QuoStar is one of few UK businesses that is onshoring – while others offshore support facilities.
As a leading IT consulting and service provider we are now delivering 24/7/365 service desk support to provide clients with specialist assistance exactly when they need it. This additional UK based service provision has been bolstered by the raft of new, experienced hires that have been employed since November 2021.
Designed as part of our ongoing response to the impact of Covid-19, QuoStar understands that in today’s working world businesses are operating differently, so we have adapted our business model to suit the needs of our clients.
Today’s flexible and hybrid working means individuals are now working outside of the usual office hours, and they require support at any time to continue to work effectively and securely.
For Quostar, it’s not just about support – it’s the why.
A true UK based 24/7/365 operation means we can respond promptly, ensuring the security needs of clients can be managed around the clock and we can take a proactive approach to management and maintenance – which is far easier to carry out outside of a client’s working/open hours.
Having done away with the tradition method of having ‘First Line Support’ means the QuoStar Support team can be more efficient and clients get a better service. All staff are experienced from the first point of contact rather than just logging a ticket for issues to be dealt with in the morning.
“IT services require more support and management than ever before as businesses try to settle between hybrid and in-person working models. Continuing to provide flexible and cost-effective solutions for our clients therefore remains a key priority for us this year. With our UK-based 24/7/365 service desk, we’re adding another tool for our customers to benefit from the support of our growing team of highly skilled professionals.”
“The last two years, whilst challenging, have brought the opportunity for us to assess our ability to remain agile and efficient as a business whilst making us more resilient to dealing with redefined ways of working. QuoStar aims to provide services that respond to our customer’s changing needs in the long term, and we’re ready to bring disruption to the market to achieve that.”
We look at where the IT Support needs of SME’s are heading and why.
Here at QuoStar we’ve certainly seen an increase in the demand for Managed IT Support Services, particularly over the last 12 months. And especially by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).
The driving force behind the need for Managed IT Support Services
A primary driver is that IT teams have been running flat-out trying to control a significant increase in cyber security threats, whilst dealing with a rapid move towards hybrid working over the last 18 months. And it’s unlikely to slow down any time soon, with security threats and hybrid working both on the rise. Forbes suggests theHybrid Modelwill rewrite the future of work.
Gartner predicts that: “By the end of 2021, 51% of all knowledge workers worldwide are expected to be working remotely (up from 27% of knowledge workers in 2019).” They also estimate that remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021 – up from 17% of employees in 2019. That figure has almost doubled in just two years!
Most organisations have required the skills, experience and pure horsepower of a managed services business to speed up their projects up, while also taking the reins within various parts of their IT operations, such as IT service,IT security,networking and cloud platforms.
What common snags have IT teams been hitting?
The pace of change within organisations in terms of digital transformation and cyber security has been rapid over the last few years, spurred on even more so by the workplace changes forced upon everyone by Covid19.
IT teams have been swamped by internal demands over the last few years, as well as having been diverted onto other internal projects pushed down from the board. When you couple that with some quite large skills-gaps, managed IT services are a perfect solution, both now and into the future.
What are the benefits of Managed IT Support Services for businesses?
Put simply, Managed IT Support Services provide organisations of all size access to guaranteed experts and service-levels at a fixed cost.
The information technology space is rapidly changing, yet is absolutely critical in virtually every single sector, and for all sizes of operation. Using a managed IT solutions provider means organisations can pick and choose the right operational support to build the IT operation they desire, without many of the complexities and costs of doing it internally.
It’s often extremely beneficial for an organisation to outsource to managed service providers in order to free up internal IT staff to focus on business improvement and transformation. It takes the pressure off when you can leave others to “keep the lights on” so to speak.
The need to free up internal IT teams by outsourcing to a managed service provider is going to be further fuelled by the skills shortage in the UK and globally while the need for rapid transformation within businesses grows as they try to compete on a national – and in many cases international – basis.
Why are managed IT Support services so important to SME’s (small and medium enterprises)?
They don’t need, nor could many justify, a full-time resource. But they do, however, still need access to, and the ongoing support of, an experienced C-level executive. Accessing that means they remain competitive and secure in a rapidly changing world.
What managed IT services can QuoStar offer SME’s?
QuoStar provide a wide range of managed services across a broad spectrum of industries. We predominantly work with businesses with 30-300 employees. It’s often these businesses get left behind in the market – even though they are the ones most likely to need the additional support.
In terms of sector, we vary, but we find that we have a strong base within the legal and the recruitment sectors because our experience over many years has given us a great depth on knowledge in those fields – and that in itself is in demand.
We can provide everything a business needs, from the service desk through to IT management and CIO level consultants on a flat fee basis. This allows our clients to pick and choose the right capabilities to support and compliment their needs as required.
IT Support & Managed Cloud
We provide businesses – both with or without internal IT teams – with the right skills, teams and service levels to keep them available, stable and secure. We run public, private and hybrid clouds for organisations. This ensures that the cloud services are delivering the right levels of service at the right price point.
