“Our first few months with First Line were a period of adjustment for us,” said Sheena Porter, CEO of leadership and development organisation The Oxford Group. “It was our first venture into outsourcing our IT support, having previously employed a dedicated IT engineer, and we had to find our way carefully. But the guys are all so responsive, helpful, and patient that we very quickly built up a strong relationship.”

The Oxford Group is a global business, with a large number of international clients calling on the expertise of 250 self-employed consultants based all around the world. IT is vital in helping them communicate with clients and create, store, and send information.

Despite the global nature of the business, The Oxford Group thought from the start that it was important that their IT support company should be local. “We knew that mostly they would be delivering their service to remote users, but it was still very important that they should build a relationship with us in our Head Office, and particularly our Head of IT, David,” said Sheena. “We had to make sure that they shared our values and our attitudes to client service.”

Now, two-and-a-half years later, The Oxford Group has enjoyed strong growth and First Line’s support has grown with them. “They provide day-to-day support to all our full-time staff and give fundamental advice and guidance to David. They also find extra resources to support bigger projects such as our recent implementation of Microsoft 360,” said Sheena.

This cloud-based system has entailed different ways of working for many of the Oxford Group’s staff, and the implementation was a complex project. Still, First Line’s “calm, steady, and logical approach to problem-solving” kept them going.

“Of course they can’t solve every problem immediately,” said Sheena, “but they are very good listeners and unflappable. You know that if they are stuck they will go back and talk it through with the team, before coming back with a solution.”

In addition, Sheena says she values her regular communication with First Line’s directors. “John and Nim are really personally supportive – quite above and beyond what one would normally expect,” she said. “I like the fact that they are not fixated on technology: their discussions are always relationship-based, and they are concerned about things such as challenge and the human element. As we’re a people business ourselves, I relate strongly to that aspect of First Line.”