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.

Does your SME need an internal IT support team?

Should you recruit an internal IT support team or outsource to a Managed Service Provider? Find out in this article >
View case study >

Do you need a dedicated IT service desk?

Do you need a dedicated IT service desk or could outsourcing to a shared service provider give you the IT support you need?
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 >

The importance of customer-led IT service desk teams

What are the advantages of a customer-led IT service desk, and how do you know you're getting one from your Managed Service Provider? Answers here.
View case study >

Does your SME need an internal IT support team?

Over the last few years most organisations have gone through some sort of digital transformation, even if you’ve not done so with a conscious effort. Every new software solution, everything you’ve moved to the cloud, is part of the transformation many companies are undertaking to improve efficiency and operational functions, and to save money.

Employing an internal IT support team to manage this in-house might seem a smart move. However, for many companies, the risks and downsides outweigh the benefits. Most SMEs don’t need a large IT team, so they hire one, maybe two support staff. Makes sense, until you consider prevailing factors that reduce the effectiveness of this use of resources.

Before asking, “should we hire someone?”, ask what IT support services you actually need.

  • Does your business operate hardware (servers, computers, etc.)?
  • Do you have telephony systems, including landlines and smartphones?
  • What about email, software and data storage?
  • Future proofing – what other IT services to you need or want in the short or medium term?

There is a lot of competition for technical talent, from large corporations, startups, IT firms and other SMEs, which means unless you can pay competitively for an IT role, it’s difficult to find IT service desk analysts with a diverse skillset and experience to provide the support most SMEs require.

For that reason many organisations choose to outsource 1st and 2nd line IT support to an external provider using a shared services model.

To help you decide whether outsourcing your IT support is the best solution for your organisation, download our whitepaper exploring key factors and best practice >

Benefits of outsourcing your IT support team

When you outsource:

  • It is generally cheaper than recruiting an internal team.
  • You get access to a wider, more experienced talent base, with external IT staff bringing experiences and skills from outside your sector.
  • Only pay for what you need. Don’t pay for staff to twiddle their thumbs. Much easier to control costs this way, without the higher fixed overheads from more salaries.
  • Vendor management is considerably easier. IT partners work to find the most suitable IT vendors and solutions, and then they manage these relationships – including when systems go down, to ensure you are up and running again quickly.
  • Rapid support, including out-of-hours assistance when something goes wrong.

Running an SME can be a juggling act, especially when you are responsible for staff. Don’t give yourself extra stress by recruiting internally for roles that can be better fullled by outsourcing IT support services.

If you would like to have a chat about your IT requirement and whether it is time to consider outsourcing, please get in touch.

Do you need a dedicated IT service desk?

When an organisation moves from in-house to outsourced services, such as an IT service desk, there is often uncertainty about the level of support required. Both parties – the customer and provider – are trying to balance value for money against the services they want and need.

What a company wants and needs are often two different issues. Needs are basic requirements, such as a minimum fixed number of hours every month of IT support or volume of tickets. Wants are extra services that could give a company a technical or productivity advantage.

Outsourcing IT service desk functions is one of the most effective ways for an IT team to focus on long-term, strategic projects, instead of fire fighting issues. Organisations that outsource rarely go back to in-house IT service desk teams, since the outsourcing model can generate cost savings and a better user experience.

IT teams can also swing into action to deliver projects that can transform business operations, from sales to customer service, with new software, smarter processes and improved connectivity. However, one of the main questions that needs answering before outsourcing is whether a company needs a shared or dedicated IT service desk?

Find out how much outsourcing your IT service desk could cost. Get a ballpark figure here >

We’ve weighed up the pros and cons in this article.

Dedicated IT service desk – key considerations

Time and money

Initially, it is worth exploring how many hours your in-house team spend fixing IT issues – e.g. emails, telephony, storage, hardware, and other common problems. Work out an average for at least two quarters.

Skilled IT partners should be able to reduce that time, simply through strategic improvements to services, to solve commonly recurring problems. But that does take time, so you may need to ensure more hours are spent in the first few months of a working relationship, and then reduce the hours as needed in time.

However, the more hours you need, the more it will cost. Even with the most cost effective IT partners.

IT Specialisms

With some IT partners, you may be assigned a specific help desk analyst – effectively full-time. Someone who will only work on your account and systems. This can be extremely advantageous as it allows that individual to really understand your IT demands and objectives, and provide a proactive and very responsive service.

With the right IT partner, the specialisms issue won’t be a problem. Dedicated support should not always mean you are working with the same person every day; otherwise, you may as well offer them a job.

IT innovation

IT professionals working for outsourcing providers also have an advantage over the in-house IT support team. They get exposure to a wider range of industries, challenges, innovation and solutions, and they can bring this experience and knowledge to your business. Internal teams can exist very much in a silo and it can become difficult to spot opportunities to drive efficiencies, increase performance etc. because of this. Using an IT provider will keep your IT department moving forwards.

