When signing up for a subscription or contract you usually need to take a deep breath before signing on the dotted line, because you know you will be locked into that offering, at that price, for at least the next 12 months. None of us have crystal balls so we just pray and hope that we will be able to pay each month and that this product is actually the one we want or need to use for that length of time!
Netmetix know that annual subscriptions can be scary and daunting and that is why we only offer our customers rolling monthly contracts. Why? You may ask. Doesn’t that mean people can leave easily? Well, yes, but despite this, our customers don’t. In our last customer survey, 81% of our customers have been with us for over four years!
Below are five reasons why we think rolling monthly contracts could work in your favour:
A rolling contract means just that. It rolls over, every month unless someone stops it. No catches.
This is great for your customers as they have nothing to lose:
This does not look great for the business offering the rolling contract though, does it? How do you predict your cash flow if people can just leave? How do you stop your customers from leaving?
The answer is great customer service. From start to finish.
Ensuring that your customers are looked after and know what they are getting means that it is unlikely they will cancel soon after signing up. Using demos to show what they are getting or giving the customer a free trial to test out the service takes away this worry too.
A helpful service desk to solve customers’ issues quickly avoids customers cancelling out of frustration, and can also be available to discuss pausing a subscription or lowering the cost for a few months if the customer is going through a rocky patch.
“93% of Netmetix’s customers said they would recommend us to a friend or colleague”Netmetix Customer Satifaction Survey, Dec 2021
This type of great customer service creates satisfied customers, who, despite being able to leave at any time, choose not to. These customers also become your company’s advocates and are more likely to recommend your service or product to a friend or colleague.
A rolling contract can seem like a crazy business model at first glance. Even with the best customer service available, you are still giving your customers the flexibility to choose what they do, every month. This can be daunting but on the other hand, you are also giving your business the flexibility to choose what you do, every month.
Some examples of why this can be a good thing:
“Avoiding long or minimum-term contracts removes a significant barrier to entry for your clients. We want clients who want to be our clients and who are also good clients for Netmetix.”Paul Blore, Managing Director of Netmetix
As well as all the great reasons above that show flexibility can be beneficial to both parties, a rolling contract can also mean you can say goodbye to customers who no longer fit with your business’s ethos quickly and easily and making more room for customers who serve your business better.
A rolling contract business model works around trust. You trust the customer to not cancel, and they trust you to keep them happy by providing the product or service you sold them.
Trust is an incredibly important part of running a business in general, so working with the right customers who understand your service and trust you makes business easier.
Creating a rapport with your customers early is imperative. This can be done through marketing, email communications, regular contact with account managers and a responsive, efficient service desk. Developing this trust throughout means that the customer knows they can ask you anything about your service, or about the contract and you will be fair and honest in your response, and it also means they are more likely to work through the niggles with you rather than cancel and move somewhere else.
As above, having a rolling contract business model means that you can fluctuate your prices as and when necessary, rather than having to wait until renewal time comes and having to add a hefty price increase to your customer’s next annual contract.
Having the flexibility to add (and subtract) a few pence or pounds to your monthly billing not only means you can recoup any costs to your business quicker, but your customers can make minimal amendments to their payments over time rather than one large lump sum at the end of the year which could, potentially, scare them off and go looking for another provider.
Rolling contracts also gives you and the customer the flexibility to add or subtract services when this is needed. If the customer’s business grows and needs additional services, then they don’t need to wait until their lengthy contract is up before adding to it.
They could also discuss opportunities to downscale any services which are not currently being used, therefore saving them money. For instance, seasonal businesses could pay for more services in their busy periods and drop down to less in the months they are not as active. This flexibility means they still stay on as a customer and not only do you benefit from their busier periods, but they will also be highly likely to stay with you for years to come because of it!
Even if you crossed my palm with silver, I could not tell you what was going to happen with the economy or your business over the coming years. What I do know is that using the rolling contract business model can future-proof your business for any substantial changes that may happen.
Having the flexibility to change pricing, services and contract clauses leaves your business able to quickly pivot or amend your services no matter what happens. This can be seen now with energy price rises and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to pass on these costs to the customer straight away, although unfortunate, means that your business is more sustainable. Those waiting for nine months to be able to rise prices when the next contract renewal comes around may not be so lucky.
