UK SMEs, recognised as small to medium enterprises with fewer than 250 employees, are critical to the success and growth of the UK economy. Recent SME data published by Merchant Savvy shows this to be the case, with SMEs accounting for 52% of private sector turnover and 16.6 million jobs at the start of 2020.

Whilst every SME business owner wants to deliver growth, there can also be growing pains. As sales increase and you want scale, so do the challenges of managing administration, headcount, investment and technology. This Blog focuses on the technology challenge and how small and medium sized organisations can benefit from IT outsourcing and choosing the right Outsourcing partner.

In House Vs Outsource

 As businesses rely on an increasingly complex series of technologies to function, it is more important than ever to have a great IT solution and IT support in place that will maximise operational and cost efficiencies.

Some companies will choose to manage their IT internally, but resourcing costs can be significant. It’s often difficult to recruit and retain an individual or team with the right skill-set to cover the wide and ever-evolving breadth and depth of today’s rapidly changing technology. The ‘IT Department’ model is usually associated with larger companies and even then, they often choose to outsource various elements of the IT.

Whilst smaller organisations and SMEs demand the same capabilities from their IT and telecoms, it is often not practical or affordable to have a full-time, dedicated in-house tech team or IT manager. Even if they do have support, no business can predict when or what type of problem will occur and if their internal resource is skilled enough to fix it. The level of skill required can literally change from day to day.  Outsourcing IT service and support is a good way of resolving this challenge.

IT Support UK – Our Experience

Our experience from working with SMEs for over 20 years, has shown us that there tends to be three levels of IT support that engineers are generally required to help with.

•   Level 1:    help desk support e.g. lost passwords, upgrading of new software, troubleshooting operating system glitches and resolving service requests such as mailbox and file permissions that can be ‘first time fixed’.

•   Level 2:    tech issues that need escalating if first time fix is unsuccessful. E.g. if there is server down and it doesn’t re-boot or a service requires restoring from backup in a disaster recovery situation.

•   Level 3:    complex technical issues that require expert help e.g. support for infrastructure or digital transformation projects, multiple location networking or security breaches which require cyber expertise to resolve and mitigate risks.

We find that 80 per cent of the IT support issues we are asked to resolve sit within the Level 1 category. Whilst these are less difficult to sort, they can take up a great deal time, something many SMEs cannot afford to sacrifice.

However, it is the 20 per cent of more complicated issues (Level 2 and 3), that are harder to resource, in terms of having engineers with experience, specialist knowledge and expertise. Excalibur maintains a powerful team of highly qualified engineers that work at this upper level. This means our customers have access to high level IT expertise when they need it. Resourcing these capabilities on a full-time basis would be costly for any SME or larger organisation.

Advantages of Outsourcing IT Support:

•   Boost a company’s IT resource for key projects or as a temporary resource e.g. cover for leave

•   Makes sure your company has access to an up-to-date, skilled IT resource when you need it. IT is our core business – we up-skill and train our engineers in the latest technologies, releases and applications.

•   IT support available remotely off-site or on-site when needed. This flexibility supports costs cost control.

•   Flexible cost. A company does not have to commit to employing new staff when additional resource is required. IT costs rise and fall according to business need. E.g. when it comes to a major upgrade or problem, you can pump up resource and then decrease it as you wish. Something you are not able to do with employees.

•  When it comes to big projects, using your regular Outsource IT company, who already know your habits and the way you work, will make sure you buy an IT solution or equipment that will work for your company.

•   Effective time management. Internal IT resource will not have to spend time dealing with numerous Level 1 IT issues or colleagues with varying IT capabilities – from those born in the 20th century to Gen Z! Outsourcing specialists are used to supporting multiple users and tend to be quicker at solving issues.

•  Enables SMES to manage complex IT and telecoms solutions across a variety of environments from multiple locations to private Cloud, public Cloud solutions.

Choosing an IT outsourcing supplier

Whilst many SMEs look to outsource IT support, it is important to find a supplier who you can build a relationship with. You need to make sure they understand your business and where you want to take it. It isn’t just about finding someone else to manage current IT pain points or running a help desk. You need to select a dynamic partner who will help you successfully navigate the ongoing digital transformation journey.

At Excalibur, we like to look ahead and looking at big issues like security, scalability and how best to manage current assets and future migrations. Excalibur helps with IT Roadmap Planning, working with customers to co-create an achievable IT plan.

Choose a supplier that includes regular monitoring of IT equipment and services. This will ensure potential problems that could disrupt business are dealt with proactively. For instance, checking for slow internet connectivity and updating security patches.

Outsourcing IT Support to Excalibur

At Excalibur we believe in working like a partner, not just a supplier to our customers. Account Managers stay in regular touch with clients and take the time to understand an organisation’s culture, people and the way it works. Our 4:1 ratio of service staff to sales ensures we have enough resources internally to continually deliver on-time and maintain excellent standards of service.

Excalibur contracts are tailored to the needs and budget of each customer, with performance tied into our above industry standard Service Level Agreements. Strict adherence to our SLAs and our policy to gain customer feedback, makes sure customers receive the support they require and are happy.

Excalibur and IT Support for London’s SMEs

Excalibur Communications provides comprehensive and proactive IT Support to small and medium organisations across London, the South and South West UK. In London, many IT companies chase work from larger business, leaving the SME market with little choice of IT outsource supplier.

SMEs are our specialty and we have over 20 years experience working with organisations from two to 250 users. We understand the challenges they face and offer a full range of cost effective IT support covering managed IT services, cloud and security, hardware, software, servers and more.

We support London customers remotely from Swindon and use field-based engineers, working across London.

On service, most IT Support providers in London have a low ratio of operations staff to compared to sales and marketing. At Excalibur we hold a 4:1 ratio of service staff to sales. This ensures that we have enough resources internally to continually deliver on-time and maintain an excellent standard of service whatever the size of your SME

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