Three-quarters of all companies are in the service industry yet service is often over-looked.

I met Ian Mean, the former Citizen Editor, the other day and we were reminiscing on this, the fifth anniversary of the Game Changer column that is published every month in Gloucestershire Echo, Gloucester Citizen and South West Business, a series that Ian and I created back in 2012. Since then I have featured over 60 local businesses and the changes their leaders have made for the better.

This month I am shining a light on a company that is doing IT differently by including ‘Why?’ at the heart of their values and starting with the problem rather than offering a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Gary Smith, MD, of Optimising IT is the first to acknowledge that his industry is full of jargon and tech speak which confuses rather than helps or serves clients. A casual look at many IT firms' websites confirms a product led view featuring strange words such as gigabit ethernets, PIX firewalls, LAN support etcetera. Whereas Optimising IT's website focuses on first-class service and matching skills to client needs i.e. fixing problems.

That’s the game changer that Gary quickly realised which led to him forming Optimising IT in 2013. Since then the company has quickly grown with a turnover of a million pounds and employing 15.

For the past six months, I have been working with Gary on the LEAD programme where he is focusing on the next stage of growth with the creation of a fully segmented business plan, a new senior management team and a new board with an external chairman. At the centre of the business plan is ‘Why?’ as Gary and his management team have taken the time to ask clients what they are looking for from an IT support provider and are building that understanding into their business plan. Asking ‘Why?’ reaches into their everyday interactions with clients ensuring client problems get fixed.

With their primary focus on multi-site companies with more than 50 staff, Optimising IT know that for clients to place trust in a partner to manage their IT is a big step. Gary and his team work hard understanding their clients’ organisation, the markets they operate in and their aspirations. This allows them to match the services, infrastructure and personnel to deliver the desired IT performance. Moreover, they build a continuous improvement plan into the way they work with every client to ensure the service becomes better and better!

So consider taking a leaf out of Gary’s book and asking ‘Why’ to help your customers.

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