The Future of Remote Working

Dylan Pepler

Dylan Pepler

We hosted a Business Surgery in conjunction with Bristol Life to discuss the future of remote working. The times we’ve found ourselves in has changed how we work and collaborate. Companies had to adapt very quickly and implement technology to suit the change.

Greg Ingham, the editor of Bristol Life, puts a series of questions to Nick Smith and Elliot Mace from Blackstar Solutions and brings in Mark Kelly, Managing Director of Bristol Sport and Ashton Gate Stadium, a client of Blackstar. They cover topics such as collaboration tools, wellbeing, trust, single app solutions, consumer-driven decision making, performance management, return to the office and more.

Watch the full Business Surgery below.


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Hello, good morning, and welcome to our latest Bristol life event designed to help you in your business. Today’s session is with Blackstar Solutions and it includes a special appearance by one of their major clients, Bristle Sports stroke/Ashton Gate Stadium to give a client’s perspective. We’ll be discussing remote working, its technology requirements, its cultural impacts on teams and companies and what this extraordinary year. How will we all work differently going forwards? What do we need to look to in our business practices and to anticipate? What practical advice on technology strategy, do you need for your business right now? Please do ask any questions and we’ll seek useful perspectives for you. You send your questions using the Q&A button below. You can ask anonymously or named if you wish,. By the way, do add your company name to your questions so that we actually know who you are so we give you a name check if you wish that. Note, of course, today’s business surgery once more is being recorded, it’ll be available on our Bristol Life YouTube channel later this afternoon. You’ll find all our sessions on there, by the way. We’ll hope you find them useful and helpful. They’re all sort of chronicle of these very strange times. A few notes for us from Bristol Life before we get going, we’ve got a very busy few weeks ahead. Coming prior to the great reset. We’re all going to be experiencing this year because better times really are around the corner. However long that corner may take us to go around. Look out for our next Bristol Live Business Surgery, on Feb 22nd at mid day, that’s with Weston College on training, learning and partnering. As of the following week on March 1st, it’s a different type of business surgery with Bevan Brittan. There’ll be across several of its disciplines including, but not limited to as long as often assert dispute resolution such as the big insurance claims story which broke recently, employment, HR, corporate and commercial issues, property, and so on. Beyond those two, we’ll also be running a session with Datasharp about integrated business communications. More immediately, just under two weeks, there’s one week this Friday on February the 15th is, sorry, that’s the Bristol Live Business Club on fed 15th is two weeks away, and that’s on health and wellbeing. The clubs, whether virtually or in real life in however long it takes to get there sponsored by Bevin Brittan, and these best Bristol Life

Business Surgeries are bespoke deep dive sessions showcasing the company’s expertise, from any sector through discussion. Please talk to us about how you might be involved. We can all do with advice. And of course everyone always wishes to drum up new business. Awards, I mentioned a week on Friday, that is February the 12th and that is the Bristol Property Awards at the Bristol Properties symposium. The risk of sounding a bit like perhaps an agent, it’s a rare opportunity for professional service companies to network, build relationships, and start to refill the business pipeline this year, at our three stage symposium. High-level insights, a celebration of excellence in the awards and a unique way of networking. It will be the biggest gathering of professional services companies since before the pandemic. Keynote is provided by saddles head of resident research nationally, using COOC. we’ve commissioned using, especially to give insights on some of the continuing trends from 2020 and more particularly the forecast for 2021 valuations, transactional levels, given the pandemic, Brexit, stamp duty effect, working from home, which obviously we’re talking about today a lot and much more. It will be a really fascinating event. Tickets are available via our property website Sponsors I’ll spare you the full roster of 22 sponsors additional to our headline sponsor. It’s a great opportunity for those companies to share what they’re doing to meet you, as other professional services companies. And we’re delighted, particularly led from the front by Stephan Williamson our headline sponsor. Bristol Life Awards. The other week, we lose track of time. The other week we had a very special launch event and we announced that our 2021 awards, will be held on the 16th of September, there’s value in certainty. We’re putting them right back to September the 16th. If you did miss that launch event, it’s on YouTube. The Bristol Life Awards at the launch event. Those sponsors include let’s say quicker run through the roster. Marsh Commercial as headline sponsors plus, Anderson Financial Management, British Corner Shop, Waddell Insurance Brokers, Burstin Cook, CMC Marquees, KIRO, SLX, Spaces, Triangle Networks, VWB and Bristol Life of course. There’s an explite to new that’s on that front, a big, big, big, virtual drum roll and a big clap. Welcome to our new sponsor factions. We’re actually delighted with this. It’s a significant endorsement from factions as a major brand with deep local roots. And it indicates, we hope that the momentum is truly building on the awards, they’ll be very timely this year. If you’re an ambitious company and are proud to be a great Bristol company or possibly want to signal support to other Bristol companies. After this year of all years, please do talk to us. You’ll be in good company. If so, nones are open now, by the way and we’ll be open for several weeks. First up right at the center. The most important in many ways is of course Bristol Life itself. Thank you for your support for Bristol Life. It’s clear that many companies through all our conversations are gearing up for those better times ahead resolved to get match fit now, ready to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of the great reset. It’s why we’re being so busy because we we strongly think that hope is not a strategy. We’ve all just got to get active. Please do talk to us, if it helps but how we can help promote what you’re doing right. To business, the business, the business surgery.

Let’s go, please ask those questions. The earlier you get them through the more chances we have to include them. We’ll be hearing from Mark Kelly, the MD of, Bristol Sports/Ashton Gate Stadium shortly. Let’s bring forward our experts and Blackstar solutions now that’s Elliot Mace and Nick Smith. Nick, Elliot you’re there.

– Hey.

– Isn’t it comforting that the technology works for you of all businesses. It’s somewhat ironic, very much fingers crossed how you doing this morning. Let me get in fact prior to saying, I’m just gonna give you a quick run-through of each of your speakers so you know. Nick is the CEO of Blackstar, very much the driving force making it what it is as a communications company that aims to be forward-thinking innovative service driven. We’ll be exploring a number of those points, of course the right people in the right roles. And that’ll be interesting to talk about recruitment as well in this time and removing barriers to help people do their very best. Elliot, you’ve got a fantastic job title, head innovation and technical solution portfolio development. I had, had to write that one down. It’s a complex site, vital role responsible for driving use of innovative communications technology solutions to drive, to solve the business challenges of Blackstars, existing and new client base. We’ll be talking quite a lot about your plans and reflecting of course ever-changing technology. How are you both doing?

– Good, thank you.

– Good, thank you very much, plenty of coffee, so good to go.