What do you think of a rolling contract business model? Do you use one in your business, or do you prefer the more standard, longer-term contracts? Let us know in the comments.
First published in Coventry & Warwickshire In Business Magazine
For the past eleven years, Paul Blore – who runs Coventry-based IT company Netmetix – has been working hard to get businesses and organisations to understand the benefits of cloud computing to replace physical servers and storage in an office.
He, and others, were doing a pretty good job in changing mindsets around the cloud but with Covid-19 forcing millions of people to work from home, the payback has become even more obvious and has led to some very satisfied and relieved customers.
“All of our clients that were in a cloud-based environment transitioned very easily to working from home,” he said.
“We were busy for a month or so, while people moved to homeworking. That was with simple stuff like setting up local printers and home Internet connections but, in terms of the operational aspects, it was smooth and seamless.
“We have had great comments back from customers. We had one architectural client who we’d just completed their migration to the cloud the week before lockdown so they just went home and carried on working. That really saved their bacon.
“We’ve helped businesses get up to 300 people working from home in the space of a few days and it was all very smooth and it meant they could just carry on with their work.”
Blore started Netmetix in 2001 as a reseller of CAD software but shifted to networking in 2008, before, as he puts it, going feet first into the cloud in 2010.
Not everyone was convinced, as business owners and organisational leaders felt comforted by the fact that they could see their IT servers in their office rather than based in, as they saw it, a mythical cloud.
“I was absolutely convinced that cloud was the way to go,” he said. “But it’s only in the past three years where it has really started to pay dividends. The uptake was very cautious early on and, while we were growing, it was growth on small numbers, whereas between 2020 and 2021 we grew by 23 per cent year on year.”
In pounds, shillings and pence, it’s been a jump from around £700,000 turnover four years ago to over £2 million in those 12 months – while the world was in the eye of the Covid-19 storm.
“The plan is to keep growing,” he said. “We are tentatively looking at possible acquisitions. That’s not to acquire technologies or skills, it would be for their client base. I’m not tied to a region either, it would very much depend on the opportunity.
“We’ve rolled out systems all over the world without leaving Coventry so geography isn’t an issue. There are around 60 Microsoft Azure data centres all around the world and we just pick the nearest one to the client and provision services from there.
“So, depending on acquisition, I’d like to be looking towards being a £10 million company in five years. What we do scales really well. We couldn’t have reached £2 million working the way we used to and doing what we used to do. We are now much smarter with our resources in a cloud infrastructure which allows us to scale up.
“We also support a small local charity called Alex’s Wish, which raises funds for research into a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy by donating a share of our revenue every month. So, as we grow, so does the amount we donate.”
In terms of headcount, the company has grown to 12 but size isn’t everything and investment in expertise and training is what continues to set Netmetix apart.
“We are now recognised as one of the UK’s leading specialists in the field,” said Blore. “We’re not the biggest but Microsoft recognise us as real experts in this area.
“We do a lot of consultancy work for some of the big UK players and we do all of the Microsoft Azure (the company’s cloud platform) migrations for the UK’s largest software company.
“Our client base is spread all over the world – from the Queensland Government in Australia through to South America, North America, Middle East and all over Europe.
“We work through partners and a lot of that is through software vendors around the world. They might have an application that they would host in the cloud but they don’t want to become experts in cloud services so they will sell their products and we’ll provide all of the hosting services and support for them.”
Blore believes more organisations will follow suit and that there will be even greater uptake of the cloud as the world begins to return to normal.
He said: “We’ve not seen a sudden uptake in migrations to the cloud in the past year as most companies have been battening down the hatches and weathering the storm. What I suspect we’ll see is a significant pick up when the brakes come off.
“A lot of people will have recognised over this period of time that cloud computing offers significant benefits. So, where they might have been struggling to log into office-based systems over this period, we might see them looking to cloud-based services in the future. Cloud computing provides fantastic flexibility, which I feel will be hugely important in a post-pandemic world.”
Skills, expertise and levels of service will be the driving force behind Netmetix making the most of that growth in take-up of the cloud.
