We ‘Cornered’ the lockdown market, claims commercial IT leader

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A Teesside based business IT support specialist has recorded its busiest ever period during lockdown and says the past 12 weeks will undoubtedly change working practices in the future.

At the start of lockdown, Cornerstone Business Solutions was regularly taking more than 100 calls a day from companies and businesses who needed urgent help setting up remote working practices so staff could work from home.

Teesside business has adapted very well to the challenges thrown up, says Cornerstone MD Chris Petty, but going forward the way we all work has got to change massively.

“It went crazy, as you can imagine,” said Chris. “Everybody was looking at how to change their business, how to keep going, how to get staff working from home.

“At our busiest we were getting 107 calls a day. Every single call was to get a user set up from home to be able to email, use Teams or Zoom, to get basic things set up.

“Our team was fantastic, we worked all the hours that God gave us to get everybody else to a state where they could work.”

As a leading IT company, Cornerstone’s team was already geared up to work remotely. Well versed in preaching the need to have a crisis recovery plan in place, they were able to quickly and efficiently step up to help others.

Crisis planning, says Chris, will be something businesses will now consider more. As will the cost savings of using remote ways of working.

“This has shown people they should have done a little bit more,” he said.

“We have never ever experienced anything like this before. I think the whole way we work now has got to change massively.

“We have been pitching things like video conferencing for years, it was something you couldn’t sell back then.

“Now because of what’s happened, people have been forced into using the likes of Teams and Zoom and people are saying, ‘it’s ok, ‘it’s not as bad as I thought.’”

Companies are also making savings on expenses including travel and are examining their whole structure as a result.

“We are all realising there are cost savings to be had and it does work,” said Chris.

Far from resting on its laurels, Cornerstone has used the lockdown to cement and launch two more arms of its own business – Cornerstone Marketing Solutions and Cornerstone Education Solutions.

Earlier this year the firm realised it had been very successful at getting its own name known and so decided to offer marketing services as part of its portfolio.

Lockdown also gave Cornerstone – which Chris believes is the only company between York and Newcastle to have an Apple-certified engineer – time to develop a business plan to launch an education arm which will offer specialist IT services to schools and colleges.

A new website is being built to showcase all services and the company will cement itself under the Cornerstone Group umbrella.

Chris Petty was taking part in our Talking Business series of Facebook interviews, in association with leading North-East commercial law firm Jackson’s. The full interview can be seen here.