ramsac now and then – an interview with Rob May

then and now blog 30th anniversary

To celebrate ramsac reaching its 30th anniversary in March. I sat down with Rob May, the Managing Director of ramsac and one of its founders to find out how much has changed both in business and technology over the last 30 years

Q. What motivated you to start ramsac?

I started my career in a small business which was agile and exciting, we were trail blazing in the technology world and I was extremely happy. We then became part of a worldwide corporate and at that time I was unable to play to my strengths and effect change. I could see problems in the business and was powerless to put them right, this need is an inherent part of my makeup and ultimately, I decided that in order to feel fulfilled I needed to start something that fitted my view of how the computing world should be.

Q. What was your goal when you started ramsac and how has that changed?

The original goal was to make IT simple, to help people feel confident about their use of technology and for it to enable their business to do bigger and better things. That fundamental goal remained unchanged for a long time, however as we grew our cybersecurity focus the necessities of cyber-resilience meant that simple isn’t always what’s needed! Our focus now is on being the most cybersecure MSP and that changes needs continually but consistently drives our focus.

Q. What were the biggest challenges in IT in 1992.

The biggest challenges back then were cost (everything was so much more expensive), speed (everything was so slow!) and the need for education, we were evangelising as to why people should have PC’s on their desktops and not everyone wanted to hear that (I once sold a screen and keyboard to an MD with no PC as he felt it should look like he’d embraced technology even though he had no intention of ever using a PC!).

Q. What was your ‘can’t live without’ piece of technology in 1992 and what is it today?

Back then it was my mobile phone a shiny Motorola 3200, all it did was make and receive calls (with a 1 hour talk time) but it gave me the flexibility that I needed to get the business off the ground. Today I think it’s my iPhone.

Q. Does a leader need different skills today, than in 1992.

Yes, I think that the role of leadership is far more holistic today. The needs and the expectations of the younger generations in the workplace are radically different and as a leader you need to be able to communicate with everyone in order to give people the passion to follow (by definition if you don’t have followers you’re not a leader).

Q. Are there any other big differences between running a business in 1992 than in 2022?

In many ways running a business today is easier, there are less barriers to entry and the use of technology allows you to do so much more with less resources. A 1 man band can very easily portray the image of being a large business, however on the flip side and looking specifically at our industry, the needs for training and qualifications are much more prominent than they were and the pace of change fuels this. Business is also done at hugely greater pace, it’s 24 hour and your marketplace spans the planet. In 1992 doing business in the Far East for us meant going to Croydon today it means dealing with Beijing.

Q. Running a business during a pandemic must bring a whole new set of challenges, what was your experience of this like?

We were extremely blessed during the pandemic, we decided at the outset to continue to invest in our growth and thankfully the demands of our industry enabled us to do that profitably. Recruitment and on-boarding of new colleagues was an obvious challenge, you can maintain a culture remotely but it’s harder to instil it in new teams. Like so many others we were constantly experimenting and learning ensuring all the time that everyone in the business felt loved, engaged and valued.

Q. Looking to the future, what are you most excited about?

I am passionate about cybersecurity, and I love that what we can do makes such a difference to people and their businesses. We often get introduced to organisations after they’ve had their fingers burnt, (metaphorically it’s a classic case of houses getting alarms fitted after they’ve been burgled) but when we start to engage and you see people getting it, and the confidence that gives them in working with us. The needs and the demands of business for our skills, products and services is huge and that really is very exciting.

Celebrating 30 years is very special, so look out for more posts celebrating ramsac’s 30th birthday.

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Quiz yourself

Are you more cyber savvy than an 11 year old?

11-14 year olds get asked these questions in school. Could you get these right?