CIO Bulletin identifies Vista Technology Support as one of the “50 Best Companies to Watch 2023”
CIO Bulletin had the opportunity to talk to James Pepper, CEO of Vista Technology Support, about the extensive services they offer and featured this online on their website and in a 3 page spread in their special edition magazine.
Vista Technology Support: The UK’s leading Retail, Hospitality and Pharmacy IT services provider
Retail, Hospitality and Pharmacy technology has evolved significantly over recent years. Businesses that trade on the high street, the town, shopping centers and retail parks all rely on a significant range of technology to provide goods and services to their customers.
Most consumers visiting stores and restaurants will be familiar with the technology at the front of the house or at the checkout, such as the electronic point of sale (EPoS) or the chip and pin device, but there is a lot more technology that is hidden behind the scenes that enables a retailer or restaurateur to control stock, display offers and pricing, and process orders and transactions seamlessly and securely.
The technology deployed within these trading environments includes routers, firewalls, network switches, servers, PCs, tablets, Wi-Fi access points, digital signage, self-service kiosks and checkouts, IoT devices, and hand-held or wearable devices; the list is endless.
Businesses invest heavily in technology that will help them engage and transact with their customers and rely on this technology to make business operations efficient and perform seamlessly with their online offerings. When this technology develops a fault, the impact can be damaging to profits and the brand. These businesses, therefore, rely on the services of a specialist retail and hospitality IT support partner who is always available to resolve their technology challenges either remotely via a service desk or on site with a field service engineer. This is where Vista Technology Support excels.
CIO Bulletin had the opportunity to talk to James Pepper, CEO of Vista Technology Support, about the extensive services they offer.
Q. How was Vista Technology Support founded?
Vista Technology Support was established in 1995 with a mission to provide high-quality EPoS and retail IT hardware maintenance services to large retail businesses in the UK.
Vista’s very first customer was, in fact, a physical retailer that was growing and opening new stores throughout the UK and Europe; that customer was Primark. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, the business went from strength to strength, securing EPoS maintenance contracts with some of the largest and best-known retail and hospitality businesses in the UK.
Q. How has Vista Technology Support grown since its inception in 1995?
Throughout its 28-year history, Vista’s services have evolved as the business has established itself as the market leader in EPoS maintenance, Retail, Hospitality, and Pharmacy IT support throughout the UK and Ireland. The company specializes in providing data cabling, Wi-Fi, and in-store technology deployment. Once the technology is deployed in stores, restaurants, and pharmacies, we provide both remote and on-site IT support.
Today, Vista is the largest independent provider of technology deployment and support across the UK and Ireland, and we are trusted by 120 retail, hospitality, and pharmacy businesses to deliver their technology transformation projects and ongoing IT support services.
Recently, Vista had its most successful sales period and has been awarded 90% of its target IT contracts that went to market via RFP and concluded in the last 12 months.
We have retained over 95% of existing customer contracts, with the vast majority of our customers renewing their contracts for a second or third term despite undergoing competitive tender processes.
Q. What are the various IT services offered by Vista Technology Support?
Specializing in changing, high-pressure, and dynamic business environments, we provide leading technology supply, storage, staging, data cabling, and installation into business locations throughout the UK and internationally. Once the technology is deployed, we provide our customers with award-winning 1st and 2nd line service desks, remote monitoring, and management who resolve technical incidents remotely. Incidents that cannot be resolved remotely are resolved by one of our highly experienced field service engineers who attend customer sites with a Vista-supplied replacement part within industry-leading fix times. The defective parts are not disposed of as they are repaired, refurbished, repurposed, or recycled at our in-house Repair Centre.
Today, our team of over 300 skilled and experienced professionals provides diverse technology support solutions to over 120 leading brands in 31 countries. Whenever and wherever required, we work alongside our customers to explore their business strategy, identify and improve business performance through the use of technology, and help bring their IT visions to life.
Q. How has the company adapted to innovations and changes in the retail POS and IT industries over its lifespan?
When Vista was founded in 1995, point-of-sale systems were evolving from cash registers to EPoS. The PoS has continued to evolve as consumer shopping habits have changed and retailers and restaurateurs look to capitalize on emerging technology to either enhance the customer relationship or make the method of transacting with the customer simple, convenient, secure, and efficient. Over the last 25 years, the breadth of technology that Vista supports within physical trading environments has changed significantly. In our early days, we provided support for the PoS systems and some back-office PCs. Today, we support all technology within the four walls of a store, restaurant, cinema, pharmacy, or hotel, including servers, routers, switches, Wi-Fi, PoS, self-checkout and kiosks, chip and pin, digital signage, mobile devices, and much more.
Q. How has the culture at Vista Technology Support contributed to the success of the company?
Vista has a strong people culture and our people genuinely care about our customers and helping them achieve their business technology objectives.
Strong People Culture: Treating customers, colleagues, and suppliers with respect has ensured that we have built excellent relationships within the industry and retained experienced colleagues during a time where competitors have struggled, which has resulted in Vista’s continued success in the industry.
Continuous improvement culture (CSI): Our ability to monitor, anticipate, and respond to technological advancements within our industry. Vista strongly advocates growth through diversification, and we are constantly adapting to new technologies and new services as well as keeping abreast of complementary market sectors.
Investment in our workforce: Vista has also made a significant investment in its workforce, increasing our headcount by more than 40% within the past 12 months. We also pride ourselves on promoting from within.
Diversification: Vista is also proud of the fact that we are very proactive when it comes to promoting gender diversity within our company. We have a clearly defined Equal Opportunities Policy in place. 50% of our executive board members are female, and we strive to encourage more women to take up roles in all areas of the business, including field service engineering, repair, and middle-to senior-level management roles.
Q. Would you like us to highlight something important happening in your company?
Vista colleagues are recognised by our customers as their partner of choice. We demonstrate our values in our behaviors, and we all strive to work as one team and in partnership with our customers and suppliers. This approach has significant benefits for our customers, as they are at the forefront of everything we do and are involved in or kept informed at every step of their important projects. We are often referred to by our customers as an extension of their own internal teams.
Q. What are Vista Technology Support’s plans for the future?
We are busy onboarding several new customers. For these customers, we will be installing new technology such as self-service kiosks into their estate of existing restaurants also, installing all technology into new restaurants, including power and data cabling, a drive-through, kitchen systems, EPoS systems, and self-service kiosks. In retail, we have a new customer with a specific Mobile Device Management (MDM) service.
We are seeing increasing demand for our network cabling services as more and more businesses prepare their store and restaurant premises for digital transformation projects.
A brief biography of the CEO
James Pepper is the CEO and a retail technology professional with over 25 years’ experience at Vista, having held senior positions in operations, logistics, customer services, and sales. James has gained a wealth of experience in the provision of technology services and has an acute understanding of technology and how it can be leveraged to meet business strategies. James is an accomplished technology writer for a selection of online publications, a non-executive Trustee and Committee Chair for Tŷ Hafan, a children’s hospice, a charity fundraiser, and an ice hockey player.