What are your working hours?
7am – 7pm Monday to Friday. Excluding bank holidays.
We operate an extended hours option of 7am – 7pm Seven days a week.
Do you offer Out of Hours support?
Yes. We provide a 24/7 365 option at a premium charge level.
Monthly Support Contracts Vs Pay as You Go
Pay as You Go (PAYG) is an option taken up by many companies who only require IT expertise from time to time to cover them for issues that they don’t have the internal know how to sort out. It is very much a break fix approach to your IT. Typically it is provided on an engineer availability basis rather than against an SLA (Service Level Agreement – whereby the provider commits to getting engineers on to you issues within prescribed time limits). If your business is not at risk of grinding to halt should you run in to a system critical failure then it is a workable albeit short term solution.
Typically PAYG should allow you access to most of the providers services; so for example you can pay for an engineer to visit your site or just remote in to your offending device. Or you may want to run an IT project such as moving offices, replacing an ageing server or migrating to the cloud etc.
Monthly Support Contracts enable you to move off a reactive approach to your IT to a proactive partnership with your support provider. A virtual door in your business to a complete, well rounded IT resource if you like. Instead of just fixing problems it means that your IT systems will be monitored every hour of every day to spot looming issues and tackle them before they strike. In many cases before you are even aware of them. Regular maintenance together with daily checks will be carried out to keep you running smoothly on the road so that you can get the most out of your IT investment and reduce the risks of a costly breakdown. This daily engagement, although mostly in the background, will mean that your provider has no excuse but to know your systems inside out and importantly know what you require for your business to run without IT interruptions and to ensure that you make informed decisions in the world of ever changing technology. In summary a monthly support option will be your best alternative to a more costly internal IT department at the fraction of the cost of even a single IT employee.
How are PAYG and Monthly Contracts priced?
PAYG is charged by the hour at rates according to the level of expertise required for the job in hand. Clearly most problems can be fixed by first line, accredited engineers but some problems require a greater degree of professional speciality and a higher charge therein. But this should always be pointed out to you prior to commencement of work. If the requirement is for an engineer to remote on to a device in your office then you would be charged at the hourly rate in increments of fifteen minutes. If you require an engineer to site then you would be charged a minimum call out (typically 2 hours) and hourly thereafter. In all cases PAYG requires an initial payment up front.
One popular option is to purchase Block Hours. These come with inbuilt discounts and can be drawn down from as and when you require them. This alleviates the need to make arrangements for payment each time you require assistance and they can be topped up over the phone. They should be flexible so that you can use them to pay for any of the services offered by the provider.
In principle Monthly Support Contracts are charged at a fixed, monthly rate which allows you to tie down your IT costs.
The fee is calculated using three determining factors within your IT Infrastructure: the number of user Devices (Pcs, Macs, Laptops, Tablets, Mobile Phones etc.), the number of Servers you have both physical and virtual (virtual servers run off software in physical servers. A single physical box could have say four virtual servers running on it) and the number of Networks Devices (switches, firewalls, wireless access points etc.).
The rates applied against the above factors are set against the extent and level of cover you require. So for example a contract offering unlimited remote support on a 24/7 basis will carry a premium over and above unlimited support cover during office hours only. If you want unlimited onsite cover (engineer visits to your site) or regular, scheduled site visits then there will be a further premium.
Most providers will add on additional services to suit such as managed anti-virus, online back up, anti-spam, internet services (i.e. broadband), telephony etc. Although much of this can be arranged independently the rates are usually competitive and will be fully managed giving you a single point of contact across the various technologies.
Many support providers price against the speed and priority given to your requirements. These are defined in terms of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees a time (in hours) of Response and Resolution and should not be confused with the time it takes your phone call to be picked up. A Response SLA of 4 Hours does not imply that you will have to wait four hours every time you have a problem because every support company will strive to get on to an issue within minutes and to be fair usually do. If a power cut hits and as a result a large number of companies start calling in and swamping the helpdesk then the SLA gives the support provider and the customer a legal safety net. Understandably in such (hopefully unlikely) instances the customers with the shorter SLA periods will get picked up earlier. For a company trading millions per second or unable to operate without fully functioning IT this provides a necessary requirement but for the majority of businesses the standard level SLAs should suffice.
What are the Payment Terms?
Payment terms for monthly contracts are monthly in advance. Some companies offer 7 days from the date of the monthly invoice but this is a costly approach for the providers as they will have to commit resource to chasing up payments. There is also the risk that non receipt of payment either intentionally or in error will lead to your account being suspended; Not a productive approach to your partnership. For these reasons the best approach is for a Direct Debit arrangement to be set in place.
Pay as You Go payments are usually required upfront before the engineer starts to tackle the problem. Obviously as you establish trust as a reliable payer to the provider there will be times when they will commence work upon your instructions against your promise to pay. On occasions when the engineer delves in to the problem they may determine that there is more work required than covered by the initial payment. In these cases they should advise you of an estimated time going forward and again see your agreement to proceed.
How do you make a request for support?
There are several ways. It’s down to what suits you. You can request support by:
VIA A SUPPORT PORTAL (if available)
- At the initial stage of requesting support you will want to know that the request has been picked up and is being dealt with as a matter of urgency.
- A formal confirmation of your support request together with the support ticket number will be emailed to you.
- Then you will want to know how matters are progressing and when it is likely to be solved.
- Ongoing updates will be emailed to you. But you don’t need to wait for these. You can either call in to find out how things are progressing or request the engineer to keep you updated by phone (In critical instances only please).
- You’d like to know when the problem has been rectified.
- An Issue Resolved Notification will be emailed with you. It is also common practice for the engineer to notify you by phone (but if you are in meetings you’ll have the email).
Do you have an Escalation Procedure?
If for any reason you wish to escalate an issue you can do so by phone and/or an email to our Support Desk.
Blue Mouse IT operates a two-step escalation process:
- The ticket and your concerns are escalated from the support engineer to the Support Desk Engineer who will contact you by phone or email if you are not free to take the call
to address and rectify your issue(s).
- The ticket and your concerns will also be picked up by our Technical Director who will monitor the issue and require updates from the Support Desk Engineer. If he feels matters are not progressing he will take over the support ticket and will contact you directly.