– Good to go, well, you are, you’re complete habituate. I’m sure of the zoom world. So much of your world probably already was revolving around zoom and teams even more so in recent times. We come onto your clients and your work, especially as I saw with Bristol Sports, let’s talk about Blackstock, give us approximately, give us the elevator pitch. What do you do? Why do you do it?

– So we, we develop, build, manage, install and support business telecoms and data solutions for clients effectively allowing clients to collaborate better, in more efficient ways. Both internally with their teams and with their clients externally.

– You must’ve had a pretty busy last 10 months. And I suspect that, and especially busy, or hard to interpret first few months like April, May, June time of people going, oh my God, what do we do? People beating a path to your door?

– Yeah, it was really unusual. I mean, we focused very much on our existing clients first of all, to get more remote working for us internally as a team, it was very easy. It was kind of pick up your laptops, go home and start work. So the only difference was we’ve had a few people come in and collect screens and chairs, but in terms of, communication and collaboration, it was business as usual because we kind of practice what we preach. It was very much, we had everything ready to go. So for us it was nice and it was simple. And then it was just making sure, all of our clients were enabled to do what they needed to do as efficiently as possible.

– So just to ensure that, the, I think 50 or so who’ve registered this was watching it and then several hundred subsequent on YouTube just so we understand, what does Blackstar do? What’s their sort of outermost of what you do and what’s the bits that you don’t do? Where do you end basically?

– We kind of end where the clients tell us to because we offer the full service of everything from the white boarding of what they’re looking to achieve initially, what they have in place at the moment, what we can offer them that will help them communicate and deliver solutions better. Then we go about the design of that with our pre-sales guys the engineering team and the sales guys, then we install it for them, we’ll provide the correct solution and then it’s making sure it’s up and running. And then it’s the ongoing support of that. Providing them with new innovations as things come to markets, making sure that we’re offering something new, so they’re always informed as opposed to kind of being reactive, we’re very proactive, which is quite unusual in our industry. I think lots of people who do what we do kind of sit back and wait for things to happen. We like to be near the bleeding edge of everything.

– If ever there were a time to be proactive rather than reactive, I suspect it’s for all businesses right now. If we all just sit back and wait, you know what, nothing’s gonna happen is it? Hence we’re approaching as he has said this sort of great reset approach, but I want to take you and Elliot back to, April, May time, and you took the decision to effectively stop selling which sounds a bit counterintuitive at least outbound selling, because you were focused on service. Let’s talk to that decision and I clear you had a number of a huge amount of inbounds, but you weren’t proactively looking for new business at that point, why so?

– Elliot do you wanna take that one?

– Yeah, sorry. I was, gonna let you do it all Nick. Yeah, so I think it just, you know the time, it was just such a seismic thing and a seismic change to everyone’s lives and you know kids not able to go to school and all that kind of stuff that obviously we all know went on that, you know, we just felt it wasn’t right. Test out with it, it wasn’t right to be ringing people, cold calling and trying to sell things that they potentially didn’t want or didn’t know that they wanted. And I think the other side of things was obviously, as you’ve mentioned we had a lot of inquiries from our existing customer base, and our account managers, you know, and salespeople effectively needed to focus on those and making sure that those customers that you hadn’t necessarily heeded the advice of the last five years actually did heed it. They came along and, you know we had our engineering team working flat out for at least a month, just getting customers connected to be able to work from home. So it felt that was what we needed to focus on. And I think we also felt that, you know, there’s one or two companies out there and I I won’t name any names, but we probably they all household brands that took advantage of the situation, to profit from their customers rather than trying to help them. And I’m sure everyone on the calls probably got their own experience with that. And, that’s not what we’re about Blackstone we took that kind of conscious decision, to not to be that kind of company to seem to be profiting from obviously the whole pandemic. So it was a few reasons, but those outlined.

– I think that latter point, is a very dare I say, it’s a very Bristol trait. There companies that have been incredibly supportive during this time. And of course there’s always, you know, outliers and rogues or whatever, but not many. And the vast majority have been very thoughtful. And some of the conversation we’ll be having with market aggregates and Bristle Sport will be exactly in that area of the work that they’ve been doing. There’s a phrase which, you know, we try to bear in mind which is. “By our actions now, you’ll be judged later” And it’s all about, I guess, from your point of view the longer term brand value is that how you see it?

– Absolutely, yeah absolutely. And we trade very much on our integrity and a bit being about business partnerships. And we’re not a supplier who turns up to give you a quote once every three years. And, I think you mentioned a strategy Greg for, you know, the, this reset that we’re all looking forward to. And for us, it’s about working with our clients on a strategy to get them to where they want to be. And obviously that strategy for many has not necessarily changed in the last 10 months, but accelerated, and that’s where the important work needs to be done

– From an outside perspective. I can imagine broadly your plants then at least we’re in sort of three parts. There were those who were already working from home distributed working a little bit perhaps including yourselves I’d imagine. Those in other words, who got it, but needed to go further. Those who sort of understood it, but hadn’t ever done it. And those are completely resistant thought, whether it’s culturally or in terms of business management it was just anathema to the way they operate. How did you, in terms of your clients and potential clients how did you navigate those sort of different business approaches?

– Sure, yeah, and obviously the I told you so t-shirt people are very happy that they embrace that technology and we’re very happy they did so. And so for those guys, yeah, absolutely. Like we’ve said pretty much zero effect, at least in terms of technology and the ability to do your job and oversee other aspects. I found it incredibly frustrating, when we sort of started selling again in if you like June, July and August, when people started to come back out of open the door and actually have a chat, of the number of challenges that people were facing just in basics of doing business. So, you know, the main phone number who answers those calls and that kind of stuff. And the amount of times I heard, yeah we just route all of our calls to someone’s mobile sat at home and they write down a message and email it to someone. As a sort of a cobbled together Heath Robinson approach to business, and we’d have that conversation and understand that, that was a challenge. And there are, you know, we’ll talk about later many solutions available and people just, no I’m fine as I am. I will just do that, ’cause I think this kind of panic set in that everyone just battened down the hatches and refuse to do anything. Those companies that have done something, you know are now thriving and looking forward to the, you know the reset that you refer, that we’re referring to. We’ve tried really hard to be innovative. And, you know, I get that customers, potential customers don’t necessarily wanna sign up to a three-year contract, for example on this new technology that they might only need for six months. So we, you know, we’ve done very short term contracts with people, we’ve allowed pilots of systems. We’ve invested our own time and money into helping get customers set up on a trial system with no commitment at all from them, just to get them to see that there’s a benefit in, you know in this new way of working that we’re all used to. Because ultimately it’s harming their businesses by not doing so. So, you know, kind of going that extra mile, putting our money where our mouth is, that kind of stuff. And that’s worked with quite a few but I think we’ve still got those three camps. And there are a lot of businesses out there, who have just not dealt with this challenge, and aren’t very well prepared for what’s to come next. Which is, you know, partly why we’re here today.

