Business Transformation using Cisco and 5i

Posted by Chris on January 15th, 2010

How to achieve customer business transformation using Cisco technology and 5i methodology

Define your customers’ collaboration strategy – Transform their business (and yours)

Collaboration has become critical in a world where employees can be anywhere, travel budgets are tight, and information overload is ‘normal’.

Cisco’s latest solutions represent a major breakthrough in the capabilities of technology to transform business, but to ensure success, your customers need an effective collaboration strategy.

5i’s unrivalled experience in designing and deploying Cisco-based collaboration solutions has taught us a thing or two about making technology work to deliver business benefit – and we’d like to share them with you and your customers.

Here’s the simple 6 Step approach to driving the optimal value from your customers’ collaboration strategy:

1.Identify the value. Team members must understand the value they are expected to deliver, whether it’s increasing revenue or moving into a new market.

2.Link it to business strategies. Collaborations that are aligned to corporate strategy deliver the greatest value.

3.Select team players who are engaging, creative, and expert. Team members must be excited and optimistic about the project and bring a unique expertise.

4.Build trust. More important than employees trusting their managers is co-workers trusting each other.

5.Define business processes. Great collaborators require flexibility creating processes that are unique to their role in the collaboration. Each team member should have a specific responsibility and the opportunity and incentive to improve the process.

6.Employ technology that is flexible and secure. Collaborators need to communicate securely and flexibly. Virtual interactions can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings when they support preferred working styles and provide a valuable contact.

For a FREE introductory assessment of your customer’s collaborative potential, delivered via our proven partnering model that maximises your margin and project quality call 01189 885558 or email

For more information about 5i go to

Not all clouds ( or cloud computing platforms ) are the same!

Posted by Chris on January 13th, 2010

Identifying which cloud computing solution best fits your business.

Tags; Cloud computing, outsourced IT, service levels, 365 iTechnology, Garry Growns

In life we often learn the hard way that commonly used terms can mean so many different things to different people. Apparently simple terms such as ‘all inclusive’ (holidays), ‘great views’ (house moving) and “pillion friendly ” (motorcycles) have proven to be so miss-leading to me. The same is often true in the IT arena and the rapidly growing arena of Cloud Computing is no exception.

Cloud Computing is far from being an entirely new concept. In essence it’s how services are bundled from both technical/operational and commercial perspectives. But what’s really interesting is the way the term can mean so many different things depending upon the various vendor solutions. In my role as director of IT managed services for the IT services company 365 iTechnology I’ve spent a lot of time trying to simplify for prospective customers the various scenarios and terminology I use and I thought it might be useful to share this.

Cloud Computing

This is an often used term but a quick web search will provide a vast number of very different definitions. It’s important therefore to appreciate this is only a general term. I explain it succinctly as “the use of IT applications and/or IT infrastructure delivered and supported from a remote location by a third party”. It does not indicate what aspects are included or how and to what standards the various services are delivered.

Accordingly when speaking to prospective customers I use the following terminology:

SaaS (Software as a Service)

This is effectively the renting of applications on a per user basis. The attraction is that users do not need to worry about the procurement of application licensing, server hardware, storage, hosting, data backup or support. The down side is there are limited applications available (although this is growing) and for many businesses they would need to liaise with many suppliers whilst using in-house solutions to meet their entire needs. Not an ideal scenario. Some of the general applications are grouped together, perhaps the best known supplier of these is Google Apps. Accordingly I see SaaS a good fit for two different scenarios; 1) The start-up or SoHo businesses or 2) larger, established businesses needing to use specific applications such as CRM.

Private Cloud

This is effectively the collocation of business specific infrastructure and applications in to a remote data centre environment. Here it may be combined with shared services such as data storage and backup, network access, monitoring and management. It’s effectively enhanced hosting and consequently tends to suit the larger businesses with exiting infrastructure investment.

Cloud Computing Platform

In this scenario the service provider would provide all aspects of the computing infrastructure whilst using the customers existing applications. The services supplied vary enormously but should include servers with operating systems, data storage, monitoring and management e.g. OS patching and anti-virus updates, data backup and server DR (disaster recovery). These should all be delivered against agreed service levels.

This diagram shows these various elements and highlights how this approach enables the customer to focus on managing the applications knowing that the infrastructure and supporting services are all in place, monitored and underpinned by robust recovery and support procedures.

In addition the Cloud Computing Platform is usually provided on service fee basis thereby avoiding the need for capital expenditure whilst assisting with budgeting.

ROI is also underpinned by driving service improvements and through the lowering of support costs as in-house IT support is now free to manage applications and strategic activities rather than day-to-day IT admin.

This Cloud Computing Platform model should be able to meet the needs of most businesses. Clearly this is dependent up the selected service provider and care must be taken in choosing the correct partner.

