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.

Why you need Microsoft 365 end user support

What are the benefits of outsourcing Microsoft 365 end user support, and is now the right time for your organisation? Find out here.
View case study >
Technology in manufacturing header image - case study

A day in the life of your IT team

IT teams! Does a typical day look like this in your department? Find out how to work more effectively and minimise disruption to your working day here.
View case study >

5 end user support best practices to transform your user experience

These end user support best practices will not only transform your user experience, but also transform your IT team too!
View case study >

Your IT service desk and the end user experience

Does your IT service desk provide an end user experience that makes your user community happy and productive? Learn more about delivering a great user experience here.
View case study >

A day in the life of a service desk analyst

What do IT service desk analysts do? In this post we look at how the IT support landscape has changed in recent years and the role of a service desk analyst.
View case study >

Why you need Microsoft 365 end user support

Microsoft 365 is intuitive to use and, should you need support to troubleshoot an issue, there are plenty of answers on the Internet. 

However, that’s from the viewpoint of someone working in IT. Someone who already knows their way around the apps and services suite, knows a few workarounds to resolve common issues, and also knows where to get help if needed.

Not the average end user. While your end user community is increasingly tech savvy, not everyone is confident about trusting their intuition or searching for tech advice on the world wide web. While you know that to get permission to access something in SharePoint you can just click ‘request access’, your end user community might not know this. 

Learn more about End User Support services here >

Microsoft 365 end user support – where does all the time go?

That’s why most IT teams spend significant amounts of their working days, resolving Microsoft 365 related tickets. Password resets, registering a new phone with MFA, requests for permission to view somebody else’s calendar, and SharePoint permissions, are daily occurrences. 

As well as end user support tickets there are other M365 task that can be a drain on your time. Starters and leavers can be a bit of a headache. Setting up accounts, allocating licenses, providing the right permissions, and then making sure leavers are removed correctly and there’s no chance that a disgruntled employee could still access important data.

M365 licence management is another task that can take your IT team away from more strategic activities. With the recent price rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure your licensing is optimised effectively. Ensuring that you’re on the right plans and using the services to the max, means monitoring usage and making adjustments to ensure you’re getting value for money.

If you haven’t got enough resource internally, what can you do?

Outsource Microsoft 365 end user support!

Did you see that one coming?! Of course, if you’re time poor, don’t have internal capacity, or don’t want your highly skilled IT team spending their time on password resets, outsourcing Microsoft 365 end user support is the solution.

Typically, the right time to do this is when you agree with one or more of the following statements:

  • Projects are getting delayed because of the volume of 1st line tickets 
  • We’re thinking about hiring additional staff to help with IT support
  • Morale is low because the team don’t spend enough time on the things they’re paid for
  • IT support is costing more than it should because the team are paid more than the going rate for a 1st line service desk analyst
  • IT’s reputation is poor because we’re unable to offer end users support in a timely way
  • Organisational productivity is impacted by our current end user support model
  • We’re not getting value for money from our Microsoft 365 subscriptions

Outsourcing Microsoft 365 end user support is generally a more efficient way of managing tickets and requests than managing it in-house. It can deliver cost savings, increase productivity and technology adoption, minimises downtime and frees IT teams up to focus on their core competencies. 

With a Microsoft 365 Managed Service you can also get support with procurement, licence and cost optimisation, 1st, 2nd and 3rd line tickets, and also flex days that give you access to 365 professional services too.

Does your 365 license provider give you the support you need?

If you buy your Microsoft 365 licences direct from Microsoft, it’s down to you to provide your end users with IT support. However, if you procure your Microsoft 365 subscriptions from a Cloud Services Provider (CSP), they should also be providing your organisation with 1st line end user support. As part of a Microsoft reseller agreement, CSPs must provide their customers with support. 

However, not all IT support is equal. If your end users are not getting responses and resolutions that meet SLA targets, or the SLAs are not aligned with your organisation’s needs, you may want to explore an alternative service.

Recent changes to Microsoft’s CSP programme has made switching providers a little more challenging. Prior to the new NCE Per Seat model, you could move your 365 licence plans at any time to a different CSP. Now you are locked into the subscription term – monthly or annual – with the CSP, which makes it even more important to be happy with the end user support they provide.

This is not a problem for organisations with monthly 365 subscriptions as you can move to a different CSP relatively quickly. But if you have annual subscriptions and you’re thinking about switching, make sure you have visibility on when your annual terms end before they auto-renew.

For those organisations that procure 365 plans directly from Microsoft it’s worth exploring the benefits of purchasing via a CSP instead.

As well as Microsoft 365 end user support, CSPs can often offer more competitive pricing, and give you access to licensing experts to ensure you’re on the right plans and getting value from your services. You’ll also get access to cyber security experts too. If you need support exploring best practices and security options such as MFA, conditional access etc., a CSP is there to help.