– Yeah, we’re all trying to navigate through if they’re sort of living in the eternal present and not quite knowing what the near term might be, but I do want you to look ahead, from where we are right now beginning of Feb, clearly, you used the word it’s good at time of seismic change, personally, societlly of course, in business primarily what we’re gonna be talking about. How much of this is recent revolution, in working from home distributed working will endure do you think? What are your base case assumptions?

– Sure, well, you know, I think, we used to try and join video calls with people a year or so ago and I think we’ve all been there and, you know most people were joined with the video off, because they’re not comfortable doing video and all that kind of stuff. And obviously that’s changed massively and I, you know, I very rarely now to someone join, not on video, which is great, whether that’s the kitchen table or the office or whatever it is. So that’s been really great to see. I think, you know, it will depend obviously on industry. So we have some clients who, you know have manufacturing and you obviously can’t do that from home, and certain other roles of course. But I think certainly what we’re seeing out there is that the are people and are accepting that you need to be able to equip your team, your staff to be able to work from anywhere and from any device. And for us, that’s really not changed, that message hasn’t changed in the last five years, but that’s, I think what people are now not only realizing but also embracing. Also, I think what we’ve seen is that the, your user base, your consumers, if you like, are driving some of the technology decisions be that the, you know, the choice of zoom that we’re in today or other applications, you know, that people have just found a way to communicate. And then they’ve gone to the business and said, right, well, we’re all using zoom. So, let’s use zoom and then a businesses is going, okay, fine, everyone’s already using that, so that’s what we’re going to do going forward. In terms of kind of, you know, return to the office. Again, it’s massively down to each individual industry and organization for us that will absolutely be returned to the office, but we’re used to working from home as well. So I think it’ll just be, down to any individuals sort of working pattern, marrying that in with their personal life and school and, you know, that nativity place, and all that kind of stuff that we like to do. Which again is you’ve got a second nature to us, but I think, you know, that only comes from executive sponsorship at the top level in a business of having that trust in your team to be able to work from home and just get on with the job that they need to do, but also to reach out to their colleagues when they need help or when they need to collaborate, or they just need to have a chat over a cup of tea. So, we will certainly, go on.

– Which I was gonna say, we will come onto some of those points. I just want to take that point and extend it. I mean, the office of course is not dead, but it’s in something of a deep slumber in many cases, our own included. But technology clearly enables multiple efficiencies routes to market means of communicating democratizes in many ways. We can, all, anyone can hop on zoom, whenever pretty much. New efficiencies and opportunities for new business puddle and approaches these business circles, for example, or even the the Bristol properties symposium where we’re using hop in for that, by the way as a more, we think a more sympathetic and useful platform or networking specifically. We wouldn’t have countenance that a few months ago let alone, you know, a couple of years back. And yet for all of that, what about the human happenstance, the culture of businesses and teams working remotely? How, how do you seek to advise clients and practice Nick also in terms of your business, how sort of cognizant concerned are you about that the social glue, that office environments create?

– Yeah, I mean for our team, we have a particularly close team and we socialize a lot, we’d be kind of up for lunch being the very central in Bristol. We were very much into kind of the whole, Friday go for drink, grab some lunch teams being disparate being able to go for a walk around the Harbor side, being able to get, to spend some time with each other, and the minute kind of lockdown occurred. Then I think there was a bit a feeling of unsettleness from a lot of them because it was suddenly we’ve become very close friends within the office we are all now very spread out. And it was only over a video call. It’s a business, we kind of tried to take on a real responsibility of people’s wellbeing. So we had one person do the mental health first aid course so that if anybody was really struggling. And initially we had a couple of people who were quite challenged by the whole lockdown process. So we kind of thought it was the best place that actually if we do it ourselves, then we can advise other people in other companies is that kind of going through. Well this is something we’ve done. It’s not something we sell, but it’s something that actually might be benefit to your business. I think by the video collaboration as well that’s kind of been a big, as opposed to a phone call getting all of us onto a call to begin with. We were all doing a daily call, with just kind of wellbeing, how is everybody? Then that became a bit too over onerous effectively, so we do a call on a Monday where people bring three positives, and then a Friday is kind of like a nice Friday we’ll do a quiz or game or something like that. Just as a group, as a bit of a laugh that we can all enjoy and kind of limit the days that we used to be able to go out together but it’s kind of, we’re getting there and yeah. I think everybody’s responded well to it, and the team is, we probably spend more time talking as a group than we did before. It’s just, I think we’re all quite looking forward to actually getting together and being on top of proper day, night time.

– I mean, what’s clear from that and you know, your own thoughtful approach to your own team is that, of course technology is that great enabler. It does provide those efficiencies, opportunities and so on. But it can’t and shouldn’t and doesn’t supplant that sense of human interaction. I wanted just to pick up a work point, which is closely related as opposed to purely social points. Do you think in any way that creativity and collaboration are diminished by our remote working or potentially enhanced?

– I think there’s arguments for both. I think when our team of engineers all together and kind of nine of them set on a big desk and they built something they need to work through, it’s a very easy way for them to just to be able to kind of stretch across the desk or show it across to somebody else is to viewpoint. So, that element is missing. However, I think now, if somebody posts something onto one of our feeds bit, a team’s feed or video feed, then it’s answered a lot quicker ’cause sometimes it’s the first person to respond. We all kind of react, so I think there’s pros and cons to both. I think we all miss the whole being able to just, have a quick catch up with somebody or just grabbing a cup of coffee, because that’s when I did probably come out a bit more. As a management team, we still have a catch up once a month, sales team once a month and engineers once a week. So, we try and keep those teams up together, to make sure that we are still being collaborative and still trying to be creative as much as we can.

– Let’s come back out to clients and we’ll shortly be bringing in Bristle Sport, but I want us to talk, if you could talk through, in so far as there is a typical journey, and I’m sure they’re all be spoke different etcetera, etcetera. What it is like being a customer, new customer, a Blackstar from I don’t know, from inquiry to diagnostic proposal implementation, what’s it like, what happens?