About Garry Growns

Garry has 30 years experience in IT services and telecommunications, including the Internet, disaster recovery and data management services. His previous position was as a main board director for Guardian iT plc where he had specific responsibility for group sales. He was also chief operating officer with responsibility for the group’s day to day disaster recovery and data back up businesses. Previously Garry worked at COLT Internet as international sales director and BT as a general manager in the data networking and Internet sectors.

About 365 iTechnology

365 iTechnology are a proven team of IT service delivery experts which though its six operating divisions provide affordable IT services, business continuity, network security and management, storage solutions, data back-up, support and many more IT services to help you serve your customers better.

365 iTechnology delivers enterprise class IT services and solutions that enhance operating effectiveness, raise productivity and increase ROI. 365 iTechnology is not just about service delivery, but is committed to providing seamless, cost effective iT solutions

IT services and solutions provider 365iT appoints Pieter Hooft as non-executive director

Posted by Chris on December 19th, 2009

IT services and solutions provider 365iT appoints Pieter Hooft as non-executive director

Appointment of Non-Executive Director

Basingstoke 21st December 2009: 365 iT plc, the IT services and solutions provider, is very pleased to announce the appointment of Pieter Hooft as a non-executive Director of the
Pieter Hooft is currently Managing Director of UK Investments for LMS Capital plc, the LSE listed international investment group. He has over 15 years’ investment experience in
management buyouts and development capital in the UK and across Europe.
Commenting on this appointment, Peter MacLean, 365 iT’s
chairman and chief executive, said: “I am delighted to
welcome Pieter to the Board. He has extensive experience of
helping companies achieve rapid and profitable growth and I
look forward to his contribution to the Board and to his
expertise and support for the continued development of the
Pieter previously worked at Apax Partners and JPMorgan
Partners. Since joining LMS Capital in November 2006, Pieter has joined the boards of
Updata Infrastructure Holdings Ltd, Entuity Ltd, Kizoom Ltd, ITS Engineered Systems Inc and
First Index Inc.
Pieter is a Dutch national and is fluent in French and German. He was educated in The
Netherlands and at HEC Paris.

Notes to the Editor
365 iT plc was founded in 2005 and now employs over 85 people. Through its wholly owned
subsidiaries (365 iTechnology Ltd, 5i Ltd and 7 Global Group Ltd), the group provides an extensive
range of IT services and solutions that address the nine strategic functional areas in IT operations and
management: IT Managed Services, Unified Communications, Business Continuity, Data Backup, IT
Security, Virtualisation, Networks, Storage Solutions and Infrastructure solutions.
Stephen Bean
Tel: +44 (0) 7747 100000

Nortons Corporate Finance & Consulting

Posted by Chris on December 10th, 2009

Contact: Rory or Ian.

The Unified Communications ( big ) Dark Horse?

Posted by Chris on December 10th, 2009

As a founder investor in 5i Limited ( ) which is now owned by the rapidly growing and  expanding 365iT Group ( ), where I am a shareholder, I like to keep abreast of developments in the Unified Communications world.

This No Jitter article

points out that Google may well be the big dark horse of Unified Communications.

It also talks about Skype ( which I use ), Digium’s Asterisk ( I moderate a Voip and Asterisk Club here ) , Microsoft ( 5i is also a Microsoft UC specialist ) and IBM ( 365iT is an IBM VAR – although mainly in the virtualisation area ) as being the other parties of interest.

Cisco ( in whom 5i specialises ) is for me the main player to watch in this area and always has been since we first installed a Cisco ( it was actually Celsius then ) voip solution at Voyager in the late 90’s. My investment in 5i was predominantly based on the belief that Cisco would dominate this convergence/UC space.

Skype,Digium,Microsoft and IBM are all growing thier influence in this area but I agree that Google is the one to watch now and look forward to part 2 of this article.

Promoting IT Managed Services and Computer Hosting

Posted by Chris on December 3rd, 2009

The news that 365iT recently acquired IT Managed Services and Computer Hosting company 7 global gave us the opportunity to experiment with getting listed on Google NOT for the names of the companies eg 365iT, 7 global and 5i, but for the products and services that they offer.

As we have mentioned before the only people that are going to search on 365iT, 7 global and 5i for news about this acquisition are the people that already know about it ( because they have been told about it in some way and just need a bit more information).

Actually what we want is for people that are searching for terms like ” IT Managed Services Provider ” or ” Computer Hosting Services ” to come across the news that eg there is an IT Managed Services company that has just become a sister company to a unified communications company and could therefore provide a managed hosted unified communications solution as a ” one stop shop “.

This is actually what the potential customer wants ( assuming that this is what they were looking for ) and what the supplier companies involved want aswell ( ie they are looking for potential customers who want a combination of IT managed services, computer hosting and unified communications ). So, this is truly a win-win situation. In addition since Google wants to provide it’s searchers with the most relevant information for thier search it is a win for them aswell.