Every Netmetix engineer sits an external examination every quarter as part of their contract to ensure they are true experts in their field and keep all of their skills up to date.
“We’ve got one of the most qualified workforces per head in the country,” said Blore. “We’ve got seven Microsoft Gold Certifications in a 12-person headcount. Most Microsoft Partners aspire to get one and some larger companies might have three or four.
“We live or die by our technical competence. We’re not big enough in size to just keep going and getting new customers so it’s our technical expertise that brings in new clients.”
“A fundamental part of our business is that we don’t have long term contracts with clients. The only time we do is when it is dictated by third party suppliers. This means our customers are free to walk away whenever they want. It keeps us on our toes when it comes to providing the best possible service” said Blore.
“All of the services that we provide are done so on a rolling monthly basis and our client retention over the past year has been 100 per cent. Which is in a period where most of our team have been working from home. It proves that customer service is ingrained in the team. We haven’t been able to watch over their shoulders, and yet everybody has just done it because that’s what we do. It’s habitual.”
However, people with the right skills are few and far between in the jobs market. So the company has begun a policy of growing their own.
Blore said: “One of the challenges we’ve found is getting people with the skills we need. We are ahead of the curve which means people with ready-made skills aren’t out there.
“Our strategy now is to develop skills through apprenticeships. We take them on. Put them through our training programme and that’s our conveyor belt now for bringing our skills level up.
“We’ve got two who have come through the apprenticeship already and we want to keep them and develop more. We don’t lose staff!”
February will mark the company’s 21st anniversary and after the Covid-19 crisis put paid to any plans for 20th celebration, they may be able to celebrate this one.
On a personal level, the past 24 months has also denied Blore the opportunity to enjoy one of his passions away from the office.
“Somebody told me when I started the business that it takes 20 years to become an overnight success,” he said. “So, I’ve been waiting for that moment to come along! We wanted to have a celebration but we’ll make sure we do something as the regulations relax.”
He added: “I run the Cobra Register, a classic car club, and it seems such a long time since we’ve been out in our cars. We normally do quite a few events each year but they have all been cancelled due to Covid, so we can’t wait to get back out there.
“I’ve had a Vincent 500 motorbike for 40 odd years and I bought a Vincent 1000 last October, which is the one that I’ve always wanted. I’ve still got a Cobra and we bought a Dino Ferrari too, but they’ve been nowhere for a year.”
So, instead, he’s been honing his driving skills in something a little slower paced at his home near Lutterworth, Leicestershire.
“We bought a tractor in the past couple of years,” Blore said. “We’ve got about ten acres and we were killing the ride-on mower by trying to mow the paddocks with it so we decided we needed something a little bit bigger.
“Like all these things, you start off modest, so I was thinking I’d buy an old-fashioned tractor and ended up buying a brand-new John Deere, with all the whistles and bells!”. Spending three or four hours in the early morning sun cutting the grass is a real antidote to the pressures of everyday life.
If you’d like to find out more about Netmetix and how we can move you to the cloud then fill out our contact form below and one of our team will get back to you.
Last week’s blog gave you our top tips on keeping you safe online, but what more can you do to keep your business safe from cyber threats?
Cyber threats are becoming more and more sophisticated. So, as well as updating software regularly and keeping your passwords secure, your programmes and data need extra security. This security needs multi-layers of protection, advanced security features, AI to spot changes in network activity and the ability to respond quickly to counter attacks and keep them safe from hacks, malware and phishing scams. Does yours have all that?
The best way to avoid today’s intelligent cyber threats is to keep your data in the cloud. This may seem less secure than having a server on your own premises you can keep an eye on and lock up at night, but with companies like Microsoft developing their security every day (both physically for their own servers and virtually within their own programmes) it is over and above the most secure place for your data to be held.
Watch this video to explain more:
Azure Essentials: Defense in depth security
Threats to your data’s security can come in the form of criminal behaviour, but can also be caused by disaster. A fire or flood may compromise the security of your device or your on-premise server. But knowing that your systems are regularly backed up and stored securely in the cloud can give you peace of mind.
Would like a FREE Cyber Security Assessment?
