Exactly what does an IT support company do? Do we simply answer calls and tell the person at the other end to ‘turn it off and on again? Or do we do cool stuff with AI, automating processes and leveraging machine learning?
The truth is, of course, somewhere in between.
So if you’ve ever wondered ‘what does an IT support company do?’ either because you’re already paying one, or thinking of doing so – then read on.
The Service Desk
This is the bit most people think of when they think of IT support. You phone the number for IT, and somebody answers and fixes your issue. Sometimes it’s the person who answers, sometimes it’s someone they pass you on to. To an extent this is correct. This is the bit that most people have the most interaction with. It’s also generally where the IT Support company has most of its human resources. Depending on the size of the business it could be that everyone works at the service desk at least some of the time. Including the owners of the business. Most IT Support companies start with a helpdesk function.
Service Desks are critical because they are the bit that the clients (you) interact with most. The people working at the desk need to be both technically proficient and good communicators. IT companies spend a lot of money on training and retaining these staff. They also invest in tools to allow them to do their jobs. These include a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution. This is the central hub and is where all issues and fixes are logged. They’ll also be tools to remote access clients’ machines, diagnostic tools, and many others.
Often a differentiator between IT support companies is whether onsite support is included in the contract, or charged for as an ‘extra’. Despite all the tools, not everything can be dealt with remotely. Sometimes you need somebody onsite to physically plug stuff in (this is the technical terminology!).
Server reboots, troubleshooting network and connectivity issues installing new hardware, and physical hardware upgrades would all be done on-site. Larger IT support companies will have an onsite engineer or an onsite team.
Maintenance and Monitoring
The next answer to the question of what an IT support company do is something that few people see. In the background, the IT company will have ‘agents’ installed on all of your IT equipment. These agents check in regularly just to say that everything is OK. These agents also give alerts when there are issues that need dealing with. This could be a hard drive getting close to capacity. Or a machine overheating. This allows the IT support company to address the potential problem before it actually causes problems for the client and its employees.
In addition, the agents and Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) tool allow the IT company to update computers without disturbing the people working on them. Windows updates, antivirus scans, disc clean-ups and all other manners of maintenance tasks can be carried out remotely. This keeps the machines in the best possible shape and reduces the about of problems the people using the computers experience.
This is another area where IT support companies will differ. Some will include some basic security in their support costs, while others will charge extra for it. Some will have dedicated Cyber Security Teams which can offer solutions that go beyond the basic, but many don’t. One thing is certain you need security, and you shouldn’t assume your IT company has you covered!
What your IT support company is doing is keeping up with all the latest threats. They are attending webinars, listening to podcasts, attending training sessions and testing products. All so they can understand your risks and how to mitigate them.
Cyber security starts with having the latest versions of software, all kept up-to-date and correctly configured. So this crosses over with the monitoring and maintenance.
This is where the answer to ‘what does an IT support company do?’ starts to become: ‘What Are Managed Services?’.
Once your IT Support Company starts to get involved in advising your strategy you’ve moved on from just ‘support’. It means that you have regular Business Review meetings with your IT provider. You discuss what you want to achieve and they advise on how technology can help you do it.
You know when every single piece of IT equipment in your business needs replacing, so you can budget for it. Your IT company finds the best deals. They then order the equipment for you and install it.
The IT company talks to the phone company, or the broadband provider and sorts out issues. Eventually, the IT company BECOMES the phone company, the broadband provider and looks after your mobile phone contracts too. They also manage your Microsoft 365 licences. Unifying everything so you’ve got one, trusted partner.
This takes resources and skills from the IT Support Company. You’ll see your Account Manager, but behind the scenes there are people processing orders, taking in goods, and coordinating deliveries.
Projects and Installs
Periodically every client is going to need a project of some kind. IT equipment has a limited lifespan and will need replacing. There are still plenty of server refreshes and installations going on. And, of course, we are migrating a lot of companies to cloud-based solutions.
There may well be another separate team handling projects. These are generally more senior engineers. They take responsibility for the whole project from start to finish. Working with the Account Manager to plan the project, which they then deliver.
No IT company gets rich from delivering projects! Hardware costs are high and margins are low. Skilled engineers are expensive. The advantage for the IT company is that new equipment should have few issues. This means fewer calls for support.
Marketing, Admin, Finance, HR Sales & Management
Like every other business, there are lots of departments that support the main function. The team behind the team if you like. IT companies do everything your business does. Try to find new clients, look after staff, manage the money and keep all of those other cogs turning.
Hopefully, that answers the question ‘What Does An IT Support Company Do?’
But if you want any further information please do not hesitate to ask us. You can get in touch in lots of ways: You can book a 15-minute call in our calendar, or complete a contact form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 0116 467 0155.
We look forward to hearing from you.