So, the first thing to understand is that we are not seeking to promote the company names involved in the acquisition but what the acquisition does for the potential clients. This leads to a re-prioritising and re-wording of the Press Releases and other communications  and it assumes that we have already worked out what keywords and phrases we want to promote. 

In this case for example 365iT, 7 global and 5i make way for IT Managed Services, Computer Hosting and Unified Communications. THESE are the things that we want to promote into the search.

The original Press Release

is therefore modfied to this Press Release


where one emphasises the names of the companies and the other emphasises what they do. ( This thinking reminds me of the Feature, Advantage, Benefit sales philosophy – a Feature is like the company name, an Advantage is something that the company can do and a Benefit is something the customer needs and the supplier can provide and will lead to a cost saving or improvement in service ).

I chose a paid ( I paid $20 ) Press Release through 24-7 Press particularly because it is one that I have had a lot of positive experience with and I know that not only does it rank high but also it lasts some time in this ranking. ( Some Press Release sites posts appear briefly and then disappear ).

24-7 PR is also easy to upgrade so that, for example, you improve the SEO and the analytics as you go. I noted that PRFire was one of the websites that got good rankings when we were investigating boiler room brokers in an earlier post.

So it was a calculated assessment that by using the right PR sites with the right wording we would get appropriate rankings and this has indeed proved to be the case ( at the time of writing ) with the search as follows

 achieving a top of Page 1 listing and another front page listing

and subsets of this search eg

also getting onto Page 1.

It should be noted that this is within hours of the Press Release actually being released ( it was released today ).

As soon as it was released we have supported the PR with comments and posts on eg Facebook and Twitter and links from these sites.

It will of course require further work to maintain these Page 1 listings but ” Objective achieved ” for the moment.

M&A Technology Reviews talks about 365iT

Posted by Chris on December 2nd, 2009

This is an interesting review from Icon Corporate Finance of Q2 M&A activity and mentions 365iT as being on the acquisition trail which it is for selected companies that fit the portfolio, such as the acquisition of 5i earlier this year and the very recent acquisition of 7 global.

365 iT plc acquires IT managed services and computer hosting specialist 7 Global.

Posted by Chris on December 1st, 2009

365 iT plc has acquired the IT managed services and computer hosting specialist 7 Global Group Ltd (7global) from LSE Listed ,LMS Capital plc and LMS have taken a 12.5% equity interest in 365 iT.



7global, based in Liverpool, was originally formed in 1999 and has

developed a portfolio of fully managed IT services specifically aimed at

software vendors and end user organisations that wish to take advantage of Software as a

Service (Saas). The acquisition strategically enhances 365 iT’s capabilities in the fast evolving IT

managed services sector. It also strengthens 365 iT’s business relationships with key global IT

providers which include Microsoft, Cisco and Citrix.

“This acquisition is an excellent fit for 365 iT” said Peter MacLean,

chairman and chief executive. “It strengthens our strategic position

within the IT managed services sector, whilst also extending our product

portfolio, our client base and our geographical presence. The combined

focus of the enlarged 365 iT Group will enable us to further develop our

strategy of rapidly expanding our revenue and market share.”

MacLean concluded; “The Group’s capabilities are further enhanced by

the substantial technical talent and strong customer support attitude

that is prevalent at 7global.”

“We remain positive about 7global’s prospects as a leading Saas

infrastructure provider in the UK. 365 iT is well positioned to accelerate 7global’s growth,

thanks to its scale and complementary service offering. Therefore we are delighted to become

a shareholder in 365 iT in order to share in the profitable growth of the combined business”

said Pieter Hooft, MD UK Investments LMS Capital plc.

“This acquisition is an important development for all our customers and employees” said Chris

Bithell, Managing Director of 7global. “I am personally very excited about the opportunities

the future holds for us and am very confident that 7global will play a major role in the

development of 365 iT.”


Notes to the Editor

1. 365 iT plc was founded in 2005 and now employs over 85 people. Through its wholly owned

subsidiaries (365 iTechnology Ltd, 5i Ltd and 7 Global Group Ltd), the Group provides an

extensive range of IT services and solutions that address the nine strategic functional areas in

IT operations and management: IT Managed Services, Unified Communications, Business

Continuity, Data Backup, IT Security, Virtualisation, Networks, Storage Solutions and

Infrastructure Solutions.

2. 7global will continue to operate under its brand and name and will trade as a wholly owned

subsidiary of 365 iT plc. All 7global’s executives and employees will remain with the enlarged

365 iT group. 7global provides a range of support services and IT managed services including

hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM, software and server hosting and Software as a Service (Saas)

delivery from its data centres including its ISO 27001 registered data centre located in the

former bullion vaults of the Bank of England in Liverpool.

3. LMS Capital plc is an international investment company whose shares are listed on the

London Stock Exchange. The investment portfolio comprises investments in both the US and

UK, with a spread of early stage and second round technology investments, development

capital and mature company buy-outs.



Stephen Bean


Tel: +44 (0) 7747 100000

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