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There are nuances to IT Support and Managed Services that push them from being a good, solid, and reliable service – to a superb service that can transform your network.

We’ve talked about the benefits of outsourced IT support and managed services before. To recap, most support cases can be fixed remotely these days, making outsourced support very effective. Moreover, it can save you time and money; for example, if you were to hire the kinds of experts employed by IT and managed service providers, you’d be paying hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, not to mention all the important HR responsibilities. For lots of our customers that just isn’t possible. Customers also get a wealth of technology expertise that would take them years to build up themselves.

There are many options for outsourced IT support on the market, and it can sometimes be hard to choose who to partner with. Below we have detailed what we think are the key qualities that take outsourced IT support to the next level:

Fixed Pricing

Offering a fixed price service is one of the main ways IT support providers single themselves out from the pack. This sounds like a given – of course customers will want predictability when it comes to billing, but it goes far beyond being an attractive feature for the customer. It’s actually a powerful motivator for us, the provider.

When 10 callouts to your site costs you the same as a single callout to your site, your provider won’t be eager to send engineers out at the drop of the hat; they’ll want to make one callout as efficient as possible. This means taking measures to resolve problems once and for all, so you won’t have our engineers leaving as soon as possible without fully checking the issue is resolved or there’s anything else that needs doing. It’s nothing personal, but we’d rather see less of you if it means your network and machines are working perfectly!

Proactivity

Traditionally, IT support primarily involves a break/fix model – you may not hear from your IT provider until you call the helpdesk.  But this is becoming steadily more out of date as our capabilities to anticipate issues grows. In 2021, your IT provider’s service must have a proactive model of monitoring and support at its core. Here’s what we’d consider key features of support:

24/7 monitoring of your infrastructure – we get alerts that we can respond to, and often problems are fixed before the customer even knows about them, this is taking break/fix to the next level (and that’s just the base level of service you should be getting)

Technical Account Management – you should have a point of contact from your service provider i.e. an individual to build a professional relationship with. It’s not nice thinking that your case is being passed around within the company. Your technical Account Manager will call you every month, every two months, or every three, all depending on the size of your company and the tier of service you’re paying for.

Quarterly Business Reviews – for larger customers, we would provide quarterly business reviews. Every quarter you will have a meeting where an presentation will be given, detailing statistics of the service you have received, a unique Secure Score (how secure your network is), and a list of new technologies that have been singled out based on your needs, along with quotes for them.

Customer Training

Your provider may also do some work onboarding you to new machines or new software – at TechQuarters for example, we do a lot of work migrating customers to the Microsoft Cloud. If your data security is not completely up to shape your provider can also help transform your security. Changes like these to your network or workflow should be accompanied with steps to make sure your company as a whole adopts these new technologies or practices; and your IT provider can (and should) help you with that.

Traditionally this is done with training days, but here at TechQuarters we provide ongoing training in the form of our platform, the 365 Cloud Academy – with up to 2000 videos recorded on Microsoft 365 products, and playlists for different topics to assist customers with learning new software, and help them develop fluency with existing software.

Customer training is an important aspect of our service; if you’re migrating to the Cloud, you’re bound to find new apps and software you’ve never used before, as they are the ones who introduced you to them, it’s up to your provider to teach you how to use it.

Flexibility

A major aspect that separates good IT support from great IT support is the amount of flexibility available to the customer. IT networks can differ by just a few nuances, or they can be vastly different beasts requiring entirely unique approaches. Moreover, you’ve got to consider the user base – where are they based? Are some of them working remotely full time? And are there any IT engineers in the organisation already?

So much variety demands options in the service an IT provider delivers to their customers. As an example, here are our own tiers of support service, tailored to the most common demands we encounter:

Full and Unlimited SupportTo start with, this is our flagship product: Unlimited calls to our helpdesk, unlimited callouts to your site, and 24/7 monitoring of your network; you also get a technical Account Manager, and our training platform, 365 Cloud Academy, included at no extra cost. Our helpdesk normally operates from 8AM – 6PM, but we also offer extended hours from Monday to Friday, as well as a 24-hour access.

Remote IT Support – this is our first variant for customers who don’t need as much onsite help; you get everything you get with our Full and Unlimited Support except for the unlimited callouts. For this, you get the service for a lower price, but callouts are charged separately. This is great if you’ve got personnel working in the Outer Hebrides, as we can still give them remote support!

Reduced Call Rate Support – This service is a percentage of the Full and Unlimited Service; the number of cases per month is calculated by the number of machines x the reduced percentage. For example, a 60 per cent Call Rate service for a customer with 10 machines gives them 6 cases per month. Callouts are included for cases.

Bounce Out Support – a customer might have an internal IT team; we offer a service similar to the reduced call rate support in that the customer gets a limited number of cases a month, and this may be allocated to certain PCs that are dedicated to specialist workloads.

Windows Virtual Desktop Supportlike with our Bounce Out support service, customers way require support allocated to a specific service – in this case, Windows Virtual Desktop, which is Microsoft’s most advanced remote desktop service to date.

Azure Infrastructure Support – often at TechQuarters we find customers want to migrate workloads to Azure – this can be done with a quicker ‘Lift & Shift’ method or a more comprehensive Optimised Migration. Azure involves a lot of high-level maintenance, often requiring specialist support; this is why we offer a support service especially for customer’s Azure Infrastructures. We offer both unlimited and capped versions of this, as well as direct contact to third line engineers.

 

We hope this has given you a good idea of what to look for in an outsourced IT support or Managed Service provider, although you don’t need to look much further than TechQuarters! Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on our services.