Success stories

Our customers come in all shapes and sizes.

We work with organisations from all walks of life, with different ambitions and requirements. Explore how we’ve helped them reimagine everyday, and align technology with their culture and business goals.

cloud support

Do you need cloud support?

Will your IT infrastructure look after itself in the cloud or do you need managed cloud support services? Find out here where we explore what's available.
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What to look for in a new IT service provider

Are you looking for a new IT service provider? If so, read this blog post which shared 5 important things to look for when shortlisting potential partners >
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It support tiers

What tier of IT support does your business need: 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th line?

What tier of IT support does your business need? Here we explore the difference between 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th line IT support and what services these include.
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IT outsourcing FAQ

If you have a question our IT outsourcing FAQ will help. From "what can I outsource?" to "how can I measure performance?", get the answers here.
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cloud support

Do you need cloud support?

Many organisations migrate to cloud solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint to reduce the cost of running on premise IT systems and servers.

Cloud services slash the total cost of ownership, in some cases by as much as 50%, and the productivity and collaboration benefits of a digital workplace also have a positive impact on the bottom line. 

You may have read articles about how one of the ways cloud services reduce IT costs is by negating the need for IT support. While it’s true that the costly maintenance of on premise IT infrastructure, upgrades, monitoring and patching is effectively wiped out; to protect and maximise your investment in cloud technology, cloud IT support should still be considered. 

Is cloud support from technology companies enough? 

Cloud technology companies like Microsoft are responsible for upgrading and maintaining the core technology. Most also offer free basic user support as part of your subscription in the form of knowledge banks, community forums and self-serve options: for example, the Office 365 Online Portal.  

If you have reasonable levels of IT literacy within your organisation, 1st line support tickets such as a forgotten password or username can be dramatically reduced. Staff should be able to access the right information to reset passwords for themselves or find their username. However, this cloud support is limited, and if a ticket needs to be logged the response time can be slow. To maintain high productivity levels within your workplace you’ll probably still need some provision for 1st line support whether in-house or via a service desk provider. 

Technical support is generally not included in subscription plans. 2nd and 3rd line support for issues that require more specialist skills can be purchased for different cloud products from the technology company. However, check that the SLA is aligned with your business needs. Generally, you might expect a response within one hour critical tickets. For high or non-critical tickets you may find that some plans give no response commitment. 

Microsoft define event severity levels as: 

  • Critical – events that prevent you from accessing or using your services or data, severely impact deadlines or profitability, or affect multiple users or services. 
  • High – events that affect the productivity of users but have moderate business impact, can be dealt with during business hours, or affect a single user, customer, or service. 
  • Non-critical – events that have minimal service or productivity impact on the business, such as a single user experiencing partial disruption, but an acceptable workaround exists. 

Whether this is the best option for your organisation will depend on the volume of tickets you might expect, the skills and capacity you have internally to resolve technical incidents, and the impact of event severity levels on your business. 

These plans are very much off-the-shelf support packages and therefore are not always aligned with your business needs and objectives. Also consider whether you may need onsite support on occasion and whether that’s an option. If not, the cost of on demand call outs from a technician should be factored in.

Get cloud support from a certified Microsoft Partner 

If you don’t have capacity or the technical skills internally to provide cloud support, an alternative is to get support from a certified Microsoft Partner (or other cloud technology partner). The advantage is that you will not only get access to product-specific cloud support but will also receive a more personalised approach. SLAs can be determined based on your business needs, and the cloud support provider will invest more time and energy understanding how they can help you maximise your investment in the cloud. 

You can also expect guidance on your overall support strategy to ensure that you’re getting all the productivity, collaboration and financial benefits that were part of your decision to migrate to the cloud in the first place.  

A good cloud support provider becomes an extension of your team, enhancing the IT skills your organisation already has, picking up the slack and freeing up your time to focus on core activities. We believe firmly that outsourcing to a managed support provider should not be a transactional relationship, more value can be obtained if a partnership approach is embraced by all parties. 

It’s still cheaper with the cloud 

Paying for cloud support will not cancel out all the cost savings digital transformation provides. Tech companies carry a significant proportion of costs by maintaining the technology. Basic support will reduce ticket volumes for common issues that can be resolved by end users, and therefore your internal IT team may be able to handle 1st line support without it being a drain on resources.  

Technical support becomes a way of maximising your investment in cloud technology; not only minimising downtime but also enabling your organisation to work smarter and reap the benefits of cloud migration.  

While the cloud is more cost effective compared to on premise solutions, you still need to protect your investment, so make sure you factor in cloud support whether in-house or from an external provider. 

Any questions? Contact our team directly to discuss any of the topics raised in this post. 