IT staff for the long or short term

Another key benefit of using an IT outsourcing provider is that they already have a team of IT professionals ready to meet your requirements. No need to train and on board internal staff. This is particularly useful if you have seasonal volume spikes, or a short term requirement where IT support is more in demand.

Dedicated support means ensuring a client has the right level of IT help across a range of functional areas. Working with IT professionals that have different skills and areas of expertise. This should always be covered in service packages and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

IT partners should also make it easy for your team to put in support requests, no matter what time or time zone staff are in. A dedicated self-service portal should also be available to help them with issues they could fix themselves, with around the clock support as required, depending on the business needs and service level. Businesses with customers or staff across the world often need dedicated support, to ensure services stay operational regardless of the head ofce time zone.

In many respects, shared services are similar to dedicated, except with a smaller allocation of hours. Apart from that, you should have the same level of support, including out of hours and the ability to access a range of IT specialisms.

Start with the work your in-house team does: once you have a clear idea what they deal with through the average week and month, you will be equipped to select the right IT services with an external partner.

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.

The importance of customer-led IT service desk teams

A key differentiator between IT service desk providers is how successfully they embed themselves into your organisation, and build strong working relationships with your employees, IT team and other users.

The value this provides should not be underestimated: reducing incidences and ensuring that any issues are addressed in a way that is optimised to reduce downtime to your individual business systems and operation. 

In this post I thought I would outline the processes we use at Cloud Business to build customer relationships and provide an IT service desk that meets different organisations’ bespoke requirements.

Find out how much outsourcing your IT service desk would cost. Get a quote here >

Customer led IT service desk providers

At the heart of our on boarding and transition process is culture training for our IT service desk analysts. This is so that they understand exactly how our clients’ IT infrastructure, systems and applications impact on their business, and therefore can take a proactive approach to ensuring business continuity.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of different IT service desk providers, I would recommend requesting information about the following key points to get an idea of how customer-led their service desk actually is:

  1. Matching IT service desk teams to the clients’ technology estate

Ask how IT teams are assigned to each client. Is it a one-size-fits all approach or do they ensure that analysts with specific skillsets and expertise handle their client accounts? The latter approach will ensure that both the transition process and on-going support will be streamlined with your IT specification. Also will you be assigned a named Service Delivery Manager – a first point of contact if you need to discuss your service or specific issues? One of the key reasons clients move their service desk to UKN Group is because of a lack of continuity with other providers, especially those with a high turnover of staff.

  1. Business overview

Providers who are customer-led will be hungry for information about your organisation so they can tailor their service to your needs. This will not only include information about the key applications the business uses, but should look at how these are used day-to-day and week-to-week. Look for an IT service desk provider who takes a proactive approach that will help them manage demand and pre-empt issues before they become a problem.

  1. Culture and philosophy

We believe that it’s important that our IT service desk analysts really embed themselves in our clients’ organisation so that we can deliver a service that is aligned with our clients’ core business objectives, ethos and values. This involves client ‘culture training’ that we initiate with the support of the client to ensure ourteam become part of their extended team.

  1. Technical training

No IT service desk provider should be happy to take on your existing systems and applications without some kind of training. While service desk analysts will already have relevant skillsets and experience, they will still need customer-specific training. This normally involves the customer passing on relevant documents and, where appropriate, Teams or conference calls to further their knowledge.

  1. Knowledge bank

IT service desk providers should be continually updating their knowledge and have a knowledge bank that provides support for their teams, tailored to each specific client. They should also be interested in any resources their clients can provide that can help them deliver an excellent service. You may also want to find out whether they provide resources for their clients too, such as user guides and other IT information.

  1. Tailoring the service

It’s all in the detail. To integrate your service desk with other areas of your business and deliver great customer service, the provider should be interested in offering a tailored service. For example setting up a dedicated phone line, dedicated voicemail messages, tailored greetings for when analysts answer the telephone, or even dedicated email signatures and email addresses.

  1. Service review meetings

Finally, look for a provider who wants to build their relationship with you and provides the channels for regular communication. This starts with knowing who the IT team is that supports your organisation and may involve site visits to meet with key stakeholders. Ask potential providers about the transition period and what to expect in terms of updates and regular meetings to ensure that this is kept on track. Also find out what happens once the service is live; how often are service review meetings and will the provider be proactive in advising your business on issues such as improving IT performance, security and other IT factors?

I believe that it’s important to find an IT service desk provider who wants to form a long-term relationship / partnership with your organisation. One that will provide a flexible and scalable solution that can be tailored to your individual requirements and goes out of their way to understand your business. So when comparing different providers bear in mind the points above to help you decide whether they are a customer-led provider or not.

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