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5 minutes with Andy Smith, Intercity Security Operations Centre Manager (‘ISOC’)

Tell us what your role is, and what team you work on…

5 minutes with Andy Smith, Intercity Security Operations Centre Manager (‘ISOC’)As the ISOC manager it’s my team that look after annuity services on a 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year basis for our managed service customers. Our customer base ranges from the public sector including customers such as Lancashire Care NHS Trust and Lambeth Borough Council, through to smaller enterprise customers, and education organisations such as GÉANT. We provide simple remote support (when the customer’s technical team might need a little more expertise), right through to fully managed services where we monitor, manage and maintain the customer’s network and infrastructure from cradle to grave.

What is a typical day like for you?

On a daily basis, I manage the staff and the coordination of resourcing to make sure we have full coverage around the clock (even on Christmas day when the rest of us are home opening our presents). Sometimes, I’ll need to deal with issues that need management escalation, or maybe report on the different facets of a customer’s service. My responsibility is to make sure that our services are effectively delivered, within SLA and to agreed contractual terms. I would like to mention my management team (John Murphy, Peter Ackerley and Teri Newell) who offer a great deal of support in working with our 24-strong team to perform their roles to the highest standards.

My job would be much more complicated without them. We have a multi-skilled, multi-disciplined team of engineers and analysts, providing a technology agnostic approach to support services – so coaching and mentoring is a staple within the ISOC. Whilst staff strive to keep up with changes in technology, they’re also committed to delivering innovative services and support.

What is the best thing about your job?

I think the most rewarding thing is being able to coach and support individual team members, and then see them fulfil their potential (and ultimately be recognised for the hard work they do). It’s always great to receive positive feedback from internal stakeholders and customers, who value the contribution made by your team. I take great personal satisfaction in being able to share in the success of my team.

I like working at Intercity because…

Intercity has always been driven by the desire to get things right first time, every time for our customers. There’s nothing better than a customer telling you how well your team have delivered what they needed and when they needed it. I think that as a family-run business, there’s a different feel to working in other organisations: you’re treated as an individual, with respect and dignity and shown recognition for doing a good job.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

With the breadth of our customers, sometimes it can take a little while to understand the specific needs of an individual business. Fortunately, our agility as a business means that once we’ve understood the level of detail needed by our customer, we can deliver the outstanding service they deserve. It’s always really rewarding once we develop a professional working relationship where we’re supporting our customers to their exact needs.

What’s been your biggest work achievement?

I think for me, it was delivering our businesses’ first formal Change Management process. In order to make the transition from a small to a larger business (both internally, and for our customers).

We had to refine the way we manage change across operations, empowering us to deliver managed services compliant with our ISO20000 accreditation, which is the international IT service management  (ITSM) standard. This ensures we minimise the impact of change, improve the overall availability of the services we support, and ultimately raise the bar in the quality we deliver for our customers.

Tell us something interesting about you that other people might not know…

5 minutes with Andy Smith, Intercity Security Operations Centre Manager (‘ISOC’)I am 3rd dan Taekwondo instructor. In my younger days I was British champion in three weights – finweight, bantamweight through to featherweight (as I got older – I got a little heavier). I have competed at world level twice but, unfortunately the world champion got the better of me both times. I still like to keep fit as much as I can, and hope that I can go back to instructing soon.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

We’re undergoing a lot of growth at Intercity in my part of the business at the moment. We will be growing the team in Birmingham and making the 24x7x365 support model active, to enable us to deliver even more robust services for our customers. Once our new data centre is fully built and up and running, we’ll also be supporting the new hosting of services at Birmingham HQ. This is an exciting time for our business and I am thrilled to be a part of this chapter of our evolution.

What advice would you give someone joining Intercity?

I would say jump in feet-first, get fully immersed in your role and embrace the social aspect of the business. It’s important to visit the different sites and network with all the teams so you understand how your role interacts with others. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy your job, and a big part of that is interacting effectively with your working environment. I know it sounds cliché, but if you love the job you do, you’ll never work another day in your life! Intercity provides an excellent launchpad for your career – the rest is up to you.

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Building public sector partnerships to last

When we consider whether to buy a product or sign-up to a service, we’ll often look to reviews before we make a decision. Did the product or service deliver what it promised from the outset, and when issues came up, were they resolved quickly and professionally? We also want to know that the people who will be our daily point of contact are knowledgeable and have the skill to serve our needs. What do we think of our customers, and what do our customers think of us?

Having a proven pedigree within public sector partnerships for more than 12 years has given Intercity the in-depth knowledge of the demands of the different needs of organisations, whatever their sector.

GÉANT

Tony Barber, head of GÉANT Operations Centre at GÉANT, says, “We can be quite demanding when it comes to our SLAs, but Intercity has proven its ability to meet this demand and has adapted to the needs of our customers. Through open and honest communication, monthly evaluation and reporting, and a robust transparent quality management system we have created a trusting and collaborative working environment between our two tiers, and a genuine partnership between our two organisations.”

Chris Fletcher, the Public Sector Sales Director says “Having a proven pedigree within the public sector for more than 12 years has given Intercity the in-depth knowledge of the demands of the different needs of organisations, whatever their sector. Our relationship with GÉANT has developed since we started working with them in 2014 and we understand what they need from our service. Our agility as an organisation means we are able to meet their changing demands as a business, and to support their growth and their end-users at the same time.”

Ian Jackson, the Chief Commercial Officer says “Over the last three years, we’ve built a really strong working relationship with the team at GÉANT, and an in-depth knowledge of the needs of the company’s customers. We’re looking forward to applying this knowledge to the needs of educational institutions across the world and supporting the company’s growth even further.”

Read our full GÉANT case study here

 

LAMBETH COUNCIL

Paul Wickens, the Head of IT at Lambeth Council said: “It’s important for us to work with a provider that is receptive to our needs. Intercity is a forward-thinking, intelligent supplier and throughout our seven-year partnership, we’ve always been able to adjust the services we need as and when.

“From flexibility to the on-site presence in both account and technical terms, our relationship is really strong. There are some suppliers we use because we have to, and others because we want to. We choose to work with Intercity.”

Ian Jackson, with his public sector partnership focus as the Chief Commercial Officer at Intercity Technology added: “Building longstanding relationships with our clients is something we hold in high regard at Intercity. Both our team and Lambeth have worked closely and openly to decipher what services are needed to operate efficiently and responsively throughout the year.

“Solidifying our partnership with the council through a fully-managed service demonstrates our commitment to adapting to customer requirements whenever they need us to. We look forward to continuing this relationship with the council and helping to deliver a secure, continuous and quality service to the people of Lambeth.”

Read our full Lambeth Council case study here