Launching a new office can be a challenge at the best of times, yet when Leaf Ireland officially opened its Dublin offices in February 2020, few could have predicted the months ahead.
Yet that didn’t stop it from growing over the last year. Every month has seen it add new clients and now has an eye towards expanding its team.
The key figure behind this is Larry Doyle, the chief operating officer of Leaf Ireland, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience behind him.
Before Leaf, he was the co-founder and technical director of sustainable IT service Netforce, which was sold to Exigent Networks in 2017.
His approach of ensuring customers have a broad range of services and products while being served by technical and support people who know their business inside out was a key part of Netforce’s success.
While Leaf was originally based in Belfast, it had several clients around Ireland, including Mitchell McDermott, KCMG Composites and DMQ Accountants. Since Leaf needed a Dublin headquarters to better serve its Irish customers and Doyle was free after selling Netforce, bringing him on board was a no brainer.
It’s a move that has boded well for the company as Doyle’s strong reputation alongside the solid foundations Leaf has already established has held the Dublin office in good stead.
“As I’ve been in the industry for a long time, I have a lot of clients who had worked with me before,” said Doyle. “They want to move over and have the comfort level of working for me again.”
“I’m lucky as well that I have the whole Leaf organisation behind me for the likes of technical resources and accounting resources.”
Providing all aspects of managed IT – from cloud solutions to disaster recovery – makes for an easier and more frictionless experience for clients. From a technical standpoint, it can provide all the moving parts that a company needs like security, mobile device management, disaster recovery and disk encryption management, all from one portal.
Yet what sets Leaf apart from other similar entities is how it has combined its technical abilities with its support infrastructure. Such processes are more than just providing the service, it’s accompanying it with the expertise and understanding of the business which is where the real value comes from.
“The feedback I get all the time from clients is that it’s the helpdesk and support they get from Leaf that makes the difference,” he said. “The fact that they’re totally confident in what we’re saying and doing is the result of our efforts. There’s also a personal touch about the team and having people on the ground.”
“The bigger guys that are out there have become very ticket-driven and they lose that personal touch as a result. When people are ringing up with a problem, they want to hear someone who will fix it. They don’t want to hear that their ticket has been logged.”
That close relationship is vital for a few reasons, one of which is to prepare the business for where it will be in 12 to 18 months. A company might be running smoothly now, but if it expects to add ten more people, that means adding licences, preparing machines and updating policies.
It’s why every client has both a technical and non-technical account manager working with them to provide the best of both worlds. That means ensuring quarterly report meetings cover both the technical and non-technical elements.
Elements like the health of their machines, software and anything due for renewal in the next two to three months like licences are covered. The result is all elements are sorted out in advance, meaning there’s little stress experienced from the client’s side.
The main part behind that is that IT needs can change substantially. What was the top product five or ten years ago may not be up to scratch now and having a proactive approach of regular reviews instead of passive renewal ensures all clients are best prepared for the future.
And to top that off, such changes and adjustments can’t be made out of sight or in isolation. Doyle mentions the importance of having a verified approach, as trust is only one element of success.
“It’s all well and good trusting your IT provider, but you need to verify what they’re saying as well,” he said. “You have to demonstrate that what we’re doing is what we say we’re doing.”