Systems & Smiles

From Takeoff to Touchdown: How IT Services Fuel a Startup’s Flight to Culture Success


Seamless technology services are a startup’s secret weapon in building a happy culture. In Part 1 of our 3-part series on a startup’s critical IT lifecycles, we reveal how IT can create People “wins” throughout the employee journey. From a startup’s employee onboarding to device management to IT support, smooth and efficient IT experiences make powerful, positive statements about your culture.

Whether it’s planning for the evolution of your people, your business, or your devices and software, lifecycles are at the heart of what we do at S&S.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Outlandish as it may sound, the first time I heard this was in an Aerosmith song (never liked the band though), but the saying is actually attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Some ideas sound so relatable and true that they become part of culture in a way that makes it hard to know when and where they originated. It’s like they were always there. Here.

Growth startups and small businesses understand this mantra better than anyone. There’s hardly a waking hour when founders don’t think about their business and how to survive the grind, hit the next milestone, and land that big deal.

Of course, life is a journey and this universal truth applies to most things- that’s what makes it a universal truth. Everything has a beginning and an end. The in-between is where you exist and hopefully grow.

The different changes that occur from start to end are what we call a lifecycle. Whether it’s planning for the evolution of your people, your business, or your devices and software, lifecycles are at the heart of what we do at S&S.

Startups certainly have lifecycles and employees have their own journeys within them. This is where we come in. From the moment someone joins a company, as they learn new skills and transition to more senior roles, up until the time they are ready to leave, your IT provider plays an essential role in their employee experience.

At S&S we’re well aware of this responsibility and we’ve taken it on board. We see ourselves like a dream airline company that aims to make your employee journey as smooth and comfy as possible.

Welcome aboard S&S Airlines

As a new hire travels along their employee journey to their eventual exit from your organisation, their experience will be shaped by the company culture, technology environment, and workplace environment.

Our main focus is always on employee experience. Whether you’re a tech startup in Dublin or a creative agency in Manchester, three basic environments make up every employee experience. As a new hire travels along their employee journey to their eventual exit from your organisation, their experience will be shaped by the company culture, technology environment, and workplace environment.

We help organisations be great places to work for by leveraging our understanding of how technology can assist the needs of your team. But whereas most IT companies are reactive – they give clients what they’ve asked for-, our goal is to provide anticipatory services at all times, meaning to provide them with the services they need, before anyone even asks for them. Imagine getting a pillow and a blanket on the aeroplane before you realised you were exhausted.

Our core service process at S&S is called Joiners, Movers and Leavers (JML). Here’s a glimpse of how it works in practice for an employee: 

Joiner (onboarding)

Upon joining the company in October 2022 as a DevOps Engineer Pamela is onboarded to the team. Her equipment, access and apps are pre-determined based on her role and setup ready for day one.

Mover (transition)

In September 2023, Pamela transitioned to a Cloud Engineer role. She no longer requires access to certain infrastructure or tools but needs access to cloud resources. Her access permissions are updated automatically to reflect her new role responsibilities and her laptop is upgraded to a more powerful model. The old computer is erased and stored for later reassignment to another employee.

Leaver (offboarding)

Come January 2025, Pamela decides to leave the company to start her own business. Her departure date is set, and her access is scheduled for revocation at the end of her last day.

All of Pamela’s access privileges are automatically removed, ensuring security and compliance upon her departure. Equipment is erased and gifted to Pamela.

Seems pretty easy, no? Let’s put our captain hats on to have a closer look at each of these scenarios and their challenges. Buckle up.

Takeoff (Joiners)

We want Joiners to be ready for takeoff from day one. No bumps on the runway, but a smooth launch to their journey with your company. It’s a culture builder. The easiest way to do this? Planning. As the hiring company, creating a protocol for each and every possible employee scenario will make the whole process a lot smoother. 

Based on role, what equipment, access and apps will the Joiner need? Do they need training? These are some questions that need to be answered and shared with your IT provider long before the Joiner walks through the door. Not the day before.  

When you’re on your way to the airport, you’re locating all your liquids in your head, thinking about what needs to go in the plastic bag. But it’s not just about getting everything through security, before that, you need to ask yourself what you will need on the plane and during your actual holiday.

A systematic check-in experience not only covers all the logistics of the kit an employee needs but also considers their stay in the company in the long run. Having tools like an IT org chart (an inventory of apps and tools used across the company and who owns what) is highly recommended. Think of it as watching the flight assistant showcase the safety instructions. 

And please remember: the check-in experience will set the tone for the rest of the employee’s journey with your company. Several studies say it even helps with employee retention and recruitment.

You know what time it is. Please switch off all your electronic devices (boooo!) and fasten your seat belt, We’re ready for takeoff. Off we go!

In-Flight (Movers)

Today is your lucky day! Congratulations, you’ve been upgraded to 1st class. Instead of having to pay for a dodgy sandwich, you get champagne and French cuisine. 

