SMEs face the same challenges as large enterprises. In the age of Industry 4.0 and digitisation, every organisation needs access to enterprise-grade technology to retain the business agility and speed of service, which allows them to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

“Smaller businesses share the same strategic imperatives and digital future mindset as larger enterprises: they understand that investing in the most up-to-date ICT gives a competitive advantage and that first-rate connectivity is key in a world shaped by cloud and wireless/mobile technologies.”

IDC, The Road to the Digital Future of SMEs

However, SMEs risk not being able to access the right IT infrastructure that enables them to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the data-driven world, which means they risk not being able to differentiate themselves against their larger competitors. Furthermore, although the current pandemic has accelerated the issue on boardroom agendas, even before COVID-19, 94% of SMEs reported seeing a growth in the number of remote workers. But allowing your team to work from home isn’t as simple as packing them off with a laptop, there are issues around security, access control and support that need to be carefully considered.

The barriers to successful IT strategies for SMEs

While SMEs may need access to the same enterprise-grade IT as their larger competitors, for many it remains a pipe dream because they simply don’t have the same level of resource.

According to a YouGov survey, the main barrier to adopting new technology is cost, cited by 57% of SMEs.

But it’s not just about the money – SMEs also lack the in-house skills to implement and maintain their new technology and then support their users day-to-day. In the same survey, 30% of SMEs cited ‘internal limitations’ and 26% cited ‘lack of awareness of products / services’ as their biggest barriers to adoption.

And therein lies the question – when your business needs technology to thrive, but you lack the in-house capabilities to support it, what do you do?

What are the IT support requirements of an SME?

There’s a misconception around SME IT support. In the majority of cases, the engineers aren’t there waiting to fix your infrastructure when it falls over (although obviously, they can help in this worst-case scenario).

No. IT support is about being there on a daily basis to support the end users to get on and do their jobs. In fact, the most effective IT support is the one you don’t even notice, because it is proactive and automatically picks up on issues before they become a problem. It leverages features that benefit your business; shows you where the work has been done; and makes recommendations which will support your business objectives.

Over half (54%) of SMEs say their main technology concern in 2020 is their lack of technology-savvy workers.

As a user, there’s nothing more frustrating than “computer says no”. A frozen screen, inability to access the information you need, worrying about whether your boss is going to question what you’ve been up to all day – it’s stress that you simply don’t want at your desk.

Analysis of our own IT tickets shows that most of the issues raised with our support desk are relatively simple end user concerns, such as:

  • Email forwarding
  • Login issues and password resets
  • Mailbox migrations that didn’t bring across all your contacts and diary entries
  • System updates
  • Difficulties accessing apps, systems or platforms
  • Troubleshooting laptop issues
  • Unable to open documents

Someone with the necessary technical knowledge could have most of these sorted within a matter of minutes. But your end users’ specialist skills lie elsewhere, which is why they need help. And unless they get help it’s going to impact their productivity and your bottom line.

According to research from Microsoft, when users contact a support desk, the three things they value most are:

  1. Getting the issue resolved in a single interaction (33%). This is known as the First Contact Resolution (FCR)and is one of the ways in which you can measure the performance of a service desk. At Atech, our FCR stands at 82%.
  2. A knowledgeable person on the support desk. (31%). This is why we encourage and celebrate the ongoing training and education of our engineers and architects. Follow us on LinkedIn to see who the high-flyers are!
  3. Not having to repeat information when transferred to a new agent (21%). We measure the satisfaction level for each of our support requests and while we measure the overall score, we make it personal to ensure each customer is happy.

That is how our ethos of ‘addicted to service’ helps you stay productive.

Atech provides more than IT support

Our engineers focus on fixing your issues fast:

“Very prompt response, within three minutes of me sending an email. Fantastically helpful support and the problem was solved in 5 minutes. Thank you very much!”

So your team can get back to work quickly:

“Words cannot express how happy I am at what José did so I could continue working from home.”

We appreciate that every user has a different level of technical ability and the last thing we want is for anyone to feel stupid for raising an issue:

Handled my call very diligently and very patiently working through the issue with me until he found a solution to the problem. This took some time…at no point did he show frustration. I’m grateful the problem was eventually solved.”

In the first instance we want to provide that reassurance that everything is going to be ok.

“Everyone is in panic and Atech just helped out!”

And then the confidence that everything will continue to work as the user expects.

Straightforward and clear support over password issue, and good follow up to make sure that it was resolved and working.”

We’re proud to share these snippets of real customer feedback with you. Our whole business is modelled around the idea of us being ‘Addicted to Service’ and how we can help on an individual level to overcome your user’s issues and get them back to work. Given the current climate where more of us are working from home, the ability to offer remote support has never been more important. You, and your users, want to feel safe in the knowledge that if something goes wrong (even something small) they can make a call or raise a ticket and a friendly face will take care of everything.

We’re not offering a support desk. We’re offering the opportunity to take advantage of enterprise-grade technology with the personal service that enables your whole team to achieve great things. That’s what we mean when we say we help you create the next version of your business.

We’re on a mission: to provide secure cloud solutions that meet the needs of today and scale of tomorrow. Will you join us?

IT support is changing fast as remote working requirements are reshaping business operations. The level of support a small business needs, and how this support is delivered differs fundamentally as SMEs get to grips with new day-to-day operations, and need to overcome barriers such as budget and skills. This article outlines what the IT support requirements are for an SME and how are met.