– I should probably take that one next you know. So yeah, I think, you know, for us, hopefully people are already gathering that we’re quite relaxed about the way we do things that doesn’t mean to say we don’t take it seriously, but we, likewise don’t think everything needs to be overly formal. So our first meeting generally now, obviously is on zoom or teams or pretty much whatever the client wants to join on, but it’s usually one of the two and it’s what we’ve called a discovery session. So we, you know, it’s not, here’s all the stuff I’ve gotten here’s how much it is, it’s so right. What do you do as a business? How do you do it? Where are your people located? And I’m really trying to understand also what kind of existing technologies they use. And again, that’s you know obviously really accelerated in the last months, because, what we’re aiming for is to provide a solution that just sort of fits in or dovetails in nicely with everything else that they’re doing. We’re also trying to uncover some form of strategy to understand what their strategy is, and if they don’t have one, then obviously starting to talk about what that technology strategy should look like. I think a lot of people have crystallized their views now on that sort of side of things and moving to the cloud, for example, to make it easier for people to actually be able to access resources that they need to do their job. Whereas, you know, in the past we were all VPN on to serve as in the office. And people have now realized that that’s a very slow way of doing business when you’ve got all of your employees sat at home. So you’re moving things to the cloud again is something that we’d already done. So we don’t have those kinds of issues. So that kind of, you know proper discovery about what it is they do, and how they’re doing it, before we’ll then, you know, look more into the requirements. And quite often clients will come in with no real requirement and or documentation. They haven’t really, they’ve given it some thought but they haven’t documented it. So we’ll try and work with people on a, what I would call a kind of, you know, a must have less than a wishlist of it must do these things but we’d quite like it if it did this. But I think, you know, again, in the last 10 months, most people’s must have listers come down to a few very key points of being able to answer the phone on any device from anywhere, join a video call on any device from anywhere. The bit that I think people miss is, you know whether you’re using zoom or teams is that being able to then join your next stat in our office, for example, at the moment, being able to join any call from anywhere, with anyone and and some people might be using a different technology. So that kind of the office will come back into play. And it’s really important that people consider, you know how will people join meetings like this when they’re in the office, when they’re at home wherever. And, you know these technologies are there, there common base and most people are using them. It’s just a matter of kind of trying to take advantage of them. So there’s that discovery phase and, you know, it might be that we need to look into a bit more depth on some technical issues in a second meeting, but typically we’re then moving on to some kind of demo or you know, session like we’re doing now, what we’ll do a screen share and show software and show kind of that user experience the administration experience. And obviously talking a little bit more about the services that we provide. We’ve in the last time have done quite a lot of trials and pilots. So again, as I mentioned earlier, no actual commitment to buy just a trial of the system for a small pilot number of users which, from our point of views, we want people to buy into something that they’ve they know is going to do the job for them and not just kind of cross their fingers and hope for the best. And so that’s gone really well. And then obviously, you know, if the customer wishes to proceed then we’ll agree, commercial terms and over the last 10 months, we’ve done all kinds of crazy things to make sure that people haven’t had to you know, fork out a lot of cash up front or that short-term commitments that kind of thing, to just help where we can to get rid of those barriers, because we know that, you know, the businesses that we work in partnership with, they need to do these things to be able to continue doing business and come out the other side as it were and we wanna just take those barriers away where we can. So then yeah.

– Convince them from a business point of view both for yours and also for those listening. That deeper dive diagnostic discovery analytical phase, presumably is quite so can be quite time intensive. At what point do you start charging? Someone’s watching this now thinking, you know I will share, go through is going to take me quite a bit of time commitment, but you certainly. When does charging start?

– Yeah, well I think Kung Fu Panda once said. “There is no charge for awesomeness” And Nick’s a film buff and he’ll remember that. So you know, you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is and you’ve got to invest a bit of your time, right? If you want to win customers trust, and that’s really what we’re aiming for. So I think if you just start trying to charge from the outset then you’re not gonna get very far, firstly but also you’re starting out in the wrong way. So, you know, these first meters, you know, we don’t charge for that kind of stuff. And I think we really not charging until we get to that kind of implementation and training and project management and that kind of stuff. And, you know, and with smaller businesses that were only 16, 17 people at the moment, and you know there’s not gonna be a huge charge for that kind of implementation, but we deal with the customer, you know I’m sure you’ll mention later who are, you know thousands of users. So obviously there’s a different dynamic there, but it is yeah, for us, as I say, it’s just about, you know, making sure that our request is to help these people, these businesses to still be in business in two years time. And we want to be well remembered for taking the right approach to business, but it’s actually not a different approach to business for us it’s what we’ve been doing for five years is that. What we’re not gonna do, I think you asked Nick if you know, about what we don’t do and we’re not gonna start, you know, getting into the depths of logging into people’s office 365 tenants and checking on their security credentials. There are other companies, one of which did a surgery, not that long ago who a better place than us to dig into that kind of thing. So I typically, it’s not the kind of thing that we need to chat for.

– Okay, thanks Elliot. So talk implants, let’s bring in Mark from Bristle Sports. If Mark can come to camera as well. Morning, Mark, how are you?

– How are you doing? I’m not mute, I’m just good, hey.

– Just, you know, I know you’re well-known but just to give a quick intro for people, perhaps I know, we wanna be talking about Blackstar’s work with Ashlyn Gate and Bristle Sports with Mark who oversees the operations and management sort of what will be a 27,000 seat stadium, when fans are fully back aloud. Whenever that is. And two elite training facilities are also responsible for the commercial marketing ticketing and media operations of Bristol sports. So it’s quite a remit you’ve got. Before we come onto the Blackstar work. I just like to put it in this context talk a little bit about the, quite extraordinary work that Ashlyn Gates has been doing in two different phases of the pandemic, with fair share and food distribution and then more recently on the vaccination program. How has that been logistically for you?

