendor”. The company, whose operational headquarters are based in Bournemouth, have been nominated alongside big names like Amazon, NetSuite and VMware.
The Cloud World Series Awards are a celebration of the drive, innovation and hard work in the global cloud computing industry, There are six categories recognising services from across the ecosystem. The Awards will bring together the industry leaders and experts across who have driven developments over the past year.
The winners will be announced at the Cloud World Forum on the 24th of June.
To find out more about QuoStar’s private cloud solutions, click here.
IT support and consultancy firm QuoStar have received an award for ambition. The firm, whose operational headquarters are in Bournemouth, has been named as one of the UK’s most ambitious companies in the southern region.
This award is unique because no company could put themselves forward or receive a nomination. Instead, more than 5000 companies in the south of England were researched against a set of measures. Accountants Baker Tilly, law firm Rawlison Butler, and consultants Endgame Insight independently assessed these. The criteria for the award included:
A desire to build a business of some significance, to be a leader rather than a follower.
An ability to think, and act, strategically as well as operationally and opportunistically.
A desire and willingness to build a strong management team.
A shaker of traditional beliefs’ to achieve success.
A skillful perpetuator and up-dater of traditional beliefs to achieve/sustain competitive advantage.
An organization which is determined to continually develop new standards in terms of process, practice and delivery.
Demonstration of a will to succeed despite obstacles
“The criteria include a desire to build a business of some significance, to be a leader rather than a follower, and an ability to think, and act, strategically,” explained Jon Da Costa, a partner at Baker Tilly. At the award presentation, Tim Sadka, a partner at Rawlison Butler said that an ambitious company has a determination to succeed regardless of any obstacles.
Robert Rutherford, QuoStar CEO, receives The South’s Most Ambitious Companies award from Jon Da Costa, a partner at accountants Baker Tilly (right), and Tim Sadka, a partner at law firm Rawlison Butler (left), at a presentation held at Fetcham Park, Leatherhead.
QuoStar delivers cloud services from multiple, highly secure and compliant UK data centres. The latest additions are purpose-built, ex-Ministry of Defence facilities that are armoured, nuclear bomb-proof, military specified fortresses.
In addition to this unequalled level of security and redundancy, the new data centre has the ability to support high levels of power, cooling and stringent access control procedures.
The facilities benefit from 3m thick reinforced concrete walls, solid steel doors, CCTV systems with 24-hour video recording, visual verification of all persons entering the data floors, no unescorted access, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) protection, Tempest RFI intrusion protection, shared or dedicated partitioned areas, and redundant power and cooling
The new data centres are based outside of London. Although London is the second-largest internet exchange in the world, it is also one of the highest risk cities. Flood, terrorism, theft and power are all real and present threats.
These additional hosting facilities boast:
Ultra-secure – The state-of-the-art data centres are ex-Ministry of Defence command and control facilities that provide an ultra-secure environment for your systems.
Ultra-available – Dual-delivery capabilities can provide you with 100% up-time – in addition to auto-failover.
ISO 27001 compliant – All data centres extend QuoStar’s own ISO status. A data centre’s accreditation is nothing if the company running the services from them is not.
Full EMP and Tempest Shielded data floors – Top tier protection for cabinets and the hardware situated within them.
Infrared CCTV with 24-hour video – Top tier video surveillance systems covering all cabinets and points of access
G-Cloud compliant data centre – Accredited to work with government agencies
Escorted access – During any visit, QuoStar’s engineers, will be escorted to ensure systems and data are guarded at physical levels.
All of the above results in the UK’s most secure data centre. At QuoStar we wouldn’t accept anything less.
QuoStar, the IT consultancy and outsourcing provider, has today announced a new strategic partnership with BT Plc. This makes QuoStar one of only 20 authorised BT Indirect Sales Partners
As a result, QuoStar will now be able to provide clients with a seamless combination of IT and voice services.
QuoStar will take responsibility for all the telephony services provided to its clients by working directly with BT. The partnership also enables QuoStar to appoint resellers. This will enable smaller providers and strategic partners to sell BT products and services with the knowledge that QuoStar’s account management, consulting and engineering teams are on hand to offer support at any time.
Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar, explains: “We engaged in a strategic partnership with BT due to the company’s proven capabilities, reach and range of quality services. In the past, QuoStar has simply referred work to a mix of telephony partners. However, this new partnership means we can take direct responsibility for telephony services for our clients. Along with telephony, QuoStar will also be adding BT’s vast array of network services to its own network service portfolio, to deliver both resilience and performance enhancement to clients. As a result, our clients will get the quality they expect, the tried-and-tested relationship with QuoStar that they value and – of course – the cost-savings they need.”
QuoStar Solutions, the IT consultancy and outsourcing provider, has today announced that it has been awarded ISO 20000 certification. The international standard recognises the highest level of service quality for clients and facilitates continual improvement; both of which align with QuoStar’s business strategy and ethos.
Based on ITIL (IT Service Information Library), ISO 20000 was given a major upgrade in 2011 and is now recognised as the “best practice” Service Quality Management Control System for IT Service globally. As such, many now widely consider ISO 20000:2011 as the “ISO 9001” for IT service companies and departments specifically. Due to the fact that ISO 9001 only sets out generic requirements for quality standards that are applicable to all organisations, regardless of type, size and product provided.
Along with its new ISO 20000:2011 certification, QuoStar is also certified to ISO 270001. It’s the only international information security standard against which organisations can seek independent certification of their Information Security Management Systems.
Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar, says: “A limited number of IT service organisations in the world that hold both of these certifications. With this new certification, we are making a clear statement to our clients by demonstrating our commitment to delivering world-class security and service on a continually improving basis.
Certifications like these have become an important differentiator for us. They provide our clients with an independent assessment of our service quality and security. Even though ISO 20000:2011 is a difficult certification to achieve and maintain, we commit to meeting all of these important standards so we can continue to provide a consistent, high-value service that our clients can trust.”
For the third year running, Bournemouth and London based IT Services provider QuoStar has achieved a full flush of Green Lights in a recent Microsoft Gold Partner Customer Satisfaction Index survey.
Microsoft Gold Partners are judged on a number of criteria in five key performance areas that measure customer satisfaction. TNS, one of the world’s largest market research companies, administers the survey independently, on behalf of Microsoft.
TNS talked to QuoStar’s clients to determine the level of satisfaction. The survey generates a score in each area, which is compared to the average for all Gold Partners. A higher than average score results in a green light on the Microsoft ‘Dashboard’. QuoStar achieved all five green lights.
Currently, participation in the Microsoft customer survey is voluntary. However, QuoStar has been happy to engage since becoming a Gold Partner. “We had no hesitation in signing up for it from our very first year after securing Gold accreditation back in 2006. It’s right that they talk to our clients; now we know it was our customers who decided we’d made the grade again,” says a delighted Rob Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar.
Its importance is not lost on the QuoStar team. “For a start, it helps us understand and act on customer satisfaction and loyalty information, and to remain competitive by benchmarking our industry performance,” Rutherford explains. “Had the survey picked up any weaknesses or areas of customer dissatisfaction, we’d be able to put things right immediately. As it didn’t, it shows us that we’re delivering what our clients want, which hopefully makes it important to them as well.”
Microsoft states that Gold Certified Partners “…represent the highest level of competence and expertise with Microsoft technologies and have the closest working relationship with Microsoft.”. Rutherford and his team see participation by customers as an advantage that ensures QuoStar maintains this ‘highest level of competence’.
Microsoft’s five key performance areas are NSAT (Net Satisfaction Rating ), customer segmentation, revenue impact, customer loyalty and overall performance. They have now decided to mandate the survey for Gold Partners every year, something that Rutherford looks forward to. “I’m keen to see how some of our so-called competitors measure up,” he added wryly.
Leading IT consultancy and support provider, QuoStar has achieved ISO 27001 accreditation for its secure data and information systems.
ISO 27001 is the global standard for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). By obtaining this accreditation, QuoStar clients can be assured that the company has structured its ISMS to the highest standards.
Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar, explains: “A part of the strategic outsourcing model we offer our clients, and through our QuoStar Hosted Desktop Software-as-a-Service initiative, we are responsible for large volumes of proprietary, sensitive and often irreplaceable client data held on our systems.
“The ISO 27001 is a stringent accreditation and acquiring it has you jumping through hoops. However, trust is vital in business relationships – none more so than in our sector. So it makes sound commercial sense for us to document our security and organisational policies and gain accreditation. It provides further client assurance and gives us another competitive edge in this market.”