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What to look for in a new IT service provider

A significant percentage of new customers come to us having previously outsourced their IT to another service provider. One of the main reasons for making the move is that the organisation requires greater coverage or a service expansion, and the incumbent IT service provider is unable to offer the services required.

Maybe your current IT provider only offers coverage during core business hours and your organisation needs 24/7. Or perhaps you’re expanding overseas and need global coverage with an IT provider who can negate any time zone challenges. Or your current provider only offers 1st line IT support and you need access to a wider range of technical skills and an outsource partner that can handle 2nd and 3rd line tickets as well.

Download our checklist to benchmark different providers. Based on the Service Desk Institute’s 4 * star accreditation, this will help you determine the quality of service you will receive. 5 things to look for when choosing a new IT service provider

#1: Track record

If you’re looking for a long term solution you’ll want to ensure the company you select is likely to stay the course. How long have they been around for? What’s their client retention rate? Do they provide services for similar organisations to yours? Have they grown during the time they’ve been in business? These are all valid questions for gauging how robust the business is, and any IT service provider with a solid track record will be happy to provide the answers.

#2: Customer focus

The service an IT outsourcing provider delivers has a direct impact on your business. For that reason you should partner with a company that’s invested in your success. By making your IT function more efficient, minimising downtime, helping your business innovate and driving cost savings, your organisation should be more productive and successful. Can they demonstrate how they’ve helped customers to be more successful?

#3: Do you want them to be part of your team?

Quality IT service providers become an extension of your team. Their service desk analysts speak to your users, their skills and expertise are at your disposal, the service they deliver reflects on your organisation operationally and reputationally. Are the people within the business, people you want on your team? Do they share your values, work ethic and understand your culture? As well as technical skills and capabilities these factors are important too.

#4: Custom solutions

Some IT service providers sell one-size-fits-all services and products, others will customise their solutions to fit your needs. Some will have a comprehensive range of IT services, effectively they can run your entire IT requirement for you, others specialise in cloud, service desk or cyber security. No solution is right or wrong, you just need to know what is best for your organisation. Not just today, but also in the future. Look for an IT service provider that is keen to understand your requirements and make recommendations based on your actual needs, rather than one who attempts to squeeze your IT requirement into their service model.

#5. Added value

What else can the service provider do for your organisation? Ask this question and see what the companies you shortlist have to say. IT providers deliver services and products to facilitate business operations, but they can also be a strategic partner helping your organisation achieve strategic goals and growth plans.

With so many IT service providers out there, offering such a range of different services and products, it can be a challenge to find the company with the best fit for your organisation. I hope the 5 pointers above will help you narrow down your shortlist.

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It support tiers

What tier of IT support does your business need: 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th line?

Making sense of IT support means clearly understanding what your business needs. Larger, more complex organisations usually have more complex IT needs.

Digital transformation, staff using their own devices and apps, programmes to remove extensive paperwork and manual filing usually make companies more reliant on IT support, but this doesn’t mean you should sign up to complex, lengthy and expensive contracts.

When trying to plan IT support services, whether it means working with an internal IT help desk, external partner, or a mix of both, you may have heard of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Line Support. These are the most common forms of IT support, with the 4th line a reference to external software vendors or senior IT consultants with decades of experience.

You’ll also come across different terminology that means essential the same thing. Tier 1, 2 and 3 are the same as Level 1, 2 and 3; 1st, 2nd and 3rd line support are also the same.

So what tier of IT support do you need? Read on…

Find out how much outsourcing your IT service desk would cost, use our service calculator here >

Some IT companies also refer to 0 Line, which means self-service systems, such as FAQs, Bots and Knowledge Banks that don’t involve anyone with IT skills fixing a problem, since they are designed to ensure customers can resolve issues themselves.

With decades of IT experience, we’ve put together this quick reference guide for companies unsure what tier of IT support your business needs.

Tiers of IT support

Tier 1 Support Desk

Increasingly, we are seeing a shift from Tier 1 to self-serve, since traditionally, problems that Tier 1 handled now include things that customers can fix themselves, such as password resets. Automated software and systems are taking over a lot of the basic, easy issues, which means Tier 1 is about problem-solving and escalating to other tiers of support as needed.

An industry-wide practice, for Tier 1 is to focus on a quick resolution. If a problem takes longer than 10-15 minutes to fix, then an escalation is needed. This is important for maintaining service level agreements (SLAs) with clients and internal customers and to ensure those with the right skills and expertise can resolve complex issues; whilst freeing up front line to look after customers with more immediate, time-sensitive challenges.

Tier 2 Support Desk

Tier 2 calls either come directly through from Tier 1, or they handle escalations when a fix isn’t something that can be implemented quickly. Tier 2 IT service desk analysts often have software or hardware expertise specialisms, with a broad and deep base of IT systems, device and connectivity knowledge.

