Behind the scenes with Utility Installation Projects' Tiarna Rowan

In our latest ‘meet the client’ interview blogs, we catch up with Tiarna Rowan, Business Operations Manager at Utility Installation Projects (UIP) in Hadleigh, Suffolk.

If you’re unfamiliar with the power, telecoms and water industry, you might not know Utility Installation Projects but may have seen their vehicles darting across the UK.

UIP provides the full spectrum of turn-key project services to the utility and civil engineering sectors and has enjoyed considerable growth since it opened its doors in 2002.

Having just celebrated UIP’s 21st birthday, we thought we’d ask Tiarna to walk us through her role and why IT is fundamentally important to enabling the whole team to be as efficient as possible.

Tiarna, can share your Utility Installation Projects journey?

“Absolutely. I have quite a broad business and operations background. I’ve spent most of my career either managing people or implementing new business processes. Before joining Graham Clackson, Owner and Projects Director of UIP, in running the business, I worked at East Suffolk & North Essex Foundation Trust for several years. I had just set up a Covid-19 helpline for the Trust in 2020 when Graham, who is also my other half, convinced me that it was a good time to step into UIP to help strengthen the foundations of the business in readiness for further growth.”

What does a typical day involve as Business Operations Manager?

“There is a lot of variation in my role, which I enjoy. As well as day-to-day operations, I lead on recruitment, marketing, accreditations, purchasing, strategy and system implementation.

“Making sure we have strong and successful relationships with our suppliers also falls within my remit, which includes working with Agile Technical Solutions.”

What led you to partner with us?

“At UIP, it’s important that we partner with suppliers and contractors who share our values for being responsive, reliable, flexible and trusted.

“We haven’t always experienced this with our previous IT providers, and the Covid-19 pandemic, as was the case for lots of businesses, gave us the opportunity to put new, more robust IT solutions in place.

“So we asked some of our other suppliers who they would recommend as an IT partner, and Agile’s name was mentioned.

“At the time, we were relying on a much smaller IT provider, and I was conscious of needing to reduce risk of doing so. So it was important that we moved to a local IT company that was not just reliant on one or two IT people but that had an entire team of experienced technicians and specialist IT consultants. Agile offers us this – a highly-experienced team who I also know on a first-name basis.”

How does Agile add value to UIP as a business?

“I knew straight away that Agile would be the right partner for us as Nick Baines, Agile’s Managing Director, reviewed our existing IT infrastructure, identified where our vulnerabilities were and what we could do to quickly resolve them. He also guided us in updating and changing the way that we access and use IT to make our business even more efficient.

“It was also important that we chose a local IT company with who we could build a long-term relationship.

“Agile very quickly proved their worth as before they even started, they helped defend our data and systems against a Trojan Horse cyberattack. They also supported us in making remote working as easy and safe as possible and seamlessly migrated us from a Mac environment to Windows and MS 365.

“They put in place robust IT Security and data backup solutions and a full recovery plan in the event of the unexpected. We also have an IT Support Service Level Agreement with Agile, which means we have direct access to their IT helpdesk and technicians whenever needed.

“If another team member or I have an IT problem, it’s quickly resolved. I’ll sometimes step away from my desk to make a coffee and leave Phil (on Agile’s helpdesk) with access to my computer. By the time I’m back, everything’s sorted.”

What’s the best thing about our support?

“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing as Agile provides an outstanding service in all areas. What I would say is that having Agile on board is a breath of fresh air. It’s not just about providing great IT Support. I know we can trust Agile to provide practical advice to help protect our business and support our growth.

“As a company, they are customer-focused. I know that I can pick up the phone to speak with any one of the team and they’ll do their utmost to help.”

Thanks, Tiarna. Finally, how do you find time to balance work and life?

“Although I haven’t taken to the ice in a while, I am quite an experienced ice skater. I like the freedom that being active gives me, so I spend a lot of time training in the gym. It’s a great way to clear the mind too.

“I also love spending time with Graham and my children. Two of them are grown up now, but my son, who’s 14, still lives at home with us, so we spend a lot of family time together.”