Established in 2001, Summit Solutions is all about helping you work with your data – be it a customised solution, practical training, or a unique combination of the two.
Data has been our game from the get-go. Our passion for training, however, was only realised at the request of one of our long-standing clients.
Follow our journey into the Education Space and see how we do training.
An unexpected start
As Data and Reporting specialists, we would often send our clients their reports in Excel. Out of the blue, one of our clients asked us if we could do some Excel Training with them. “Sure we can” was our response, and we hastily put some training material together. Well, they were blown away! They could not get over what they had been missing out on all this time.
Little had we known, that over the years, we had gained a wealth of Excel skills and experience that so many people desperately needed for their everyday. We consolidated what we learned from that first ever course and started to offer it to our other Clients.
People really seemed to resonate with our style of training. So, we repackaged our training content into 3 standardized courses and took a bold step into the Public Domain.
Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses were run at regular intervals. First locally, and then further afield in major centres across the country …
Matching People to Courses
Our initial attempt to get people on the right course was to give them a checklist to mark off what they currently know as well as what they wanted to learn. The response of one particular client was priceless.
“I don’t trust my staff to correctly inform me what they do and do not know. I need some form of Assessment”
Always looking for opportunities to enhance our product offering we put together our first FREE Online Excel Assessment. This went down a treat for the above client and over the years has proven to be an accurate assessment of ones Excel ability. As a result, it has become an integral part of our training process.
Another Client Request
“My staff spend nearly all their time cleaning and collating data into reports instead of analysing the very same data. Can you help us?” – Patrick, Kerry Group
- Assess the Excel skill level of each staff member
- Bring everyone up to the Advanced Level
- Introduce them to Power Query and Basic VBA
- Break into teams and assess requirements
- Help them build solutions to automate their processes
“The team are totally pumped at what they learnt and are already putting it into practice which is saving them hours if not days of time.“ – Patrick, Kerry Group.
The complete package
The above example was the first implementation of our complete package, and the very first running of our Excel Automation Course.
It’s an extensive exercise but the results are phenomenal, and people feel empowered. Patrick’s comment of saving days every month is no exaggeration. Convert this into man hours and the saving is huge.
Not everyone has the resources to implement and run the “complete package”. Sometimes, all you need is assistance to create a workable Excel Solution. We have helped many people achieve that end through our hourly based consulting offering.
Click here to read the testimonial of one such Client.
On the up and up
With 5 years of tried and tested training experience and a whole host of very happy Clients to support our claims, we were getting busy fast. Then, just as we were looking to expand in early 2020…
…Covid hit, and our face-to-face training schedule came to an abrupt halt. If there was ever an incentive to fast-track our online training platform, this was it! It was a bit of a mad scramble, but 3 weeks into our first Level 5 Lockdown we were able to offer our Beginner and Intermediate courses online – for FREE. We were blown away with the response and feedback…
“This is such a good interactive course. Thank you so much for the LOCKDOWN SPECIAL” – Pamela Lubbe
“Awesome! Thought it good to fiddle around on a free online Excel course during lockdown, merely to do something. What a great course, I worked through the course step by step. Completely grabbed my attention. Well worth it!” – Willem van der Merwe
“Excellent course and very well presented. Easy to follow.” – Gordon Harper
“Thank you for an extremely well put together course. To be honest, our employer instructed us to do this during the lockdown; I was reluctant as I never really understood how Excel worked. The pace and explanation was excellent, I also liked the fact that I could go back if I didn’t really understand something.” – Carryne Selby
Over a thousand people completed our Beginner and Intermediate Courses during Lockdown and many went on to sign up for the Advanced course.
A winning Formula
Our online video content was initially created to supplement our live training courses. We quickly realized however, that our videos had cracked a winning formula. Whether young or old, novice or experienced, everyone was enjoying our online courses.
A change in direction
Due to the ongoing challenges of Covid, our public training never really took off again. Unfortunately, we were forced to consolidate and downscale our operation.
As the saying goes though, with every hardship comes new opportunities. Covid had ensured that everyone became familiar with Zoom. As a result, our Online Instructor-Led Training was born. Tech had enabled us to re-create live face-to-face training without the need to travel.