Fully Managed IT Support: Total Service
Co-Sourced IT Support
Managed Cloud Services
Hybrid working platform: Workspace Ignite
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Hosted Telephony & VoIP
We deliver a wide range of managed security solutions. We provide technological controls to the risks posed to organisations on 24x7x365 basis. So you don’t have to attract, employ and retain IT Security experts. Something which is virtually impossible in all but the largest enterprises.
QuoStar provides top-tier, proven and experienced IT leaders, such as CIOs (Chief Information Officers), CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) and CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) on a fractional basis. This gives mid-sized and smaller organisations access to the support of industry leaders, but again on a monthly basis as and when required.
Office 365 consulting
Microsoft Azure Consultancy
Network and Communications
Agile & Hybrid working
We help businesses take the next step in their digital evolution. It’s imperative for any business in today’s world – and even more so when looking for expansion.
CIO as a service
Data & BI
IT Strategy & Roadmaps
Coaching and mentoring
Ensure your business stays ahead of the curve by using the right Managed IT Services Support for your business.
There are a great deal of IT support providers out there, as you may have notice.
So, your company has decided it wants to outsource some, or all, of its IT function to an IT support provider. Finding the right one for your business can be complicated. Putting a business-critical function, such as IT, in the hands of a third party can be quite daunting.
Interviewing potential suppliers is a vital part of choosing the right IT support provider. Here are a few questions to get you started and the types of answers you should look for.
1. Where are you based?
This doesn’t mean the location of their head office, but more about where your servers are located. This is important if the IT outsourcing company will be providing services such as cloud hosting or VoIP, as it can affect the quality of your services.
GDPR and other laws can also have implications for data storage. Especially for companies working in a highly regulated sector, such as financial services or legal.
2. What geographical areas do you cover?
You no longer need your IT support provider based in the same location as you. However, if you plan to move premises or expand into different countries you need to be sure your provider can support you.
3. As an IT support provider, do you offer different levels of support?
Many IT support companies offer a choice of services levels to suit different budgets and requirements. This may include:
4. What exact IT Support is provided in your contract?
Be wary of a company that claims to “support everything” without actually going into any detail about what is included. Too often companies think they have complete cover, but discover they can only log a set amount of support tickets a month or there’s an extra charge for certain services. It is better to be clear from the outset on exactly what level of support you would be getting. Otherwise, you risk getting tied into an unsuitable contract. If it turns out what you were considering isn’t quite right you can always ask whether there are different levels of support.
5. What isn’t covered in the IT support contract?
Although you may think this would be covered by asking what is included, asking this additional question will provide you with extra detail. There may be a number of services that are not included in the contract and it is important that you have examples of what may be billed separately.
If there are any services that are not included in the support contract, ask about their ad-hoc or hourly pricing.
6. Do you have any guaranteed response times?
You should expect your IT support company to offer guaranteed response times in the case of a problem. The exact response time may depend on what level of support you are willing to pay for, and there may be different response times for different priority levels. For example for a high priority issue or a P1, the company might guarantee that you will receive the first response in 15 minutes.
It is also important to differentiate between response and resolution times. If your company just says two hours, ask them to clarify if this means they will respond to you within two hours or they will resolve your issue within two hours.
If a company guarantees they will resolve an issue in a certain time period, be cautious. Of course, you should expect a target timeframe, but how can they guarantee when a specific issue will be fixed? It can sometimes take longer than expected to get to the root cause of the problem.
7. Do you provide remote management and monitoring?
Prevention is better than cure. You want a company who offers 24×7 monitoring and is proactive in their approach, taking action to prevent problems which would cause major disruption to your business.
8. Will we get a dedicated account manager if you become our IT Support Provider?
It’s helpful to have a single point of contact at your IT support company, with who you can build a long-term relationship with. They will get to know your business and plans for the future, to ensure IT aligns with your goals. It is reasonable to expect one or two dedicated contacts you can deal with.
9. Will I get a dedicated engineer?
It would be unreasonable to expect to only work with one engineer. All technical staff will have different areas of expertise, therefore it makes sense for an IT support provider to assign the best-suited engineer.
10. Do you work with specific hardware and software companies?
It’s not necessarily a problem if a company works with specific manufacturers, but watch out for those who put their vendor relationship above your business needs. If your provider is vendor-agnostic they will focus on finding the best solution for your requirements, rather than where it comes from.
11. How and when will I be charged?
Terms vary depending on the IT support company. Ad-hoc or pay-as-you-go work typically comes with 15 to 30-day payment terms. Contracted work depends on your company’s terms. This can be billed monthly, quarterly or annually, and is usually payable in advance.
12. How can we raise IT problems with you?
IT problems are frustrating, so you want to make sure it’s easy to contact the company. Ask if your company has a dedicated number, an online support request system or a direct email address. If your contract includes 24x7x365 support, ask how you would contact the service desk out of hours.
13. If I phone you, will I be able to speak directly to a technician who can help?
Does your IT support company operate a call centre where someone simply takes your details and passes it on? Or can you reach the service desk directly? There may be occasions where it’s necessary for your problem to be escalated to a second or third tier of support, but it can be frustrating if you can’t at least speak to someone technical directly in the first place.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will provide you with a good foundation when you start interviewing the company that may become your IT support provider.
You can find out more about our IT Support and Managed Serviceshere.