– Thanks, Greg, and thanks for having me on today. I think if I reflect a bit like the lads have here, reflect on March, April, may last year, we were talking just before this call started that, you know, all of us, I think the nation thought this would last two or three weeks at the most and that was the narrative of the government at the time. And now we saw the country starting to lock down but we were encouraged to sort of carry on as much as businesses as usual. And as a sporting venue, you know, I had my iron Cheltenham saying, well if they’re gonna let Cheltenham happen? we’ll be all right, right? Because Cheltenham is revolving Cheltenham the launched a 1000 people, trying to get a pint of Guinness and most of horse racing. So we, I think we’re all caught on the hop a little bit. We, did plan, the flexibility the and ability to work Blackstar were incremental in that. So, but it was very soft touch planning. Let’s come back to your question. So, I don’t think anybody expected when it really hit and sports stops. So when games on the grass professionally and grassroots came to an absolute stop, I think then we were shocked into making decisions saying, well, this this is pretty intense, but even then we were thinking two or three weeks, four weeks at the most. And even that was the message for the NFL at the time. And the leagues actually that there’ll be a circuit break for a number of weeks. We have large venue. You know, we are the biggest venue, it would at Bristol. And we’ve always been very proud of, our stance in the community to be able to support the community and also to be a hub every two weeks for thousands of season ticket holders to come in, enjoy or not so enjoyed annual result, but to come into the stadium and watch sport. When you take that away from the community it leaves a void. It leaves a void in people’s eyes. You know, the heritage and the legacy of people come to games week in, week out, week in, week out for donkey’s years for generations we shouldn’t underestimate that. So we did close it. The question was, how do we stay relevant? How can we stay relevant in the community and people’s lives, but also try and do a good thing. There’s a huge amount of Goodwill around the time. Do you remember it was the volunteer and there’s loads of stuff happening. Everybody’s wanted to do something to help. And especially in the rural South home. And we, had this great space. We were contacted by a couple of smaller charities homeless and Bristol, others who just had so many volunteers and so many donations that they ran out of space. So we started opening the sports bar in the first instance just as a storage for Bristol homeless. And we worked with Elliot and test-run boxy E, they were distributing food, they were getting donations for teenage foster kids. And they were using the site stand course for that. And then fair share a contract saying, they’re getting so many donations from supermarkets and from private business. They ran out of space in their SideWest network. Could they perhaps use us as a temporary space work. And we gave them the Western Concourse and they stayed in the West end Concourse from, I wanna say late March, April, all the way through until the summer when we thought we’d get found back again. And they did thousands, you know, it was a big, it was so impressive to see donations coming through, the thousands of those of donations, the knock on the donations did to the people who needed it. We also have the space next door which is the future for our sports and convention center, we in 4,000 people. So we have acquired the wicks building and the dreams building. The wicks building is still an operation but the dreams building is empty. It’s been empty for a number of years since strings pulled out, and we’ve gifted that space to fair share and it has become one of their West hubs. And they’re still from the acts or some parts arrive today I’ve seen a stop where they have, you know, what we’ve done to support fair share has contributed to 2 million meals being spread out across the Southwest. Which is incredible that there’s a need for it in the first instance on, and you know we should all be very conscious that there is a need for that. But to be able to support that we’re very, very proud and all we’ve done really is just give the venue, you know where they’ve done all the hard work all these guys actions and the hard work.

– Mark, I am sure you are underplaying. When you say that all we’ve done, it’s been quite clear. It’s had a hugely material absolutely vital impact throughout Bristol, the work that you and an fair share who won the the charity ward in our personal life awards. An extraordinary charity and extraordinary venue and then sort of changed again to become a vaccination center. I mean, again, logistically, but what sort of throughput what type of numbers he did?

– So in the second half week of the vaccine center in full operation, it’s been set up sincerely December but have to wait for the vaccine to get approved and then to go through all the logistics, the NHS site. So we’ve provided that space from early December the armed forces came in and set up and it’s a state standard Concourse for anybody who’s been in the stadium. The way the stadium was designed was for multi-use events. You know, so that may have been to a dinner. And that concourse previously may have been to an exhibition that the beauty of the side’s done, is you can close the searches and it becomes sterile. So logistically the armed forces came in and set up a clinic sterols space, they you know set up a few times. If you’ve ever been in a queue Bristol bears game for a point of whatever and a pie, those concessions and our pharmacies. So the concessions all the berries can taken out the fridges and the fridges are now full of, you know, many vaccines and, you know, the NHS has set up the pharmacy in each of those concessions that nurses go, they saw out the vaccines and then it. So it’s incredible to see in terms of numbers we there’s about 16,000 in the last two and a half weeks, which is massive you know. UK are really leading the way in terms of the vaccine numbers. That’s hasn’t touched the sides yet. They’re, looking to do 12,000 a week over the coming weeks. So they 16,000 and a nice statistic from that is are those 16,000 vaccines. It saves 103 lives. And you know, what a great statistic that is and we should be shouting. I don’t mean Nash to engage. Bristol should be shared about this as a city and be very proud of the fact that we’re contributing to such a positive factor to get just health and wellbeing of the country. But also we’re here to talk about business. Let’s get the wheels of economy back moving again. Let’s get some confidence in business going forward.

– Mark there really is a huge amount and I don’t want to truncate, if were gonna have to. I would perhaps have a different conversation about our health and wellbeing session. We’re gonna be running and perhaps explore this more deeply with you then. But if we could part that now and you know, seriously you know, awesome congratulations for both aspects of vital work in these times, you know, from us all, I’m sure. Lets come to the business side and, you’ve been working with Blackstar for about three years or so. What has been its role in the last 10 months? And it’s timeless, you know, too much has changed for you for everyone. And how has that changed from before in terms of their service provision and understanding of your needs?

– Yeah, sure, I think look, Blackstar are, like all of our partners are our partners and we like rudders and supplier customer relations. We like to have partnerships, we don’t like to have a huge amount of suppliers. We just like to have a handful of partnership let’s call them. And, big part of Blackstar is they’re local and the local lads, and it’s a local business. So that that’s very important to the Landstown family until to sport. So that’s an important set up. You know what, not much has changed because probably three years ago when we all sat in their office with their head of commercial at a time, what was the objective? It was football fans, rugby fans, please don’t quote me on this. It was customer service. It is how do we improve customer service, and the customers being the football fans and the rugby fans, which traditionally haven’t been great. You know, it was only four years ago. We were selling tickets and people to come in and queue outside to Stanford for three or four hours. And that was just normal. So, and that was only, only four years ago, five years ago. So a big part of our objective with Blackstar was customer service. How we proactively manage our fan experience in terms of engagement and in terms of sales. So that objective hasn’t changed. 10 months ago christ 10 months ago, when this happened it was a very seamless project in some ways and I don’t mean to downplay it from a technical point of view, I’m not technical. So I’m sure it wasn’t seamless gentlemen. But from my point of view, as the operator, we needed to be able to communicate 20,000 seats in cardholders. Now Elliot mentioned panic earlier, every individual, one of those seasoned cardholders wanted to talk to somebody, an email wasn’t good. They wanted to know, was their money safe. Would they get a refund? But this one have a chat. When’s sport gonna come back? what’s your opinion? So, you know, we have to have Telephonics for up to 20,000 season cardholders. We also canceled the concert 30,000 killers. So these are national, some of the international clients who were calling so, 20,000 seasoned and cardholders, 30,000 concerts, holders, and thousands of thousands of meeting and events guests all nobody wants to do by email, all trying to speak to somebody on the phone and say, what’s gonna happen? Where’s our money? What about my deposit? When’s the game going to come back? What about the killers? So that thousands of dialogues. And, you know when I say seamless, we managed to close the office on a Friday. And we turned on support services, which is the communication stuff on Monday from home. So all of our agents, from my view were seamlessly working from home. And we were engaging with these thousands of thousands of fans, clients, and customers.

