Our approach is refreshingly unique
We provide a high quality of IT support service under exceptional terms
See below for how we compare to the industry standard - there's a lot to take in. When we set out in 2006 our mission was to rewrite the rulebook when it came to how SMEs were supported - we've worked hard to set ourselves apart and work in a way that we would like our suppliers to work with us. That's why we are able to offer a risk free satisfaction guarantee on all of our work.
We continually review how we can do things better. At a point when many mature businesses sit back and rest on their laurels, we still strive to improve our service, systems, terms and how we can make our clients happier.
We examine every area of our operations to look for potential improvements. Sometimes we look to others for inspiration, both for how to do things better - and how to not do things. We have taken inspiration from many other industries; for example the legal and professional services industries for flexible billing and granular practices, lean construction firms for how to cost and manage projects efficiently and flexibly and the financial services industry for the importance of dealing transparently and clearly with clients and vendors. Our approach is unique within the IT support industry as many of our innovations come from outside it.
Service Levels and Services Offered
vs. The Industry norm
We only operate one Service Level. We provide the best service we can, all the time. We deal with support issues as they arise and don't differentiate between small and large clients in terms of how well we support you.
You never have to join a queue to speak to us, and we don't charge a premium for being on-site in minutes if needed.
Having different service levels available for different rates means that a company is willing to not work as hard if it's not worth as much to them.
We offer a complete solution for your IT and communications needs, whether you want us to comprehensively manage your every IT requirement or just need on-tap IT support and consultancy.
We can manage all current IT systems and technologies and our helpdesk service caters for any request you can think of. There's little or nothing we can't be of assistance with. We take unusual or difficult requests in our stride.
We take the services usually only offered by large enterprises to other large companies and offer them to SMEs at a very high service level.
Many IT support companies strictly limit the type or amount or services and support they provide, ring-fencing the services they offer in tightly-worded agreements to minimise their workload and maximise their profit. Some don't provide end-user support, preferring to just manage the servers and systems.
Others may not be able to offer the range of services that you need - they may be strong on web design, but poor on IT security, or particularly adept at engineering but poor at helping the end user.
vs. The Industry norm
Our rates are among the most competitive in the industry. We review each package individually and as the scale and scope of the required works increases, our rate automatically decreases.
Our timecard rate is billed in small sensible increments meaning that a little goes a long way.
Competitors rates can go up to £250/hr billed in minimum one hour blocks or more, sometimes with minimum required bookings of 2-3 hours.
Some companies obscure their true cost by publishing a low rate but have billing and minimum booking terms which effectively multiply the cost - these always compare unfavourably upon simple analysis.
This very much discourages smaller requests which may take no time at all to help with, but could save you and your users hours of frustration.
We have one rate which we apply to all of our work, modified for either bulk buying our time or working out of hours.
We make it easy and cost-effective to use us as much as you need to and our fixed cost unlimited support agreements mean that you can control your IT costs to the penny.
Sometimes you can face a bewildering array of rates - for support, more difficult technical support, web development, being on-site, engineering, consulting, systems architecture...
We bill modestly more for out-of-hours work because we understand that wherever possible for the most disruptive works we need to work around your schedule.
|Not all companies will agree to perform works out-of-hours and some that do apply punitive rates to discourage using this facility.|
Our rate decreases for fixed cost agreements and for large projects, and for regular on-site engineering/support time, or increases for working out of hours. There are no other factors to understand.
|Not everyone is clear about their charging practices.|
Terms & Conditions
vs. The Industry norm
|Billing||We record & bill in sensible time increments, in arrears. |
We have no minimum charge per request when working on a timecard basis, though when working on a timecard basis we do have a sensible minimum billing commitment based on your company size.