Fill in the form below and one of our team will get back you.
We may all think we’re doing everything we can to stay safe online. Especially after a pandemic that led us to be on our devices and online more than ever before! But are you covering all bases and making sure that your business is kept safe, and your personal life and family are cyber secure too?
Nowadays, it’s not just about being careful with spam emails and online shopping. We unknowingly hand over vast amounts of data to companies that could be used in ways we would prefer they didn’t. Making sure we keep our data as safe as possible is the best way to avoid hackers, online criminals or even terrorists and foreign governments getting their hands on our information.
Read our hints and tips and see if you can improve your online safety both at home and at work.
The standard settings that social media and email systems come with may not be enough. Check you are keeping your important details private so that Phishing scams don’t get through the net.
Updates contain patches that keep your device secure. Leaving these updates because they take too long or change your device means you could be making yourself an easy target for hackers and online criminals.
Always check current reviews and ask for recommendations before downloading an app and always make sure you’re downloading them through a reputable store like Google Play, Microsoft Store or Apple App Store. Doing this provides protection as all apps are vetted before they are uploaded to these stores.
Before responding to all those harmless looking questions on Facebook, think about what information they’re getting from you. Are they using the information to build up a detailed picture of your profile for illicit purposes?
Yes, your child’s birthday or name may be easy to remember but it’s also easy for strangers to find out (you know you updated Facebook on that day! “Welcome to the World Christopher James Smith who was born at 7.13 am on 22 March 2011) Make sure that passwords are longer than eight characters, have upper and lowercase letters and contain numbers and/or other characters. Try three memorable words together. Use numbers and punctuation together, or think of a memorable saying or quote and use the first letter from each word e.g. IHADMLK1963 – I Have A Dream, Martin Luther King, 1963).
Yes, it makes life a lot easier on a day-to-day basis. But, if that password is stored on your device, it can also be found on your device by criminals. Using a memorable selection of letters means that you don’t need to store it, but if you struggle with the number of passwords you must remember, you can use a secure app that keeps passwords safe for you. LastPass, Bitwarden and NordPass are just some of the many available.
If given the option, use MFA for all your important accounts. It does what it says on the tin and double-checks that you are who you say you are by sending an email to your registered email address or a verification code to your mobile phone. Using this on your children’s accounts is also an effective way of tracking their usage and keeping them secure too.
Whether it be in your workplace or your home, ensure that all colleagues and family know what to look out for when it comes to phishing emails or unusual activity on their devices and accounts. It is also important that they feel they can report issues to you or the authorities if it is suspicious.
What does your online safety look like? Can you tick off all the actions above? If not, take five minutes to secure your device and accounts today and avoid any security issues later down the line.
The 14th National Apprenticeship Week is held between 8-14 February this year. Paul Blore, Netmetix’s Managing Director, said “We see apprentices as our strategic path to building and developing our skilled team for the future.
“Our skills requirements aren’t readily available on the jobs market, so our best route is to develop it ourselves through apprentices. That way, we can train them in precisely what we need, whilst also instilling the right attitude and culture for Netmetix.”
To celebrate this week, we decided to ask our apprentice, Michael Gullick, a few questions about why he chose to do an apprenticeship and how he’s finding working at Netmetix during a pandemic!
Apprentice Infrastructure Technician
My main roles within the apprenticeship are; providing support to our customers through the helpdesk, working on a learning program with our apprentice training provider, studying and taking a range of exams to gain further IT related qualifications and working on a portfolio.
I started my apprenticeship with Netmetix in September 2020, and it lasts for 15 months.
I have always been a practical learner, therefore an apprenticeship was best suited for me as I could learn new things about IT whilst implementing it within a work environment. I believe putting the theory into practice this way is a more beneficial way of learning for me.
I would have to say how much I have learnt whilst being here. Everyone is incredibly knowledgeable and are always teaching me new things about IT. Besides the learning, the Netmetix team have made me feel very welcome since I started and have helped me settle.
We are required to work at home throughout lockdown and during the peak of the pandemic. This means I have had to adapt to working more independently from home rather than the office and learn everything remotely.
It’s difficult to try and look at the positives of a negative situation, but being able to stay at home more with family and having to travel less has been nice.
