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Ian Ross

Ian Ross is the director of Severn Business Solutions Limited which provides clients with proactive IT consultation and support. The business in its current form has been operational since 2011.

    EXPLAIN A TYPICAL WEEK IN YOUR WORKING LIFE: There is no typical week! The fundamental need is to keep clients’ technology working for them and keep them happy.  All weeks include; client visits (existing and new), research & training in new technologies, the inevitable administration tasks and, of course, marketing and sales.

    WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING YOUR INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? The move from on-premise to off premise (cloud) services swapping capital expenditure to operational (monthly subscription) expenditure.

    AND WHAT ARE THE BIG OPPORTUNITIES? The move from on-premise to cloud based services, like it or not that’s the way the industry is going and we’ll all be making that journey. In the 7 years we’ve been operating Severn Business it has transformed how we work and what we can offer to clients.  Our data used to be on a server and now it's in the Microsoft cloud.  The only server we have is for legacy system support.

    HOW DO YOU GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR STAFF? Train them well.  All our permanent staff have come through the apprenticeship route.  We continue to provide on-the-job training and I like to think the environment here gives them the ability to make their own decisions.

    WHAT WAS YOUR LAST MEETING ABOUT, HOW LONG DID IT LAST, AND WAS IT PRODUCTIVE? It was with a potential client, it lasted around 2 hours and has led to a number of potential opportunities for both parties.

    HOW MANY EMAILS DO YOU GET IN A DAY, AND HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO READ THEM? Too many!  About 18 months ago I got tough with myself.  I reduced my inbox from over 2000 emails to between 80 to 120. So the inbox is focused but still large.  I allow a big session on a Monday morning to review any remaining mails from the week before and deal with them.  Daily I spend no more than 30 minutes total to deal with that day’s items.

    DO YOU ANSWER WORK CALLS OR EMAILS AT HOME? WHAT’S THE RIGHT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Yes I do, but not as much as I used to. Any new business requires a huge amount of time to get it going and make it work but that level of output isn’t sustainable long term.  I have staff now to do the engineering and some of the administration tasks.  I make sure that I create "me" time (I cycle) and devote some time to my long-suffering wife (although she might argue that one).

    HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR COLLEAGUES WOULD DESCRIBE YOU? Hard working, dedicated, reliable, results driven.

    BREXIT – WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT’S ALL GOING TO MEAN? Don’t get me started! There will still be trade after (if) we leave, but it will be harder and so more costly, which will reduce profits and therefore tax take - and the last time I looked, the government were spending £66,000 more per minute than they were getting in – go figure!

    HIGHLIGHTS OR LOWLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? It has all been good, I am fortunate to have worked for organisations ranging in size from 5 to 1000 people including education, industry & a charity. They all bring experiences which you can learn from.

    PET HATES? People who use consumer (home) versions of software and free software in their business. They lose functionality, aren’t legal and expose themselves to business risk.


    HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? Cycling – good exercise and I’m in a club called Ironbridge Clarion so it’s a great social thing as well.  I make 4 hours available each weekend.

    WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? Business owners I have had contact with have been very open, friendly and helpful (mostly!)

    TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW: Many years ago I got recruited by The Queen’s security people to assist at an event she was attending. A colleague and I had to stand at an entrance in front of 2 agents who said we gave them the vital extra seconds to draw their weapons if a terrorist showed up. Afterwards I got to meet The Queen and Prince Phillip which was an honour.

    YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE? Book – Tolkein’s The Silmarillion; film - Shawshank Redemption; CD - Breaking out, Jethro Tull.

    YOUR FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Rachel Carson – author & environmentalist; Trump – what’s he really like?; Augusta Ada King – it’s a computing thing; Adam Somerville – VP of Hadlow College to say thank you for the advice given to a 16-year-old; my mother – she died 22 years ago.

    WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM…? I’d check their dietary requirements in advance but assuming no vegetarians / vegans etc then it would be traditional stuff like steak with a choice of potatoes and veg. I’m not brilliant at it, but I can do it if push comes to shove.  I used to do Sunday lunch for up to 8 students at Wolves Poly in the 80s


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