– So you’ve, you’ve had this extraordinary shock which we’ve all experienced. You’ve got it on a mass scale by indication the numbers you’ve mentioned, and Blackstar for, you know, more than able to support you through that. What if, what you have learned in these last 10 months from a logistics technical operations communications basis, will continue, will endure going forwards?

– That’s a really good question. I think there’s data around What is the future of working? Well, I think if you look at the past of working, we’ve all been working from home because I leave work, I take my phone and I take my laptop and I work from home. So we’ve had that flexibility by stealth over the last probably 10 or 12 years anyway, we all work from home. You know, I logged on a Sunday evening, I work from home. I didn’t call it work from home, I just called a catching up. So I think that’s gonna continue. I think from our point of view, being a flexible employer, being better employer, in the sense of offering flexibility to our employees to work from home, it will be important. All I’m saying as an office that you should have 50 people in the lighter office park. We are, a people get, you know, we’re social business. We sell social, we sell events, we sell people gathering. So it is quite soulless, when this office is closed. But I think from our point of view if I’m looking at recovery, you know we’ve done in terms of our strategy. We’ve done the reactive, we’ve the communications. We’re now doing the engagement so, our support service team work from home engagement fans and they don’t have to do recovery. From my view there’ll be a hybrid, some have work from home and some will come in the office and and it could be rotating rotor. And it’ll all depend on people’s individual circumstance and desire. Not everybody wants to work from home. Some people do wanna come in, but you know, some people may wanna work from home. So I think it’s that flexibility as an employer, I think is, is big.

– Okay, let’s come back to, from Blackstone’s perspective for Nick, for Elliott, all clients matter of course. And you love all your clients, your partners there equally I’m sure. But how did you approach Bristol sport, Ashlyn Gates particular needs in 2020? What was different? How did you go about it?

– I think because we knew they were such a unique client and they were probably one of the clients who was hit hardest. I mean, it was literally, the doors were closed to lots of other businesses were able to kind of, function from working remotely, if you’re an accountant or solicitor for etcetera. That just continue, whereas unfortunately for Mark’s business, were the fan stopped walking through the gate, it’s an enormous impact. So we’re very aware of how quickly we needed to respond and react. And obviously we took the time to understand the business to begin with and make sure that, I mean Mark had the foresight to kind of believe in everything that we said that he needed to do. So it was very much a partnership that worked because all the solutions we suggested at the outset, there’s some clients say, oh, no I think I need that one, because market Boston’s black bought into the whole process. It was just a case of us just having to enable those so that his team were able to pack up, walk out, turn on and be remained.

– Good, and Mark, perhaps in closing in this part if you could perhaps briefly to sum up, what Blackstar’s role has been in this year tumultuous year for you.

– Yeah, I think as I said, the start, it’s a partnership you know, they’re Bristol bears, sponsors. And again, this closes the circle and all the responses, you mentioned, factors there, we liked the local engagement and, we liked to sort of to both of us, do well out of it. So there’re a partner and they’re a sponsor. We’re also involved in the development of boat training grants, you know, and that the digital the internet provided that is the future of performance in the training ground. But that’s more a huge amount of pressure on us to deliver there. Honestly, it’s, I think as, as Nick said, this journey started pre COVID, it’s having the ability to flex up and down your business and future-proof your business. So really it’s just a continuation of that relationship and having the confidence and the trust in your suppliers that actually you can go home on a Friday and sleep easy to know that these guys are gonna craft and behind the scenes. And I’m probably doing them an injustice in terms of how sameness I’m selling it. But when we look at Monday, we look at the statistics coming through in terms of the numbers that were, you know, people working from home. We shouldn’t underestimate that, you know, seven, six or seven support service agents, who were able to plug in to their laptop and talk to fans from their kitchen, from the bedroom, wherever that was untested. You know, if that was a project, you test that for months we’d all be sitting around drinking coffee thinking how good was that? We Could we do better? It was live, it wasn’t. So I think, you know, it comes down to trust partner relationships having the trust and confidence insured I can call Nick or Elliot and say, that wasn’t great. How can we do better? You know, but not that we did that, but it’s just having that kind of

– Yeah, well, really, really good. Thank you. And you, and all bristle businesses, very, very best wishes for the great reset, whenever it truly enacts. And thank you for your contributions today, thanks. So, Nick and Elliott’s one sector for you. There’s multiple sectors you operate in you’re pretty, pretty agnostic, I guess almost about sectors there’s charity. You do quite a bit of work for the, and people. Sometimes don’t like to talk about their charity work but this is providing a service, the all voluntary services, St John’s ambulance, Jessie May. Talk about perhaps briefly what you do, but if there are points of difference between working with charities as distinct from purely commercial businesses.

– Yeah, absolutely. You can hear me, okay I’ve come off of mute, haven’t I? So yeah, St John’s ambulance, you know, for them they have many, many employees, but from our point of view sort of just over a thousand employees who are based all around the country, but in offices and a contact center or a call center with about a 100 agents. And prior to all of this, that was a revenue-generating contact center where people call in to book their, you know, their first aid training and donations or whatever they want to do. And all of a sudden, overnight I just stopped and they, you know, they had other things they needed to do. And obviously subsequently they’ve kind of change the business model to get involved with those other things. You know, training vaccinators for example, to link into, to what Mike was talking about. So, they, you know had to change that business model a little bit to reflect that, but also they had the challenge that they had a 100 people who were there. The prime revenue-generating source for the business who had to now go and work from home. So, you know, sadly with these guys we don’t need not long ago taking them on for support and services, so they weren’t already set up. So it was one of the clients where we, you know, did we prioritize them over others? Absolutely not. But did some people work quite a bit of overtime to make sure that they were up and running on schedule? Yes, okay. So we went above and beyond to help those guys because you know, I think there’s an ethical responsibility when working with charities to, you know, like I said, at the beginning, we need to make sure that you’re not trying to profit from it. And we did quite a lot of work for those guys that we didn’t charge for, to just get them to where they needed to be. And, you know and, you can point at your terms and conditions on your support contract, and how you should charge for extra things. And then you can look in the mirror and decide, no we shouldn’t be charging for that in these circumstances. So that’s very much what we did with those guys, you know and we’re now working with them on kind of the next phase which is, how do we get our technology to where we need it to be for all things coming forward. And we’re massively conscious that they have a 20 million pound hole in their budget for this year. So where as we can’t give it to them for anything and put ourselves out of business. we’ll certainly we are doing everything we can to kind of find places where they can save money but also more importantly, you know, to move to newer technologies, to enable them to just save money on their operational costs. So that’s something we’re really proud of. RVs the Royal voluntary service, I think as Mark referred to, you know, at the beginning of all this what all remember the call for volunteers that went out and was answered, you know, by the masses and impressively so. The RVs organized all of that. So they went from, again, having a, you know a phone system, a call center that was ticking along with its normal day-to-day stuff to suddenly having to you know, more than double the amount of capacity that they had overnight pretty much to be able to deal with all of these, you know, people volunteering to help. So again, that was another one where we just said you know what, these guys, we just need to do anything and everything that’s needed to get them to where they need to be as quickly as possible. And, you know, some of that was the innovative use of technology. And some of it was just good old-fashioned graft, you know, not certainly for me and Nick, but from our team. And I, you know, my hats off to our team who I know some of which are watching today for all the efforts that they put in to help these people get to where they need to be. Nick, you might wanna talk about Jessie May a little bit. I know that’s close to your heart.