Are you ready to outsource Microsoft 365 end user support?

Ultimately the reason organisations outsource end user support is to get stuff done. 

A high performing service desk reduces downtime, increases productivity and technology adoption, and helps end users get more value from the Microsoft 365 suite.

Outsourcing also helps your IT team get more stuff done. Freeing them from day-to-day support tickets so they can focus on the work they do best. As a by-product of a great service, it can also elevate IT’s reputation across the organisation and increase morale.

If you’re ready to outsource Microsoft 365 end user support and would like to discuss your options, please get in touch. We’d be happy to explore with you whether the time is right and make recommendations.

To find out more about end user support services click on the graphic below.

Technology in manufacturing header image - case study

A day in the life of your IT team

IT Directors and Managers, does this sound familiar?

08:40 – Arrive at work, fresh brew and boot up computer

08:45 – Start working through inbox

08:50 – Email from team member, “Sorry I’m feeling unwell…”

09:00 – Impromptu team meeting to cover absence

09:03 – Coffee now cold

09:07 – Email from HR, “Apologies for the short notice but we have a new starter joining us today, could you…”

09:08 – Raise ticket and reply to HR

09:10 – Back to inbox, read interesting email from Cloud Business

10:00 – Start work on RFI to kick start new digital transformation project

10:27 – Walk in, “I know I’m supposed to raise a ticket but can you quickly…”

10:45 – Reread draft RFI to try and get back in the zone

11:30 – Teams meeting with the Board to discuss Q1 IT strategy

11:41 – WhatsApp message on internal IT group chat, “We have a P2, I don’t know who to contact…”

11:58 – Resume meeting

12:14 – Email from internal VIP, “No one in Support is answering my calls or emails, can you escalate…”

Lunch? Who in IT has time for lunch?

End User Support is essential for supporting productivity across an organisation and minimising downtime. But without sufficient internal capacity or high service levels from a Managed Service Provider, it can have a detrimental impact on your IT team’s ability to deliver on strategic projects and other core activities.

To transform your user experience and free up your team to focus on what they do best, read this article exploring 5 end user support best practices >

5 end user support best practices to transform your user experience

End user support resolves IT issues, minimises disruption and boosts technology adoption and productivity. But a poor service has the opposite effect, tarnishes your IT team’s reputation, and can have a detrimental impact on morale across an organisation.

With demand for end user support at an all-time high because of remote and hybrid work environments, ensuring your user community gets the best possible experience from technical support is vital.

Find out more about our End User Support services here >

End user support best practices help your productivity too!

Often undervalued, but just as important, is the impact of end user support on the productivity and morale of your IT team. Ensuring you have sufficient capacity and implementing tools and processes to streamline IT support, allows you to focus on areas of IT that deliver strategic value. 

Whether an internal team or an external service desk, the best technical support teams follow these end user support best practices.

1. Self-service portal: the first port of call for end users

A self-service portal that allows end users to log and track tickets, helps you prioritise issues and requests and manage tickets effectively. In turn this provides end users with a better user experience and minimises interruptions for team members focusing on non-support activities.

2. Knowledge base content

A key feature of any self-service portal should be a knowledge base with ‘how to’ style content addressing common issues and requests. This can reduce ticket volumes significantly, empowering end users and helping them get a speedy resolution.

3. Multi-channel support

Providing dedicated communication channels such as a support email address, unique phone number, messaging apps, and live chat functionality helps end users reach the right team straightaway. Other members of your IT team, focusing on non-support activities, can work uninterrupted, hidden from view!

4. Hire the right people and train them well

If you are running an internal IT support team, make sure you’ve got the right level of skills and experience to resolve issues quickly without escalation to the wider IT team. Similarly, if using a managed service provider, they should do more than triage tickets. Expect, and demand, the right skills to resolve all 1st line tickets as well as making sure you (or they) can handle escalations to 2nd and 3rd line in a timely way.

5. Always champion the user experience

Service desk analysts, whether supporting internal users or external customers, should deliver a superior customer experience and communicate effectively and personably with the end user. The ability to listen, defuse tense situations and communicate in a meaningful and helpful way, are essential skills for any technical support team.

With the right soft skills, your end user community will be happy to contact IT support, reducing any attempts to bypass your preferred channels and contact you directly.

Implementing these end user support best practices is beneficial to everyone. Happy users equate to a happy IT team and bottomline benefits for the organisation as a whole.

Your IT service desk and the end user experience

Resolution times are a standard way to measure the performance of your IT service desk, but what about the end user experience? This measurement goes beyond time bound targets for your IT service desk provider, such as response and resolution times, and instead measures the quality of your service desk.

Happiness + productivity = a quality end user experience

Why bother if SLA targets are being met? End user experience is really important. If end users have a good experience, they’ll get more value from the service desk and more value from the technology you provide. This metric is about ‘happiness’ and productivity, it asks ‘did the user get the resolution they wanted, and did this have a positive impact on their productivity?’

