Member Q&A with Paul Ballinger, Managing Director, STL Communications Ltd

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Why being a member is important?

Understanding people and really listening to what they need is the key to ensuring that the conversations you have with others are authentic, relevant and mean something. More importantly it takes it from being a one way, transactional relationship, to one that is collaborative and hopefully long standing. Building key partnerships and networks are vital in achieving this, it’s what stimulates that in-depth knowledge and empathy and provides a sense of community. 


What do you, and your company, bring to MK Business Leaders?

Milton Keynes has been identified as one of the top growth cities in the UK, with significant potential for the future.  At STL we provide IT & Communications, which in its very nature is forward-thinking, innovative and plays an important role in delivering and driving potential. However, we understand that this is only achievable by unifying disparate forms of appropriate technology together into effective, resilient and sustainable solutions, which isn’t always as simple as it sounds.  That is where STL hope to help Milton Keynes Business Leaders.  


What challenges face the Milton Keynes business community in both the short (taking the current situation into account) and the long term?

Milton Keynes is being transformed into one of the best digitally connected areas, with investment in a new full fibre network that will provide lightning-fast, digital connections to everyone and everything. This will bring massive benefits to the business community, helping to grow a more resilient and dynamic local economy. The challenge is to take this technology and make it part of your planning today and tomorrow! If one thing is for certain it is that businesses will need to be able to continually adapt and change, and IT and communications will be the driving force that enables this. 


How has your business adapted to the new ways of working?

Like every business we’ve had to adapt in many areas over the last year, changing how the work we do gets done.  This has resulted in us really optimising the technology that we already had in place – be that collaboration tools so that we can still work as a team regardless of location and share documents, through to looking at our processes and making them more efficient.  What we found is that we were not only able to adapt and continue running our business with minimum disruption, but actually be more effective with our resources.   


Your tip for success in business/life?

We’re in the fortunate position to have a customer base ranging across sectors, all with their individual challenges and goals.  What this has taught me is the importance of honest and transparent communication.  Not only does it build the trust required to create longevity in relationships and gain an in-depth understanding and DNA of a business, but it becomes a behaviour that breeds a certain type of culture, one that has empathy and is genuine – which can be a rarity.  Oh – and always pay your bills!