I would have to say not being able to live life as normal and not being able to see family members and go out with friends. From a work perspective, not being able to go into the office has been a disadvantage as working in the same space as my colleagues really helps keep me motivated, and I learn a lot from them.
“Sometimes you have to fail to learn”
As a young person failure is what often intimidates me, however, it needs to be looked at as a point of learning, reflection on how to improve.
If you’d like to find out more about becoming an apprentice take a look at the National Apprenticeship Week’s website here. Or, if you are interested in applying for an apprenticeship with Netmetix in the future please fill out the contact form here and one of our team will be in touch with you.
Despite a difficult year for many, Netmetix, a cloud-based technology specialist, based specialist, based in Allesley, Coventry, has recorded a year-on-year growth of over 20% as well as celebrating their 20th birthday this month.
During 2020 Netmetix successfully helped companies move their outdated computer systems to the cloud and have supported their existing clients in quickly switching to remote working at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. They have also worked with strategic partners to enable engineers and designers to use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software remotely, which they were previously unable to do without moving expensive desktop computers from the office to their home.
Paul Blore, Managing Director of Netmetix, said “The past year has been challenging for all kinds of reasons associated with the global pandemic, but I think we have adapted extremely well and continued to grow despite adversity. Our growth this year is a great testament to all the team at Netmetix. The commitment, effort and dedication they have given to get us to this point has been outstanding, and I have every confidence that the coming years will see us all continue on our upward trajectory.
“I was once told that it takes 20 years to be an overnight success. Having adapted and evolved over the past 20 years we are now recognised as experts and leaders in our field, working with a fantastic range of clients, so I know we can now genuinely consider ourselves a successful company!”
Unfortunately, due to lockdown restrictions, Netmetix is unable to celebrate with a birthday party or birthday cake but a belated celebration when the team are back in the office is something that Paul and the team are looking forward to.
Netmetix is recognised as one of the leading UK specialists in Microsoft Azure cloud-based IT infrastructure services and believes that every organisation, no matter its size, deserves to have the best cloud technology at an affordable price. The company partnered with Microsoft Azure over ten years ago and has been awarded Microsoft Gold Certified Partner status in seven categories. These include Cloud Productivity, Cloud Platform and Small & Midmarket Cloud Solution, demonstrating their ability to design and deliver comprehensive technical solutions that meet their customers’ needs. Netmetix’s experienced service desk, who are on hand 24 hours a day, are a key component of the company’s success and a 100% client retention record over the past year.
To find out more about Netmetix’s services or products, please call 024 7640 8100 or email email@example.com to speak with one of their specialists.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and whilst all your employees are sat at home eating mince pies and Christmas Dinner the last thing you want to be thinking about is your IT infrastructure overheads.
If your company is still working from on-premise servers, you will be aware that those things cannot turn off. They will always be ON, keeping your data safe and your network available. But what if you don’t want or need it available? I mean, how many people check their emails or compute-intensive CAD on Christmas Day other than using it as an excuse to get away from Great Aunt Jean’s story about that time you ate a real penny rather than a chocolate one?
Think about other times your consumption does not need to be at full throttle? Are you a 9-5 business? Why pay for consumption at 2 am? Are you a weekday-only business – then why pay for consumption on Sunday morning when you and your employees are only just thinking about coffee?
Luckily with Microsoft Azure, we can ensure that you can change your consumption to mimic the peaks and troughs in your business, whilst still keeping all your data safe and secure. If you’ve told all your employees to go home at lunchtime on Christmas Eve, then there really is no need to keep paying as if they’re all toiling away like Scrooge is their boss!
The difference this can make to your cost efficiency is impressive, with up to 85% savings* – to find out how much you could potentially save, try the Azure calculator.
*compared to Amazon RDS
No matter what your current on-premise server holds, Netmetix can safely migrate your infrastructure to the Cloud using CLOUDFLEX. Layered on Microsoft’s Azure technology to deliver a custom-built IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) environment to provide resilience, scalability and flexibility, and the broadest range of services available when compared to private cloud offerings.
If you’d like to find out more, then click the link below and fill out the short form so one of our team can get back to you.