In a company scenario though, being promoted is not all about the extra nice things you get. It comes with more responsibility, higher access, and often different computers. Hell, it can even mean a new location! 

A Mover is essentially a change of employee state within the business, so includes promotions, but also other scenarios like extended leave (Maternity for example).  Whatever the change might be, our job is to manage this transition. 

Because the person is transitioning inside the same company a lot of the time people fail to understand that a change of role can be as operationally demanding as a Joiner or a Leaver. They miss the fact that it’s not the same to have Bob in Operations than have him in HR.

Touchdown (Leavers)

Getting the kit back is half the battle for Leavers, especially if they’re remote, but more on that coming up in part 2 of this series.

There are two ways to leave a company: the smooth way and the rough way. 

In the first case, people’s access is removed and they bring back the computer to the company that may decide to erase it and gift it as part of a fond farewell. Boom, done! 

In the less smooth option, for whatever reason, things haven’t worked out and the employee gets blocked with no notice. Things get wild.

Our job here is to take care of the company’s security and compliance. Nobody can leave the company with proprietary access, sensitive information, or hardware that the company owns.

Mapping out your journey

Delegation is something most people struggle with, but passing on tasks to others such as employees or contractors, frees up time for more critical work.

Everyone is talking about AI and its potential to automate processes, but if you don’t have well-mapped out manual processes from the start, you jeopardise using AI to just create more havoc faster. 

The “Eliminate, Delegate, Automate” method is a core way we at S&S approach process and IT design so it cuts across all lifecycle work (people, devices, and software).

It starts with honesty: what is really essential? Once you know that, you can remove all unnecessary tasks that don’t contribute to your primary goals. That’s Elimination, in case you were snoozing. 

Delegation is something most people struggle with, but passing on tasks to others such as employees or contractors, frees up time for more critical work. 

Using technology to automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks (Automation) is all the rage at the moment. It comes with its own challenges but getting it right is a massive time-saver and ensures consistency and high-quality employee experience, effectively putting things on autopilot. 

Managing your staff’s lifecycle can be daunting, particularly now that so many companies are hiring all over the world and allowing their people to work remotely. 

S&S can help with strategy and mapping out processes using where you are as a starting point to define where you want to go.

Book a free 30-minute to 1-hour call with Systems & Smiles and let’s talk about how we can support your people’s journey with your company.

Key takeaways

Seamless technology services present an often untapped opportunity for a startup to build its culture. From employee onboarding to a shifting internal role to exiting the company, how you manage your team’s IT moves creates a make-or-break impression on your team’s flight to success:

  • Takeoff (Joiners): Your startup’s technology services for new employee onboarding will set the tone for a smooth or bumpy ride in the company, from hardware to software to internal security and compliance protocols.
  • In-flight (Movers): A promotion, maternity leave, shift from onsite to remote working, and many other scenarios describe an employee’s changing role in the company that impacts IT. Plan for and manage the IT transition to ensure that your operations don’t miss a beat!
  • Touchdown (Leavers): Don’t let an employee walk off the job with access to key accounts and sensitive information. Off-boarding IT protocols are essential.

Mapping out your startup team’s IT lifecycle is essential to avoiding in-flight disasters, particularly when your team is distributed all over the country or the world. S&S can help map out a strategy for outsourcing IT support to ensure a smooth, culture-defining flight experience from takeoff to landing!

S&S Systems:

Our solutions, rolled out in two phases, were game changers for a distributed workforce!. First, we consolidated disconnected platforms into Microsoft 365’s suite of apps. In Phase 2, new processes were designed for a 100% remote workforce in two countries. We automated and systematised all IT, from device purchasing to onboarding and offboarding.

S&S Smiles:

No more hassles keeping track of dispersed hardware.

Security risks of hardware floating around eliminated.

Expanded remote service to include localized repair options.

Cost and time savings.

S&S Systems:

Since innovation is foundational to our client’s business, they totally entrusted us to reimagine their IT from start to finish. We consolidated and streamlined systems, achieved cyber essentials certifications in 3 months, and implemented our zero-touch deployment of Macs and PCs, including architecture industry-specific software needs.

S&S Smiles:

No more friction and frustration, not to mention cost and time savings! IT went from being a nightmare to a dream – and now we’re working on an IT roadmap strategy to evaluate future hardware and software needs as well as optimize their IT infrastructure as they grow.

S&S Systems:

We automated and streamlined all things IT, from device purchasing and management to onboarding and offboarding to core app implementation (e.g., Google workspace, Slack, Vanta) and tackled SOC2 compliance from A to Z.

S&S Smiles:

Zero-touch Mac deployment is now a team crowd pleaser, not to mention the fancy IT and media kit we installed in their posh new offices that work seamlessly, especially during new business pitches! What’s more, no big brand prospect is off the table for our client now that their compliance issues are in-hand.