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Algorithms or Attitude? Being Human in the World of Tech

Robots. AI. Machine Learning.

The world of tech has become decidedly ‘un human’. Machines are increasingly ‘talking’ to each other and developing a new language, because English was just too long winded.

AI Chatbots are another recent tech innovation. Fantastic for time stretched recruiters in guiding an applicant through a process – but for anything that requires nuance or a sense of humour? They’re almost like that lady barking ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ at you whilst you’re scrambling to escape from the behemoth that is a Tesco Extra store.

So why, oh why, oh why are inboxes up and down the country flooded with sales emails that sound like they could have been knitted together by the paperclip assistant from Microsoft Word circa 2000? Generic. Bland. Uninspired. The list could go on and on. Maybe it’s being immersed in the industry – but these emails, scripted calls and cold InMail’s seem particularly rife in the technology market.

 Being Human in the World of TechAlthough they won’t admit to it, a lot of managed service providers and value-added resellers sell (generally) the same stuff. Ok, the nitty gritty might differ – a different firewall provider here, a different coding language there – but to the uninitiated, they aren’t exactly key selling points.

After all, if you’re selling the basics like ISDN or in fact anything that requires the ancient system of copper wiring under the UK’s streets, then you’re just reselling Openreach. So, to the end user, it usually boils down to one of two things: the price, or the salesperson.

Price is a tough one to work with. After all, if two VoIP systems look identical, sound identical and for all intents and purposes are identical – why spend more?

There’s a big difference in spending £15 per user and spending £20 per user – in a company one hundred people strong, that’s a difference of £500 per month and £6000 a year. That’s a big chunk of cash for a small business.

The issue, as you may have noticed, is that the focus on price has led to a ‘race to the bottom’ situation, where businesses compete to see who can provide the cheapest solution. Not the best service, not an inherently different product, simply the cheapest product.

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So that leaves us with the salesperson and brings us nicely back round to those emails mentioned earlier. ‘People buy from people’ is a tired cliché – and yet, it doesn’t get overused for no reason. Of course, this is hyperbolic, but imagine you have the choice between buying a new car from two salespeople.

Salesperson one, knows their product, is £20 a month cheaper than their competitor but has all the charisma, passion and excitability of a teaspoon. Salesperson two, is £20 a month more expensive than the other one but has a real passion for their product, is witty and fun to be around and clearly enjoys what they’re doing. Soon, £20 really doesn’t seem that much of a big deal. In fact, it barely registers in your decision.

So this leads us back to technology. Have you ever tried being sarcastic to Siri? Alexa isn’t much of a joker either. To be honest, calling any of their retorts ‘funny’ would be an insult to humour the world over.

Technology hasn’t quite yet mastered the art of wit, sarcasm, humour or nuance. But humans have. We utilise body language. We build rapport. We get excited to spend time around people that uses these subtleties regularly. And that’s why people buy from people – because people aren’t perfect. They are flawed and funny and interesting in a way that technology just can’t match.

So the next time you’re looking for a technology partner that actually values the relationships only another person can bring,  get in touch with us instead. We’ll work closely with you to find the right tech solutions to address your challenges today and in the future, and we do it with all with a decidedly human touch.

Up next

Celebrating our Security Heritage

As a founder of Intercity Managed Services, Ian Jackson, our Chief Commercial Officer, reflects on our proud security heritage, which has been providing managed security services to commercial businesses, public and third sector organisations for over 14 years. Ian also talks about how Touch Secure is set to transform the cloud in 2019.

Back in 2007 a somewhat younger version of myself was asked:

“How did Intercity Managed Services become so pivotal to the security strategy of our central government?”

Our story began when the division was founded in 2004 as a systems integrator with a focus on security and an intent to shape the compliance landscape. We positioned ourselves as a trusted partner, with a passion for customer focus and we earned a reputation for doing things differently in an agile way.

This agility began to pay dividends.

We delivered our first Firewall Perimeter Managed Service in 2005. This was followed by rapid growth in our capability and reputation, which lead to our appointment by the Cabinet Office to design and support the implementation of its ‘Government Connect’ Secure Connectivity Programme.

This was just the start. We became participating members of the government’s Security Council and were engaged to complete technical trials of secure public sector infrastructure across London. We were advisors to the Department for Work and Pensions on its initiative to connect securely to all 388 local authorities in England and Wales and we provided a ‘technical first’ hardened home working solution for the government’s Electronic Delivery Team in Warrington.

On reflection, we had indeed become pivotal to the security strategy of our central government, but we didn’t stop there, acquiring more customers from the commercial and third sector. Each customer’s unique data security requirements drove the pace of our development, engaging our Professional Services Team to advise in areas such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and information security management (ISO 27001).

Intercity Managed Services has continued to demonstrate the capability to develop innovative products and services whilst remaining up to date with the prevailing cyber security threats. We have successfully developed and taken to market a range of secure, cloud-based solutions including: Internet perimeter, URL filtering and proxy services; secure email hygiene; remote access with two-factor authentication; video conferencing; and complex resilient ‘landing zone’ solutions.

We have wrapped all of these within the assured Managed Service capability of our in-house ISO 27000 certified, 24/7 Intercity Secure Operations Centre (ISOC).

This is the base from which we are taking the next steps in the development of our Managed Services portfolio. Ever since we deployed the first ‘landing zones’ our customers have shown an interest in the concept of Security as a Service, with flexible capacity and features available to secure Internet access, cloud computing, email and remote users. Touch Secure is our response, combining our security service experience and pedigree in one simple market proposition.

It is the next chapter in our proud security heritage and I for one am immensely proud of the capability we now bring to the cloud.

In 2019, we will be delivering Touch Secure directly and via the government’s Digital Marketplace G-Cloud 10 Framework. We have delivered it to many of our commercial and third-sector customers already and naturally, we use it to protect our own network and users, keeping our critical applications and data secure.

Learn more about Touch Secure and the ways Intercity is pushing the boundaries of traditional network security.

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