Interview with Sher Syed – Young Entrepreneur and Founder of IT/Telecomms Solutions company 360 GSP
Please tell us a bit about your educational and professional background: education, university, your career background prior to setting up 360.
I studied BSc in Networking Management and Support. Prior to setting up 360 GSP; I had attained professional qualifications in Cisco, Microsoft and Check Point which are technical qualifications. My Business partner and I formed 360 GSP when I was 24 so didn’t have much industrial experience, however my business partner’s experience and my level of knowledge in my field made up for this shortfall.
What made you decide to set up 360?I saw that there was a gap in what employer expectations were and the skills required for candidates to fulfill such jobs. 360 GSP started off with a Vision to provide the highest quality of computer Networking and Telecommunication training to individuals who were either looking to enter the industry, diversify from another career or enhance their existing Networking career. When we started 360 GSP; a lot of our competitors were offering courses in only one aspect of the industry for example Microsoft Courses (which is still the case); our offering was and still is unique as we give our students multiple skills, so not only the probability of them getting jobs are higher but also they can rapidly progress in their careers. ·
What have been the major highlights, both personal and professional, since starting up the company? Since the company was formed; we have 2 x divisions of 360 GSP. They are 360 GSP: The consultancy division of 360; over the years we have successfully attained the prestigious Cisco Premier; Microsoft GOLD, Citrix Silver, Vmware, IBM and other industry leading partnerships. This division also deals with corporate training
360 GSP College: is the training division catered to individuals from UK, Europe and Non-European countries. We have recently been issued a Grade A Sponsor License from Home Office; have held BAC (British Accreditation Council) accreditation since 2004. Recently we trained a student to successfully pass one of the most prestigious and difficult certification exam in the Networking industry (Cisco CCIE); in the process Kaung Htet (our student) become the 1st Burmese to become a Cisco CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert).·
What are the USP’s of 360? What makes the company stand out as different compared to its competitors?Our ability to provide our customers a one vendor, one network and one point of contact which results in lowering the TOC (Total cost of Ownership) sets us apart from our competitors. Our customers enjoy the comfort of dealing with one person who will deal with all technical, non-technical and sales inquires saving our customers time, effort and money. By offering Bespoke solutions and services we can cater for all types and sizes of SMEs where our competitors offer’ One Solution Fits All’. Flexibility, Affordability and reliability are the key ingredients of our value proposition.·
Tell us about your personal life philosophies?‘Give is Gain’. I believe that by following this I have formed very close relationships with friends and professional colleague/clients.
What motivates you to get ahead and to succeed, professionally? The thought that I am one of the very lucky few who are in this fortunate position to be able to run a business that I am truly passionate about; in a country like UK and in an industry where you have to be on your toes at all times is quite motivating. ·
What challenges have you faced and overcome, since starting up the company? Our growth have been somewhat slower compared to other companies in our industry due to limited industrial contacts and media exposure. Also the fact that the company started with a limited capital required a lot more effort to achieve results that could have been quicker if funds were available.·
Have those challenges helped strengthen the company? I would say YES; because our slow and steady approach has formed a more stable foundation of the business where we have learned from our experience NOT our mistakes. Looking at businesses now who in recent years have achieved rapid growth but now cannot keep up to meet their commitments; we are in quite a fortunate position. We have invested in our staff training which has resulted in loyalty and muti-skill environment where each member of staff can perform multiple tasks.·
Why should a company choose 360 to implement an IT solution, over any other company? 360 GSP provides a personal and professional service with un-rivalled attention to detail which covers all areas of implementing and maintaining an IT/Networking System. Since we are a Cisco Premier and Microsoft Gold Partner (Amongst other industry leading vendor partnerships); we are a one stop shop for IT needs which results in our customers running an efficient business and reducing the total cost of ownership as our client only sign one contract for all their IT/Networking requirements.
How is 360 riding the recession? What are you doing to ensure the company is safeguarded in the current economic climate? We are keeping our compact company model where each member of staff can perform multi-task through investment in their training. We are also approaching this recession with optimism instead of going into our shells; broadening our product and solution portfolio; improving our own company infrastructure and key industry alliances are some of the measure we have taken to ensure that ride through this storm. We are also using technology more than ever before to generate sales and look after our existing customers.