Enhanced Interactive Workbooks
A common request in our course evaluation feedback was to have more exercises and / or assessments.
In response to this we created self-marking quick questions to be completed after each section. This gives you the ability to put into practice what you just learned and quickly assesses if you’re ready to move on.
This has proved invaluable across all our training methods as it gives an instant indication if key concepts and skills have been grasped or not. 3 smiley faces tell you that you’re ready to move on and tackle the next section 🙂
A consolidated product offering
Despite having to move away from Public Training, our 3 current methods of delivery still gives everyone access to our courses.
- Self-paced Online
- Instructor-led onsite
- Instructor-led online via MS Teams / Zoom
The only limitation is that Instructor-led training is for a minimum of 6. The course content is identical for each method of delivery, so you can literally pick and choose how you want to embark on your Excel Training journey.
Not for long! We are currently piloting an MS Windows and Office Foundation Course with one of our long-standing Clients. Currently available as Live instructor-led training, the Online Version of the Course is due to launch soon. Watch this space!
Meet the team
Mark Tyrer – Principal Trainer and Course Content Developer.
Mark started out as a Maths and Computer Teacher way back when, and then joined Summit as a part time Computer Programmer in 2003. At that stage he was still involved in the Education Sector as the Regional Examiner for the ICDL Qualification (International Computer Drivers Licence).
This morphed into a fulltime Data Analysis and Systems Developer position where VB, VBA and SQL were the primary skills required. There was, however, another tool which was extensively used to manipulate, investigate, and report on the data we were working with. None other than Microsoft Excel!
When the request for Excel Training came from one of our clients in 2015, Mark’s background in teaching and many years of experience in Excel made him the obvious choice to pioneer this new component of our business.
John Kiln – MD and Founder.
John started out as a Computer Science Teacher. He then joined his rapidly growing family business where he was IT Director for many years. In 2001 he founded and started Custom IT, which was all things computers, from Sales and Support to Networks and Software Development.
In 2008 he made a strategic decision to move away for Sales and Support and focus on software application under the banner of Summit Solutions. This was a key move to building a niche business in the Data and Reporting Space.
John still heads up this side of the business and is actively involved in managing and developing Data and Reporting solutions.
Mike Kiln – Part time Trainer.
Mike joined his brother’s company in 2009. As a finance expert he spearheaded a number of projects within his field of expertise. Although he has never held an official teaching post, Mike has always been passionate about education, and often assisted students with basic maths literacy skills in his own private capacity.
With this passion, coupled with his many years of Business Savvy, Mike was responsible for driving the Training side of the Business to new heights. He also became an integral part of the Training Team on the ground, and for a good few years pre-covid, was training all things Excel to meet the demand for public and corporate Training.
Mike left the full employ of Summit at the end of 2020 to pursue some of his other business interests, but has made himself available as a Part time trainer if and when the need arises.
Debs Ducasse – Data Analyst and MS SQL Developer.
Debs is our SQL guru. She joined Summit in 2012, having been a Maths University Lecturer for many years. With her mathematical skills and logical approach to problem solving, she quickly became our key resource for backend Database development in the Data and Reporting side of the business.
Although not directly involved in Training, she has some pretty neat Excel skills up her sleeve and has inadvertently added a few key tips and tricks to our Excel Training Courses.
Delene Naidoo – Systems Developer.
Delene is our Jill of all Trades. From SQL and C++ development to Forms Creation and Office Admin, Delene has been involved in nearly all aspects of our business.
As our primary Forms Developer, Delene was instrumental in getting our Pre-Training Assessments up and running and for a period was also our front of house, fielding calls, handling queries and scheduling Training.
She is currently part of the Data and Reporting Team, but also has some key Excel and VBA skills which can be called upon anytime should a consulting solution require it.
Bradley Schmidt – Marketing strategist.
Brad has been co-opted onto the team to help take the Online side of the Business to new heights. As an SEO specialist and all things Google guru, he has helped redefine our position and presence in the online space.
Many of the new features and innovations that you see on this new site have been engineered and implemented by Brad.