Influencer Marketing: The Basics for MSPs

Influencer Marketing The Basics for MSPs

Whether you love them or loathe them, influencers are here to stay. In 2022, platforms such as TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook are all expecting some increase in ad spend on their platforms, and the technology and electronics sector is driving much of that. The estimated overall spend on that sector is expected to increase by 11.5% in 2023, with many businesses using influencers to drive people to their products.

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Hardware and Software Needed for Video Conferencing: The Essentials

Hardware and Software Needed for Video Conferencing: The Essentials

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major shift in working, with a large number of companies going remote. As a result, the hardware and software needed for video conferencing became a major commodity in 2020, and they still remain important. In the UK alone, around 22% of workers are hybrid working as of May 2022, and 14% are working completely from home.

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Price Increases Don’t Have to Be Painful

Price Increases Don’t Have to Be Painful

Price increases suck. We’ve said it. But they are a function of modern society: prices always go up. The UK’s pound is called a pound because it referred to a pound of silver — admittedly a very, very long time ago. The Big Mac Index is The Economist’s light-hearted guide to the cost of the famous McDonald’s product, and it aims to help people compare currencies. But looking back, the raw data behind it provides an overview of the increase in pricing of the product over time.

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Women in Tech: Claire Baker, Chalvington Group

We’re talking today with Claire Baker, managing director of the Chalvington Group. The company had its origins in the company her father, Melvyn Baker, set up in the ‘80s, and he’d go on to create a telecommunications arm called Chalvington Communications to better serve a wider range of customers with the emerging technology of the early 2000s. Claire joined her father after she completed her BA in Business Studies at the University of North London, and after the various companies merged in 2012, she became the managing director. The company currently has 1,500 clients in the UK, generating £3.8 million in turnover as of 2020 and is a key partner with Wildix in the UK.

You’ve been immersed in the world of communications tech for well over 20 years. What are the key changes you’ve seen since the 2000s?

Claire: The most notable changes are in connectivity and cloud-based solutions. ISDN2/analogue technologies became extremely stale, and the industry was in need of some va-va voom. I feel the investment that has been made in connectivity infrastructure has given telecoms a new lease of life. Don’t get me wrong — VoIP has obviously been available for years but only in areas where you can ensure decent connectivity, which were, until quite recently, few and far between

The explosive growth of the internet created new opportunities, but they also involved new risks, particularly as companies struggled to predict which emerging technologies would thrive and which would fall by the wayside. How did you mitigate those risks, and what long-term strategies do you use to ensure your services are likely to remain relevant?

I’m lucky to have a really good team of IT and telecoms engineers around me who live and breathe new tech. Like any other business, we made some poor choices early on and learnt from those mistakes. Our process is to select a number of manufacturers, put the equipment or software through its paces, create a top three based on what we know would be important to our customers and then these are presented to the relevant managers and directors to make the ultimate decision. This formula has been tried and tested over the years.

There’s been a big push within tech, in general, to include more women in more senior positions. What challenges does the industry have regarding that, and how could they be solved?

Men sometimes believe women aren’t technical. Naturally, there are technical situations that I wouldn’t be familiar with at a grassroots level, but that’s why I have a trusted team around me, some of whom have worked with my father for the best part of 20 years. However, I have always been a firm believer that you don’t necessarily need to know how to do the job to be a good leader — but you need to be able to get work done through others.

Everyone comes into a new business with expectations, and some turn out to be accurate and some less so. What expectations did you have when you became a managing director, and how accurate were those expectations? 

What I can say is to be successful, a managing director should be able to manage and advance a business’s strategic objectives and be the face of the business. However, within a small to medium-sized enterprise this, in real life, is far from what takes up most of my time. I find I wear multiple hats, which isn’t necessarily what someone would maybe expect from an MD.

My main focus is on the oversight of the company’s high-level operational and customer-facing problems. We only thrive if we’re competent and able to keep our customers through the service we provide. Processing efficiency and reviewing our operating systems is another, together with the training and development of my senior management team to deliver the company’s values.