MiX Turns 5: Directors Reflections
MiX’s fifth birthday provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on the journey the business has been on since its inception. The four founding directors – Russell Lamb, Adam Oliver, Rob O’Neill and Sebastian Day shared some of their thoughts.
Looking back, what was the driving force behind setting MiX Consultancy up?
AO: The four of us worked together for many years and the idea of creating a business that could offer clients a better, more flexible and more collaborative option in the AV/IT/Physical Security Consultancy sector was something we discussed over a pint at the pub for many years before it became a reality.
SD: We wanted to offer an alternative to some of the very large, very corporate consultancies. We wanted to bring the same level of experience but a more personal approach.
RO: And we wanted it to be an enjoyable place to work! Our team work really hard but we want to make sure that there is always time for a laugh and a trip down to the pub!
What makes MiX different
RL: It sounds cliched but it really is our team that make the difference. We’ve invested in the type of people that share the same values as us and the same personable, flexible approach that we adopt. We believe that people like to work at MiX and that our clients and the rest of the professional team like to work with us too. It makes projects that much more enjoyable to deliver. Our consultants are all full time employees so we can make sure that clients get the same consultant from the start to the finish on projects.
SD: Our team is made up of individuals who have entered the world of consultancy through different avenues – as clients, as integrators, as main contractors and other consultancies. This has given us the ability to really understand the full lifecycle of the project from all perspectives, allowing us to provide design solutions that will work from the outset.
RO: As evidence, we’ve had a very low turnover of staff over the past five years which I think is testament to the culture of the business and the opportunities that have been available to our team– both in the type of projects they work on and also career wise. Our first member of staff, James Woods who took a leap of faith and joined us in April 2015, has risen through the ranks and recently been promoted to associate director.
AO: Our team also have the ability to really delve deep to understand what our clients need and how their business works. We spend time with their people – across all levels in the business – to understand the real requirements. We aren’t afraid to challenge our clients and offer alternative solutions when we think it will benefit them. MiX offers several workstreams – IT Project Management, IT Infrastructure, Physical Security, Data Networks and Unified Communication solutions. This allows us to use our in house expertise to offer a fully integrated service if required.
RL: MiX is privately owned which means that there are four of us that make the decisions – giving us the ability to be flexible and sympathetic to specific client needs and also to market conditions.
MiX have an impressive track record and range of projects under their belt. Are there any that stand particularly stand out?
AO: We have been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work with some fantastic clients and other consultants – across many sectors and also on wide range of projects.
They have all brought their own challenges and pleasures but the ‘firsts’ are always special – first project won, first integrated service, first win in a sector (legal, media, financial, technology, insurance, not for profit, government) first one over 100k ft2, first one out of London, first one outside the UK – it’s like children – we can’t pick a favourite one!
What are the challenges facing the industry?
AO: The number one challenge across the property industry is – recruiting and retaining the right quality staff. It’s a competitive market out there and everyone wants to be able to offer their clients the best. We have invested in trainees and graduates in the hope that they will learn from those more experienced and also bring fresh opinions on how things are done.
SD: The very nature of the technology sector is that it is always changing, always innovating.
It’s a priority for all our consultants to stay on top of the latest innovations. We attend global technology conferences and meet with manufacturers regularly to ensure we have all the latest information to advise our clients in the best possible way.
RL: We understand that technology is not just stand alone products but a solution that has a profound effect on increasing the effectiveness of spaces. Understanding how people use space and the constantly changing needs of our clients’ employees, is challenging – but one that gets us out of bed in the morning!
What does the future hold for MiX?
RL: There is so much opportunity out there. As directors we have sat down and looked at options that will ensure a sustainable business. Our team are full of good ideas and we are always open to investigating how viable they are.
RO: The sky’s the limit. There is so much uncertainty in the current climate but we firmly believe that by working collaboratively with our staff and our clients, there is an exciting future ahead for all of us.
AO: From those first days, back in our office in Southwark, we couldn’t have imagined how successful MiX would become. A big thank you to our team and also to the clients and consultants that have taken a chance on us – long may it continue!