– That’s your charity of choice almost I gather.

– It is, I met a couple of people from Jessie May five years ago and we got invited to one of their black tie events and kind of the group of reversing partners went, for quite a, quite stoic bunch. There were a few optimal wobbles if they showed a couple of videos of the work they do, which is amazing. So we kind of LA was one of them, I didn’t like its name We’re kind of watching the stuff that they do. We thought that’s a really good opportunity to give back, locally. So for them, we’ve done a skydive, we’ve jumped out of a plane we provide the phone system, kind of it. It absolute costs to make sure that they are able where they have limited budgets, so they can prioritize in the life cafe children.

– Yeah, it’s another iteration. And we’ve all seen this during the pandemic of companies, stepping forward whatever your service offering or product offering is, money always matters but the opportunity to leverage your services to the benefit of charities, we’ve been trying to highlight that through our Bristol together campaign. There are so many great stories and this is one of them, so good for Blackstar. I wanna come on to some internal points about Blackstar, but the last 10 minutes just framed by. About the team culture values and so on. When you are recruiting, you either happening or soon will be recruiting I’m sure. Which is more important. In fact, which is more teachable tech skills, or business understanding?

– I think tech skills are more teachable. We’ve very much recruit on culture and a good cultural fit. I think, we’ve had interviews, we’ve been tactically fantastic, but I just don’t think they will buy into what we’re trying to achieve. So we do very much recruit on culture and then assume that we can train skills, which we’ve touched word we’ve had real success in doing we’ve taken on apprentices. And we’ve seen two of our apprentices just develop incredibly over the three years. They’ve been fantastic. And they’ve kind of gone from, being really unsure of themselves as well as being really confident in what they do and really delivering value to the business. So, I think that’s kind of our, the way that we like to try and develop, is to take on people that we can see potential for, and then kind of Blackstar rise them and they’ll fit in. And then they’ll pick up skills because it’s such a collaborative way that we work. They want to learn and they want to be part of it.

– So you, buy into that tends to be a technologist approach but culture trumps strategy broadly.

– Completely every time, every time.

– Okay, we’ve got a question from Jamie Williams or the boss of this company. It is about offices. And I think about you particularly, in fact Jamie might be joining us. You’re joining us. I can see his name coming up. Not sure if the tech is gonna allow it. That’s Jamie, if I just paraphrase your question, infact there you are. Jamie good morning, you have, you know, it’s one of those moments. This is the question about the office leave you had.

– Yeah, that’s correct. It’s time from a Barth office company. We’ve, we were kind of rebranding really and looking at changing things for the future. So you mentioned a little bit obviously about flexibility being, I guess, one of the key reasons or key decision-making fact is when signing your next lease. But I guess what I already wanna know is, are there any other factors that might influence that decision? You know, people are gonna need offices. My backgrounds are from creative agencies, and collaboration creativity, you know, I’ve seen really suffered over the last kind of 12 months or so, but it’s exactly how we use them. You know, that flexibility on term or the spaces, you know that you need to use within an office environment. Is there anything else really, that you might consider?

– So Nick trying to roll the dice forward as it were what will Blackstars offices look like in the future? Will they grow as you grow? Or will you use it as a hub and people working descriptively?

– I think again, without kind of sitting on the fence it will be a bit combination of the two will very much I’d love to have everbody back in the office, but we’ve seen some real benefits by people being remote working as well. We’ve got quite a disparate workforce. We’ve got a champ who lives in Cardiff. We’ve got people who live West country and kind of further away. So they’re saving hours a day, travel, which again brings them financial benefits by not having to put fuel in the car or jump on the train. I’m also, they enjoy those benefits. They also like coming into the office. So I think we’d, our officers would be able to cater for everybody, but understand that it’s unlikely that everybody will be in. We’re very lucky to be in BS one and we’d like to stay in kind of a BS one location because again, it fuels a cultural thing of everybody being to go grab Some lunch together, a couple of beers on a Friday after work type thing. So, we’re very mindful of keeping the team together socially as well as professionally.

– Jeremy, thank you for your question and good luck with your own business activities and perhaps look out for the path property symposium as well as the Bristol properties symposium. Join us both as you fancy. Thank you.

– Thank you.

– Thank you so much. Were coming towards the end of this, you’ve sort of touched on this Elliott briefly before you’ve been evangelists for this approach to work. I think Elliot it was a few years back. You sought to persuade me why we would clash and work like this to then to know available. Do you feel that, your time has come as a business? You’ve almost been vindicated by what has happened?

– Yeah, it would be easy to be a little pompous at the moment, but absolutely not is the case here. I think, bear with me, the perils of having your device connected to multiple things at the same time and someone decided they wanted to bring me in the middle of this. So thanks mum. So it’s, sorry. Remind me the question again Greg ’cause I’ve been completed

– Well, I was gonna say do was, you know this arc of your evangelizing about this some years back and now, you know, your time has come as a business that this you’re right at the epicenter of so many businesses. Do you almost feel vindicated by having that more future-proof approach?