Tier 2 can provide support to Tier 3 or receive help from Tier 1, as needed, especially when working on complex problems or long-term projects, such as a digital transformation.

Once escalated to Tier 2, a case can take longer to resolve, which means an internal or external service desk should inform customers of a new resolution timescale, within an SLA.

Tier 3 Support Desk

Tier 3 is when it gets more difficult. Often, the knowledge required at this level goes far beyond walking through a resolution process. Specialist knowledge is almost always needed, with IT engineers focusing on different systems and hardware (e.g. Linux, Cisco, etc.), often with little to no crossover with other skills and specialisms.

At this level, they will have a deep repository of IT knowledge, skills and experience, but they will usually rely on Tier 1 or 2 professionals for more general expertise. In most companies, a Tier 3 support engineer will be the go-to person for a particular system, hardware, databases, server network and infrastructure.

Tier 3 professionals often lead, usually working with a technology manager, external vendors and IT companies, digital transformation and other long-term technology projects.

Tier 4 Support Desk

Tier 4, alongside Tier 0, are not commonly used expressions. It can mean escalating an issue or long-term project management to those with more expertise outside of an organisation. Often, this means software or hardware vendors, or IT partners and suppliers.

It can also involve IT consultancy services or project management services. For example, flex days where you book a certain number of days per month to get support with more strategic IT projects.

With the right partner relationships, an external provider can either deliver every tier of IT support services or work to implement technology projects that can transform an organisation and find efficiencies that managers and owners don’t know exist.

Find out more about our service desk support here.

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IT outsourcing FAQ

As a leading, global IT outsourcing provider we get asked many questions daily. We have compiled below some of them that we hope will help you make your IT outsourcing decision:

Why outsource Information Communication Technology (ICT) services?

Unless you are an IT or communications company, it is unlikely that ICT is a core competency for your business!

We strongly believe that you should outsource any non-core competencies, such as IT, Finance, Legal and Marketing. You can benefit from the expertise of others while you focus on your specialism.

What can I outsource?

You can outsource any function that is a non-core competency within your business!

In terms of IT, you can outsource either your entire technology department, or a single service such as service desk, end-user support, server maintenance, email management, application support, IT security, telephony system support, network management, hosting of servers, ICT projects etc. for example.

Does outsourcing IT means I lose control?

No, not at all!

We work with complete transparency, you will have 24×7 online access to your own personalised company portal, where you can monitor the status of any incidents, problems or changes raised across your business, with full reporting and access to a “live” person 24x7x365.

This in addition to regular face to face or conference call service review meetings, where all aspects of our service are discussed. Your outsourcing agreement will also include a Service Level Agreement which outlines the minimum service commitments you can expect from Cloud Business.

Can I outsource my entire IT department?

In short yes!

Your IT staff’s employment status is protected by Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations, generally referred to as ‘TUPE’.

Will outsourcing save our company money?

In almost all cases, yes! If you already have an in-house IT team, then we can demonstrate cost savings over the medium to long term, and also the very short term.

Naturally, you will achieve cost savings through the transition of service delivery to a blend of both remote and desk-side delivery. For example, if you require extended service hours, then an outsourced service will allow you to achieve this at a significantly lower price point than recruiting the staff in house. Whether your IT department are over-loaded or not fully occupied, outsourcing may allow you to economise more effectively.

How quickly can I outsource my IT?

If your company is without IT support, then we can implement our services within a week.

If you are moving from another supplier, we typically transition the service during the month of the incumbent suppliers contract end. All parameters are customer specific and bespoke to your requirements.

Based on your recommendation, what should we ‘not’ outsource?

If you have a bespoke application that is vital to your business, you can consider keeping this service in-house.

If your ICT and communications systems are failing on a regular basis, you may expect an improvement project ahead of smooth service delivery.

How do I measure my IT outsourcing provider’s performance?

We have rigorous set of market leading service reports and measures to help you measure and monitor this service. This coupled with 24×7 access to a full reporting suite, regular face to face service and performance review meetings, regular communication.

You should also only consider service providers that attained industry recognised certifications in the specific discipline you are looking to outsource such as Service Desk. This ensures all aspects of the service is benchmarked against a rigorous set of pre-defined standards and the best in the world. The Service Desk Institute is one such organisation.

What other standard measures should we consider reviewing?

  • The availability of your critical applications, e.g. email, database, business line
  • How available is your network
  • The number of calls answered within service level
  • The ongoing reduction in problem calls being logged
  • Financial trends such as cash flow
  • A measurement of downtime.

Got any more questions? Please get in touch if you need further help.

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