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When I was a teenager growing up in South Africa, I really wanted a motorbike. So, I was distraught when instead of a motorbike, my mum came home with a computer!
But that moment changed everything for me and it went on to ignite a lifelong passion for technology. I ended up starting my first IT business when I still in school, fixing people’s computers from my grandfather’s garage and I’ve worked in the IT sector ever since.
I’d describe myself as a technology evangelist – I’m truly passionate about it and love talking about and sharing technology with other people.
I moved to the UK around 20 years ago and founded Dragon in November 2009.
Up to that point, I had always worked for someone else but decided that it was time to step out on my own and to start doing things my way.
Over the years, I’d seen businesses using technology as a tool but never really making full or efficient use of it. I thought I could change that if I supported them in a different way. I’d also seen many businesses being given poor advice and left unsupported, so I wanted to do something about it.
IT changes constantly. It is living and breathing all the time. But a lot of IT companies are stuck in the past. They’re not working to embrace the rate of change and this evolution and that means they’re not offering the strongest possible support to their customers. Dragon is different.
At the heart of Dragon is a team of likeminded individuals who are all passionate about technology and about helping people.
Each member of the team is a great listener and can talk to customers in an understandable way. They can explain complicated concepts, avoiding jargon and fancy language, and that’s a hugely important part of the support we provide.
Another thing we all have in common is our passion for technology and that’s something that continues outside of work. Whether it’s building projects at home or dabbling in new innovations, tech is a way of life for the Dragon team.
We recognise that it can be difficult for businesses to navigate tech, especially when it changes so quickly. We enjoy the challenge of making technology work for our customers –underpinning what they are already doing so well.
Lots of IT companies simply thrust technology on to customers and see it as a silver bullet. But that doesn’t achieve the best outcomes. The secret of success is to use technology to underpin what businesses are already doing, so it becomes part and parcel of what they do.
We embrace and test new innovations on our customer’s behalf. Only then will we recommend things, which we know would benefit from.
I’m really proud of the team we have at Dragon and of the culture we have created.
We have an amazing mix of people, across a range of different ages, specialisms and experience levels. It’s a very close-knit team and we play to each individual’s strengths. Everyone pitches in and goes the extra mile to get the job done together.
And I’m delighted to say it seems to be working too, with customers – and team members – staying with Dragon for years.
Covid-19 presented many challenges for businesses, including Dragon.
It was unchartered territory and the volatility of the situation put some of our customers at serious risk. No one really knew what was going to happen and we put a lot of time and effort into support our customers, in any way we could. For example, by helping them facilitate remote working at speed, so the wheels could keep turning.
It was a very difficult and busy time but also very rewarding.
I strongly believe that times of crisis are a true measure of any relationship. It is in those moments that you see whether you have a genuine partner by your side, or just a supplier.
I started Dragon because I was passionate about IT not because I knew about business, so, it was a big learning curve for me in the early days!
But one of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that you should never underestimate the value of forming good relationships – both with your customers and staff. Those relationships are the two most important things any business can have.
I’m really proud of the team and of all we have achieved, and continue to achieve, at Dragon. As for the future, we will be continuing to grow the business in a sustainable way – one that enables us to maintain the essence of the company and the strong culture we have created.
We’re also currently looking at expanding into a new, larger office space, to cater for our growing team, as we enter the next stage in our development.