|Minimum billing in 1-2 hours blocks, especially when handling timecard requests. Often there is an additional minimum charge regardless of the size of the request.|
|We bill monthly in arrears.||Often you need to pay up-front to top up "PAYG" (Pay as you go) credits.|
|We can fix the cost of any work item, no matter how small, immediately. And you can set a threshold at which we need to do this automatically.||Most companies are not interested in small fixed cost works, and tend to prefer one large very rigid fixed cost agreement with no cost transparency.|
|Our invoice terms are the standard 30 days from receipt of the invoice.||Most require that you pay in advance, and use time credits to perform work.|
|We have a required (but sensible) minimum spend per month for either timecard support or systems administration and management which counts towards the work that we carry out. This can be as low as one to two hours per month for small companies.||Usually there is a minimum per device and/or per user charge with an annual fixed maintenance agreement whether you request work or not.|
|We have a standard 12 month minimum term of contract. Termination, if required, is straightforward however we pride ourselves on retaining clients through satisfaction, not red tape.||24 or 36 month agreements are not uncommon which can also be difficult to terminate. |
Critical services can sometimes be made a part of the support companies service agreement when they should be separate and under your control.
|We don't have a specific call-out charge and only charge only the time it takes a team member to get to your office. We have no hidden or unclear charges.||Call-out charges of 1-2 hours minimum are commonplace to discourage clients requesting on-site support usually with the time cost of dealing with the request added on top.|
|Rebates||We don't accept commission or rebate from any supplier or service vendor we work with.||Commission and reseller schemes are commonplace, influencing supplier choice.|
|We charge a small mark-up on materials, supplying all equipment, software and materials at very competitive rates below RRP.||Often items are sold on at prices the same, or higher, than the client could find themselves.|
|Contracts||We do recommend (however it isn't mandatory) a fixed cost annual agreement to carry out routine systems management works to maximise uptime and longevity of your equipment.||Annual fixed cost service agreements are usually mandatory - most companies won't agree to manage your systems (or sometimes provide any help at all) unless you have a full fixed agreement in place.|
|The terms of our agreement are driven by you - allowing you to completely manage your costs. Your EC2 IT account manager will work with you to ensure that you are satisfied and that you only pay for the service you use.||The terms of any working agreement are usually inflexible and driven by the supplier's needs and costs rather than your own. You often have little variable control over how much you spend once an agreement is in place.|
Location & Making it easy
vs. The Industry norm
We don't subcontract any of our work to anyone else. The same team that supports you during the day provides 24x7x365 support.
At best based in the City fringes or West end with others claiming to support the City from the home counties and beyond.
A common practice is to subcontract some of the support work abroad especially those who claim full 24/7 support.
We don't baffle you with IT jargon and provide as much clear reporting and information as you need.
We document all of our work thoroughly.
Some companies provide good IT support however are poor at communicating with the customer - both in their own language and understanding what the customer needs to understand their investment.
Occasionally issues or requests are portrayed as being more difficult or serious than necessary; sometimes to discourage the client from taking an active interest, and sometimes to justify higher than expected costs.
We make sure you are aware and in charge of all the work we carry out for you. We keep you informed of what we are doing and log and record all of our work.
You can request us to fix the cost of any work we are doing for you, and can report all the information you need on any issue instantly.
We don't lock you out of your own systems. We respect the fact that it's your ICT - we make sure you have all the credentials and documentation as appropriate.
After you sign up for a fixed cost annual agreement many IT companies operate a "black box" policy, such that you are never sure exactly what they are doing, providing little or no control or regular reporting.
Many companies won't work on a timecard or small fixed cost works basis unless at their highest rates and don't have an easy mechanism to challenge (or fix) their costs for support requests.
A very common practice is to change the key credentials to lock you out of your own systems, in part to discourage you from changing suppliers.
We work hard to make things easy for you. We explain everything we do, and provide just the right amount of information for you to understand the work we carry out and the investment you are making in your staff and infrastructure.
Our terms are intuitive and clear. One of our main goals is to make the process of using us simple.
With a mix of complicated Service Level Agreements, rate structures, service offerings, terms and conditions some IT suppliers make it difficult to be clear about their service commitments and costs.
Some contracts and terms and conditions are lengthy, jargon-filled and complicated and designed around protecting the service providers commercial interests, and are not designed to enable you to get the most out of the relationship.