What do your support contracts cover?
We provide support on anything that you would expect to see on a typical network. Specific areas that we cover include servers, workstations, operating systems and applications, printers, routers, switches, hubs, network infrastructure, Internet connections, firewalls… basically if anything goes wrong on your network, we would be your first point of contact.
What operating systems and applications do you cover?
We cover all Microsoft operating systems and applications. Most software can be installed and configured by us to fit youur needs. For example we do a lot of Sage work.
We have a specialist application written by a third party. Would you cover that?
A lot of our customers have specialist applications that are written and supported by another supplier. We usually work with the supplier to make sure that their application is happy, and to resolve problems if they arise. We accelerate the process of fixing problems by giving the supplier detailed information about the problem, and by helping them to implement a fix safely and quickly.
What’s your typical support customer like?
We have a range of different customers across all industry sectors. For smaller customers we tend to look after everything, whereas with larger customers we tend to support specific systems, provide additional support to existing support teams, or provide specialist skills.
How do you charge for network support?
Our preferred option is to charge a basic monthly fee which entitles you to a certain number of hours of support or consultancy per month. If you need more support than your contract provides, we are happy to provide it for an additional hourly charge. We also provide ad-hoc and emergency cover if preferred.
Why do you charge a monthly fee?
Providing effective network support requires that we know your systems inside out. We need to keep detailed records of how everything is configured so that we can respond quickly and safely when you have a problem. We have remote monitoring systems that can warn us in advance of problems before they become critical. And of course we have to provide sufficient resources so that we always have someone available to deal with your call. All of this costs us money, whether or not you have a problem at any given time. We try to keep the monthly fee as low as we can without sacrificing quality or responsiveness.
Are you expensive then?
We – and presumably our existing support customers – don’t think so. There are network support providers that charge less than we do, and those that charge an awful lot more. We’re certainly a lot cheaper than lost data or a day spent without a working computer system. We have come across systems that were so vulnerable the entire business was hanging by a thread. What price would you put on your business?
What if I don’t have any budget for network support?
It’s simply unrealistic to expect your IT systems to run forever without having any problems, and since they are a crucial business asset it’s equally unrealistic not to have them adequately covered. Think of the monthly charge as being insurance for one of your organisation’s most valuable assets.
How quickly can you respond to problems?
Depending on the type of support contract you take out with us. Note that these are contractual response times and so represent worst-case scenarios; we normally respond instantly to emergencies.
How do you respond to problems?
We set up remote links to all of our customers’ sites through a VPN. This allows us to take control of servers and other critical network components within seconds, so that we can respond to problems immediately. A lot of problems can be fixed within minutes, but if we cannot resolve a problem remotely we will go onsite. We aim to be onsite within 4 hours of identifying a problem that cannot be fixed remotely, but it’s usually a lot quicker than that.
What’s different about you?
No grey areas, no finger-pointing, and a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. We see many customers who have been suffering with some sort of problem for months because the hardware supplier says it's a software problem, and the software vendor says it's a hardware problem. We don't operate like that. In most cases our customers don't especially care where the problem lies; they just need it fixed. We operate on a "fix it first; discuss it later" basis and we try to avoid grey areas and finger-pointing at all costs.
What else is different about you?
We have built up a good understanding of our customers, and what they want from a support provider. The things they want are honest objective advice, reliability, effectiveness, value for money and accountability. These attributes are getting rarer in today's cut-throat, short-term profit obsessed climate - and that's what makes us different. We still believe in the old principles of looking after customers, and building long term relationships.
We tailor the advice and services we provide to each client’s budget, and (just as importantly) to adapt as they grow and as their priorities change.