Service desk ticket resolution times vs. quality resolutions

Not all ticket resolutions are the same! While users want a speedy resolution they also want the best resolution for the issue they have. Focusing purely on time can, in some cases, result in users not getting a satisfactory resolution and this might affect productivity. When service desk analysts factor in the end user’s happiness, you get much better outcomes.

What makes end users happy?

Below are some of the things that our customers report back when rating our IT service desk:

  • Being listened to: perhaps the most important thing a service desk analyst can do is listen to the end user. Service desk analysts who listen get a much better idea of what the issue is, how it might have come about, what the user may have done to resolve it, how important a resolution is to them, and what impact it’s having on their productivity (and the business overall). The analyst then has all the information needed to prioritise the ticket and offer the right resolution that has the best outcome for the user.
  • Expectation management: most people understand that the service desk team has to prioritise tickets and that some issues take time to fix. However, they do want a realistic idea of when they can expect a resolution. Sometimes service desk analysts need to explain why a resolution will take a certain amount of time, and also why a ticket is a lower priority than others. By managing expectations in this way, users are happier with the service they receive.
  • Good communications: users also want to be kept informed about progress. Updates can be delivered in a number of ways, such as a portal that allows them to track the progress of their ticket. With regular updates the service desk team can provide reassurance that the issue is being addressed in the timeframe agreed.
  • The right resolution: end users are generally happy to wait longer for a ticket resolution if that resolution is better in the long run. This balances ticket resolution times against productivity. A quick resolution would seemingly result in the minimal amount of lost productivity, but if the resolution isn’t aligned with their specific needs they may not be able to return to maximum productivity.

KPIs like ticket resolution times are still a useful way to measure your service desk’s performance, but end user experience should also be part of how you measure its value.

One important point to consider is that when end users are not happy with the service desk, they will often try to avoid using it. This can mean trying to resolve the issue themselves, finding shortcuts (that might not be secure), or simply being less productive as they work around the IT problem.

How do your end users rate your service desk? If they’re not fans it might be time to change the focus of your end user support to an user-centric approach, or find a new provider who already puts end-users first.

Download our free checklist to benchmark your IT service desk and find out how well it performs against industry standards:

Discover IT service desk services advert

A day in the life of a service desk analyst

Whichever side of the IT service desk you sit on, it’s useful to know what IT service desk analysts actually do. Whether you want to get a better idea of the level of support offered, or think it may be an interesting career, here’s what our team do for our customers. 

Below are just some of the many activities an IT service desk analyst does on a day-to-day basis. We’re increasingly seeing demand for support resolving more complicated issues. This is because most organisations have a larger technological requirement with more end users needing varying levels of support.

It is also because a more technologically skilled workforce – who can resolve those minor issues themselves, leaving us to deal with the more complicated ones.

Day-to-day tasks of a Service Desk Analyst

Desktop support: reset terminal server sessions, device configuration, setup corporate email account, Microsoft Office support (can’t insert image into PowerPoint, Excel won’t open, Outlook crashing), Microsoft Operating Systems (Windows session freezing, display adaptor drives need updating etc.),

Third party liaison: device support (configure email etc.), printer support, hardware support, bespoke application, Sage, Internet Service Provider (no broadband, communication line is down etc.),

Network: Internet lines, routers, firewalls, switches, remote satellite office,

Service management: incident management, problem management, change management, configuration management, event management,

Account administration: new user requests, leaver requests, password requests etc.,

Data centre services: Managed rack etc.,

Backups: daily monitoring (monitor backups for failures), troubleshooting, strategy (backup retention periods, time to restore),

Infrastructure management: monitoring, patching, strategy, hardware support, availability, capacity, server support.

These activities are just a snapshot of a typical day in the life of a service desk analyst – on a not so typical day activities could be far from routine.

Another factor that has rapidly changed the issues our service desk team resolve is mobility. Not so long ago service desk providers would have focused mainly on delivering IT support to users in the workplace, and perhaps a small amount of remote working support to directors and senior employees. This trend was building prior to March 2020 as increasingly organisations facilitate remote working for their employees, and more and more people are using mobile devices for work. Of course, more recently it has accelerated dramatically with a global pandemic forcing organisations to reimagine the modern workplace.

This new working landscape presents unique challenges for organisations, not only ensuring that remote working staff can access systems and networks wherever they are, but also security challenges for the business. This is a key area where expert support can be essential for productivity and for the managing risks mobile devices (especially BYOD) and remote working have introduced into the corporate IT estate.

Cloud Business Logo - white
Microsoft Gold Partner Logo - Cloud Business

Cloud Business Limited
8 North Street

Microsoft Gold Partner Logo - Cloud Business

2023 © Cloud Business Limited
Registered Company in England and Wales 06798438