– Yeah, I’m, you know, I don’t take any personal glory from anything that we do and nor does Nick, but I think, yeah it’s good to see that we’ve got some customers and obviously Mark’s referred to the two who bought into the partnership and their strategies that we promote, who, you know are now proudly walking around their offices having or home, you know, having done everything that they needed to do. I think it kind of helps us in our messaging and, you know, and I am a sales director and I do want to sell more stuff. So, it helps that people have now realized that this is what they need to do in the main. And you know, and businesses are now looking to that you know, that reset and what do we need to do. I just would like to encourage more businesses to think that way, rather than the percentage that currently do. And, you know, if I had to tell you, it’s probably 50% in terms of conversations I’ve had over the last 10 months. So I think it does vindicate, but it just adds value to yet these guys are actually singing from the right message and we need to buy into that message.

– Yeah, I would imagine there’s a number of businesses that are, you know having to sort of peddle furiously and not necessarily achieving very much commercially in current times, but it is also a chance to, again, to pause, to reflect on this period. This part of it will come to an end. The business will change. So I just wondered know, in a nutshell you’ve touched on this, but in a nutshell how can Blackstar help companies on this tool?

– Yeah, absolutely. So, go on Nick, sorry, go.

– I will let Elliot wrap up. I was just gonna say, I think because we have all clients big and small and it’s a consultative approach. We genuinely enjoy talking to clients and trying to solve challenges for them. That was kind of our main remit is to be the problem solvers, to be able to give the technology advice that lets people work from home. To be able to let people jump on the zoom call wherever they are, be able to join teams, conversations, in the most efficient manner that suits them, not us. And that’s our differences. It’s very much it’s client driven as opposed to, well we’re in the office zooms, that we’re only gonna sell you zoom. Ours is a much more, rounded portfolio where we can offer lots of solutions. So it’s not one size fits all. And that’s our big differentiator against competition.

– Perhaps I either Nick or Elliot, just give an example of perhaps if not the most abstract for perhaps the most bespoke type of offering you have. We were all pretty familiar with zoom. We know what the concept of the cloud is, distributed working and so on. What are the more specific iterations which are you’ve been offering?

– Yeah, I think we’ve had some, you know, challenges where we’ve solved the problem for the customers as you’ve just outlined but then our discovery takes us a bit deeper into, you know what are the systems are you currently using, and where can we add a bit more benefit there for very little extra cost. And that is typically around things like integration with customer CRM systems, you know, and also, I think one of the other ones we’ve seen that’s hit home quite hard, it’s just making putting technologies in place that make remote and home users feel part of the overall. And that’s typically prevalent in sort of contact central call center, or just, you know busy customer service environments where, you know, we’re used to sitting in the office and there’s a big screen that tells us what’s going on but actually as a home user, you can’t see all that and you can’t get a feel for what’s going on. And so just making sure that, you know, those agents or have the stats and the ability to kind of see that the big picture as a business, rather than just their little bit of their job and that’s what they do. And nowadays, you know, these things, you can check all kinds of business data in there around sales figures or other things you wanna do, but also wellbeing messages and being able to monitor how long someone has been set at that keyboard set at that screen. And being able to say to them, now is the time to take a break. And some of these technologies will allow you to kind of automate that. And, you know, as we all know, when we sit in the car sometimes and it tells us we’ve been driving for too long when we need to go to the services, that kind of capability, which is, you know, is available and to be able to monitor, to what your people are doing to make sure they just you know, actually take a break occasionally ’cause sometimes we don’t.

– Well, we can take a break, we will be taking a break very shortly. And this sits into that last question, if you think of the obvious, as you’re saying, we, you know, what was the kilometer in a lorry to make sure people didn’t drive too many miles, then it’s become more prevalent in-car technology. We all have it on our apps, we can monitor our phone usage and so on, that sense of wellbeing has to be an increasingly important part of a technologist offering. But what do you do to picture paints either, or both of you about the business, the future, perhaps if not the office of the future, that is the nature of technologists of futurologists such as yourself to always be positive, optimistic. Things is a better newer, smarter, cooler way of doing things. What might be different once we’re through this period, about how businesses operate from a technology point of view, where would you see the key points

– For me firstly, I think, sorry Nick, for me, firstly, I think, you know, in terms of technology decisions, it’s really to look at everything as a whole and not just focused on, you know, your mobile renewal or your internet circuit renewal or whatever it is. You need to look at these things as a whole. And ideally, you know, people will end up with one app on their desktop be that teams or zoom or whatever it is that does that communication and collaboration piece for the whole business, ’cause at the moment there’s other companies, you know. We started out maybe at the beginning with WhatsApp and email and teams and zoom, and then you’ve got five, six seven different modes of communication which is completely unproductive and unmanageable. So it’s that aiming for that one, you know, one app that rules them all from a technology point of view, is certainly what we’re promoting and making sure that you haven’t all the connectivity you can need in terms of internet. Right, so let’s not have people sit staring at whirling circles and egg timers and all that kind of stuff, trying to do their job. And that’s, if you like is our request and I’m sure Nick would like to, to finish off.

– Yeah and I think it’s just being driven by, it’s driven far more by end user going back to the business now, as opposed to the business spectating which is really useful because sometimes you’ll get an IT director, in situ who’s been doing the job for 25, 30 years and has their set byte use and that’s it. And everybody has to comply. We see now the consumerization of communications be a much more although it’s being fed back through, which is great because it means the technology evolves. And I think because genuinely we love the shiny flashy stuff, I certainly do. Which annoys a lot of the engineers a lot of the time, when I come with a great new idea. What I think is a great new idea is actually just more work. I think, because we look and try and see what the future of remote working is gonna be like for businesses that we really evangelize that for them.

– Yeah well, again, there’s so much to talk about here, but that last point that, IT departments and CIO sort of set sedulously guarded the crown jewels of technology. Now it’s much more democratized. We’re all clear what we need. We’ve got some inkling of what, you know, our businesses require. And I would hope that the people watching us today and subsequent on YouTube will have had a benefit for Blackstar and insight to the culture, the offering and really the values of why you do what you do. So to both of you from Blackstone’s solutions Nick and Elliot, thank you very much for speaking today. Also, thanks to Mark from Ashton Gates, Bristle Sports, both for what you doing as an organization, but also your contribution today as a partner of Blackstar. Thank you for your time and observations today to anyone watching, please look out for our next Bristol Life Business Surgeries with Western college, Bevan, Britain. And definitely please do plan to join us on the Feb 12th if you can. The Bristol property symposium, that’s just a week on Friday. In case you’ve also like me lost track of time. And of course thank you for all your support for Bristol life. Good luck in the coming months as the great reset emerges. This has been immediate cash production, and this has been the latest Bristol Life Business Surgery Bristol together about the Future of Remote Working. Always. Thank you.

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