Building a great working relationship by taking the time to fully understand a construction business
With a 50 year history, Snape Group is a very well established construction firm in the south west. Made up of several companies including Snape Contracting, they turn over tens of millions of pounds each year. They cover an area from Birmingham down to North Somerset and across to Oxford and have several offices across the region, all of which are supported by Inflection Point.
After the service had gone a bit stale from their previous IT consultants, MD of Snape Constructing Darryl Hawkins invited Inflection Point to lead a review into their needs. Three years later and we are trusted advisers to Snape Group, helping with IT Support and strategic development.
Darryl explains what stands out about our service, and how we are well-suited to helping businesses in the construction sector.
Time for a change
Darryl opens: “We had been served by our previous IT company for about ten years. I knew it had gone stale when I tried to reach out for them to discuss future planning and the communication back was just not there.
“So I decided to look for a new supplier and commission an IT review to help us plan the way forward. I knew of Iain Godding, the MD of Inflection Point, and invited him to lead the review. We were impressed by his insight and energy, and also the vision he provided of a proactive IT consultancy who get the day-to-day stuff done well, but are also there to advise and have people available to see us at our premises as and when required.
“We were convinced by the ideas and engaged their services. I would stress that it was never about price. It was the responsiveness, enthusiasm and proactiveness that were the drivers of our change.
Strategic input from day one
“There is a degree of complexity to our business. We have multiple offices over a large territory; we have many staff; we use specialist software. Add to this that, for any business, technology is always changing.
“We needed someone to guide us in our decision- making and procurement, and straight away Inflection Point formed part of a steering group to advise the board. This has proved very helpful as the years have rolled by.
“In fact, such is my trust in Iain that I sometimes use him as a sounding board for non-IT related business issues too, just to get some outside perspective.”
Taking care of the day-to-day
The strategic input is a vital part of our service, but we make sure Snape Group’s day-to-day operations run smoothly too. Darryl explains: “I introduced Inflection Point to all the companies within Snape Group, so they are working across multiple sites for us. We are set up for them to provide us with helpdesk support. This means that any time one of our staff experiences a problem they can just send an email or pick up the phone and an IT expert will fix it for them.
Then they take care of our M365 management with Microsoft, which helps us to use the software to its full potential and also efficiently manage the subscriptions. They look after most of our IT procurement and all of the installations, be that hardware or software. Inflection Point also manage our cloud infrastructure as IT is moving in that direction.
As the MD, I would expect that I am always treated well in my interactions with Inflection Point. But, ringing around the business, checking with other directors and our staff, they are all very pleased with the quality of communication and support that we see from them.”
Help with larger projects
At Inflection Point, we work across many sectors. Part of our key to success in delivering great service is to take the time and interest in each business to understand what their priorities are, and how sector specific issues affect them.
Darryl shares how this plays out for construction firms: “The lengths to which Iain went to show an interest in what we did and how they could help really stood out – especially in contrast to our previous suppliers.
“I think for other businesses in the construction industry looking for an IT partner, check that they have this sector knowledge as it will help. And then also look at the size of your company and your prospective IT partner and check that they are the right fit for you – not so small that they can’t cover all your needs, but equally not so big that you are not really that important to them. “And for me, I am always interested to see how ‘available’ the people are for you. Call me old fashioned but I like to meet in person on occasion, so in my opinion knowing that advisers will come out to your premises is very important.”
At Inflection Point we firmly believe that working with clients strategically is the way to deliver the most value. Victoria agrees: “Even before the pandemic struck or we knew what was coming, the work that Inflection Point was doing would come to stand us in good stead. They had flagged that our aging desktop machines were holding us back and helped us invest in new more powerful laptops.
“As you can imagine, to have this already in place seemed like a godsend when suddenly home working was imposed across the country. This was then backed up with staff training to ensure they worked safely and efficiently – saving files in the cloud rather than local hard drives and that kind of thing. It is a significant advantage to have an IT partner who we can work with on this.
“Looking ahead they are advising on new property management software when the time is right for us; further cloud solutions; and helping us, in incremental stages, to get more out of all the features of M365.”
So with a relationship that has blossomed over the first 18 months and providing so much more than what was originally intended, Victoria shares her ideas about what is important when choosing an IT consultancy: “Obviously, the technical knowledge has to be there and the capacity to help. But for me it is not just what an IT company knows, but that they care for your business and understand how their service fits into the bigger picture. Rather than imposing a finished solution, it means listening to what will fit with your company and adapting the solution appropriately.
“Over the last year and a half it has been so positive working with Inflection Point. There are times when I would have been really stuck if I did not have their input. And with technology changing so quickly, it is reassuring to have them as our own experts who can keep us updated on new developments and advise on the right strategy.”
Top ways Inflection Point helped Snape Group
- Initial review to understand requirements.
- Day-to-day technical support.
- M365 management.
- Infrastructure planning, networking and installation for new office fit-out.
- Cloud services.
- Specialist construction software support.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if there’s anything you need.