Next in the Employee Highlight Hot seat is Tony Caesar.
Head of Sales
My role is to create, develop and implement the company’s sales plans.
This includes identifying products and services for both our existing and also new clients as well as identifying new markets and creating services for these.
New business is the main challenge – but the most rewarding.
Since February 2020 – so just 6 weeks before lockdown #1!
Not knowing a lockdown was imminent, I was fortunate to have managed to visit our major partners (as well as a number of clients) before the 23rd March!
The brief to take our company from an outstanding supplier with 100+ SMEs, to a niche provider for mid-sized/Enterprise clients in both the public and private sector.
That we were able to immediately move all our clients to remote working at no cost. The spike in calls to our help desk in late March was for advice and guidance – not faults or issues. All our clients have had the capability of remote working using Microsoft Azure, but hadn’t moved their entire workforce to remote working.
Going back nearly 10 years, Netmetix were pioneers with cloud technologies when we implemented our first Azure solution. This deep knowledge has meant that lockdown allowed us to develop some outstanding services to match with the digital acceleration that COVID demanded. During lockdown we became Government G Cloud accredited, we revamped our website, launched our ‘CAD in the Cloud’ solution, helped migrate a significant number of large enterprises into Azure through our partner network – and still continued to provide an outstanding service to our existing direct clients.
There’s quite a long list, but from a professional perspective, it’s the restriction on travel and meetings. For decades my working life has been face-to-face client meetings – often 4 days a week. I miss the train trips to London – honest!
New business is all about trust – it’s been challenging to create this via Teams – but it is possible if not ideal. Whilst we have attracted new clients over the last 6 months or so, much of the growth in our services has been through our partners – where that trust already existed and has been built on. Significant new business from new clients really benefit from those face to face meetings I think.
Integrity is advice that was drummed into me early in my sales career. If that is your guiding principal, you won’t go far wrong… oh, and when things go wrong (and they will), the measure is how you react and fix it.
To contact Tony for all things sales related drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our team have been working hard over lockdown, so now they’re allowed out of their houses and back into the office we would like to introduce you to them. Next in the chair is Simon Knapton
Service Delivery Manager.
I manage the technical support functions at Netmetix. I strive to ensure that the levels of technical services and support that customers receive are of the highest quality and delivered in a timely fashion.
I joined Netmetix in Feb 2013.
The team we have at Netmetix are fantastic. The breadth of skills, knowledge and experience really sets us apart.
As one of the people with the longest daily commute at Netmetix, working from home made a big difference to my work/life balance. Critically, our strength as experts in cloud technology allowed us to do so without impacting the service to our customers.
During lockdown, my immediate family contracted Covid-19, which was a worrying time. Still, we realised, more than anyone, the importance of taking all necessary precautions, especially with key workers as family members. Not seeing friends and colleagues was hard.
Listen. Think. Act. In that order.
Find out more about Netmetix and our employees here.
Our team have been working hard over lockdown, so now they’re allowed out of their houses and back into the office, we would like to introduce you to them. Our first employee we had a chat with was Greig Schofield.
I am responsible for all technical output of the organisation and maintaining the highest quality of service and delivery for our client base. I also ensure we are innovative and strategic in our product and service selection and delivery.
I joined Netmetix in the summer of 2012.
We have a great team and work with great products. We also have the flexibility and mobility to choose the best of breed technologies and bring them to market quickly.
It hasn’t been a particularly positive experience for me, but it’s been nice to spend more time at home with less travelling and to have more contact with my family on a day to day basis. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to work from home, without losing money or fear of being furloughed. It’s definitely been a positive time for Netmetix as we have remained very productive whilst working very differently.
It was frustrating that there has been so much seemingly available time, but with very little to do. There was also the worry and concern over family members who are key workers and the general stress and fear of the pandemic. I was also concerned for the mental health and wellbeing of my children as they have been largely isolated over this time.
If its work related, allocate time accordingly and close Outlook! (now I’m also considering closing Teams too 😊 ) and also do not use Outlook like a task list. Doing those two simple things, makes me far more productive and organised during the day.
Find out more about Netmetix and our employees here.