Investing in service: fully managed maintenance means peace of mind for IT solutions provider Capital Support
Dean Foreman, Director and co-founder, Capital Support Ltd
Capital Support was created in 2002 to meet demands for dependable IT support. The company primarily focuses on hedge funds and private equity firms in the City of London. Experiencing meteoric growth, the company today has several hundred clients in the UK and internationally ranging from start-ups and small office-based companies to large multinationals and multi-site retailers; from financial services and law firms to Marriott hotels and Reebok gyms. Listed by The Sunday Times as one of the UK’s fastest growing technology providers, BT Engage IT has provided maintenance services and engineers since Capital Support was set up.
“We can do everything for clients, delivering a managed services approach wherever possible,” says Jonathan Barratt, Technical & Projects Manager. Services include hosting, infrastructure management, disaster recovery, co-location, anti-virus, and more. “We put a lot of effort into server support, managing and monitoring about 500 servers, mainly in London but in other centres too.” This is a high-pressure environment with demanding clients; for many, effective operations depend on a reliable trading environment supported by IT.
“Our SLAs are variable, depending on what a client wants, but we actually measure internal SLAs to a very strict regime, far stricter than what our clients need,” Barratt says. For example, internal response times are measured in minutes rather than hours. “We never breach client SLAs, and are second to none in that respect. We have some clients with a 15-minute onsite response.” So how does BT Engage IT fit in? “When we started we didn’t have the capacity or resources to deal with hardware, and didn’t want to. BT Engage IT was mandated to provide maintenance support for hardware direct to our clients.”
BT Engage IT provides break/fix cover, including four-hour and eight-hour fixes, for a significant proportion of the servers Capital Support handles under extended warranty cover, plus coverage for additional printers, network kit and firewalls. Several clients also have workstations under cover, but Barratt says it’s the servers that are key. “If a server fails, it’s unlikely any provider could respond with the exact replacement part within, say, 30 minutes. So most of our networks and kit are properly resilient to failure,” he continues. “Everything’s duplicated, from power supply onwards, which is essential when you consider the specialist applications that traders use.” In this environment, a super-fast response from engineers isn’t the critical factor, as services will continue uninterrupted. What is important is that all equipment returns to service as quickly as possible, with repairs and replacements completed to the highest levels of quality and reliability.
“Working with the service pack BT Engage IT provides is not about peace of mind for clients – we do that –it’s more about providing peace of mind for us,” Barratt says. “We don’t have to worry about getting a server fixed, handling all the logistics of ordering a part, paying for it, purchase orders and all the administrative work involved. We just call BT Engage IT, say we’ve got a failed hard drive or whatever, and it’s sorted.
This means that we don’t need to hold spare parts as BT Engage IT provides everything direct to the client’s site. We’re in Canary Wharf so it’s not so easy to have ‘Goods In/Goods Out’.” He says working with BT Engage IT empowers his staff. “We don’t want to burden our Service Desk people with all that admin. Staff know the failed hardware will get replaced with a simple call, so they can really focus on doing their job and providing excellent client services. If you compare a typical warranty call to the server vendor itself to a call to BT Engage IT, the first takes one-and-a-half hours and involve endless questions, the second is “what’s the serial number?” and they sort it. That’s a big advantage, making things faster and simpler, not having to jump through all those hoops.”
“We have a very good working relationship with BT Engage, including the same account manager for over eight years and the same Service Delivery Manager for five years. That’s so rare, and has been very important, I can definitely see our relationship developing and growing with BT Engage IT. We’re responsible for a lot of hardware under warranty and care packs, with a great deal of that coming under other suppliers, and I’d rather we handled all that using BT Engage IT, who can provide a consistent level of service for our clients”
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