Information Technology: Creating an enviable workplace with the right IT

Mike Bell - Stratus Blue CEO

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Stratus Blue CEO Mike Bell talks about how the team is working intuitively with clients, rather than providing businesses with endless IT fixes so they can focus on their vision and retaining top talent.

Stratus Blue is an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) and for the past six years we have been equipping companies in the Bay of Plenty and beyond with the support, security, and technology infrastructure they need to remove the overwhelm and future-proof their IT.

Our objective is not to sell unnecessary IT on the ‘bleeding edge’, or to prop up outdated technology with dusty old manuals, but rather enable companies to work from what we call the ‘inside edge’ of what is relevant tech today.

This is especially true since Covid-19 changed the way businesses operate indefinitely.

One thing Covid has taught us all, is how interdependent we all are, and I believe we are all still catching up with how much the last three years has radically changed the way we do life and work.

Our objective is not to sell unnecessary IT on the ‘bleeding edge’, or to prop up outdated technology with dusty old manuals, but rather enable companies to work from what we call the ‘inside edge’ of what is relevant tech today.

Rethinking what the workplace looks like in a post-Covid world has become vital for businesses to attract and retain top talent, and that has had a huge impact on businesses’ IT infrastructure.

This is most evident in the way employees are wanting to work. Even though things are open again and people can come back to the office, organisations are experiencing team members and new hires wanting to retain the flexibility of working from home that the pandemic introduced.

For the IT industry, this has required businesses like Stratus Blue to change emphasis and really focus on our response to three key areas: remote work competency, communication capability and security.

Organisations need remote solutions where Company IP is protected, and where staff can work securely from anywhere yet stay connected. Businesses cannot afford to maintain the same attitudes towards IT security that they had three years ago.

We are seeing a huge jump in security breaches to businesses of all sizes in New Zealand, with forecasts predicting that this is going to become an ever-increasing issue year after year. Security measures like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tended to be adopted by the more vigilant and risk-averse organisations but are now industry standard essentials.

Our team have been working hard to remove the ‘guesswork’ for our customers and provide quality and clarity to make this shift in IT strategy as simple as possible, enabling our clients to offer the culture and security that top talent are searching for.

In 2023, we will launch an end-user package we call “Essentials”. This package will include everything you need for everyday work and communication, industry-standard security mitigation and remote support from our team of experts. With a predictable per-user monthly price – it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t.

For our team, we are embracing the shift that Covid-19 brought to our lives, and our ongoing focus is creating a culture where people grow and want to stay. We strongly invest in our people by providing each team member with individual coaching and mentoring from our Culture Coach in their innate talents using Gallup’s tool, CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder), and help them set goals for work and life. We also provide team workshops to better understand each other’s unique work styles and give the team opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge in IT.

The challenges businesses are facing are real and complex. However, the ingenuity and ‘can do’ attitude I have experienced in the Bay of Plenty have led me to think the best years are ahead of us, and I’m excited to be part of a team of forward thinkers wanting to take it head-on.

About Mike

Six years ago, I moved from London to Pāpāmoa with my family and haven’t looked back, falling in love with all the Bay of Plenty has to offer regarding work, play and raising a family. In 2019, I joined the Stratus Blue team as General Manager, and in 2022, stepped into serving the Stratus Blue team and customers as CEO.

Whether working in local Government or large tech companies in the UK, I have always enjoyed managing many variables and aiming them towards a better future.

As a leader, I’m not driven by prestige or status, but by potential being realised in the people I serve and what we are trying to create together. I believe relevancy to culture is not optional, it’s a must, and due to the times we have been facing, work culture has significantly changed, and we must be agile and act accordingly.

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