We caught up with Ross Craig, marketing manager at Kitchens International, to find out more about his experience since working with IT Hotdesk, and how the company moved to 100% home working during lockdown.
How long have you been working with IT Hotdesk, and what services does the team provide for your business?
Kitchens International has worked with IT Hotdesk for over four years.
An important aspect of our relationship with the IT Hotdesk is our ability to regularly review, and improve our strategy. Our business is ever-evolving, but by working with the team at IT Hotdesk, we can have the correct support in place, ensuring that we are continually operating at the level that is required for our firm.
What value does the IT Hotdesk team deliver, and what have you been impressed with?
By working with IT Hotdesk, we have access to several technicians with a wealth of experience, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. This level of support means that if something goes wrong it is fixed quickly, meaning that there is effectively no downtime. Any time there have been unexpected issues, the team were efficient in the way they work and the problem fixed quickly, with minimal disruption to our business.
Our design and quotation software is provided by an external supplier and is quite complex. The team at IT Hotdesk are great at liaising directly with the supplier, dealing with any issues and providing solutions to problems.
Having a dedicated specialist there to deal with the problems is great, it gives you peace of mind that it will be fixed quickly and efficiently, and the freedom to focus your time on more important things - like helping customers.
Why did you choose to outsource your IT?
We previously employed our own in-house IT technician, who looked after our IT for several years. When he left, Kitchen International was growing rapidly, and required more IT support than ever before. Understanding that the job was too big for one person, management chose to outsource the work to an IT company, so that we had the flexibility to increase the support as and when the company needed it.
Why did you move to IT Hotdesk?
We first started working with IT Hotdesk in 2016 having worked with our previous IT supplier for a considerable period. We decided to move to IT Hotdesk as we felt that the level of support offered was more in line with our needs as the team could provide a service outwith normal business hours and were available as and when they were needed.
What is your top tip for someone thinking about outsourcing their IT, or switching service provider?
Don’t make your decision solely on cost, look at other factors such as the size and experience of the team, the level of support available, and whether they can meet your business requirements.
For us, one of the biggest benefits was that IT Hotdesk had experience working with our software, that they could support us out of hours, and that their clients spoke so positively about their experience.
How did you find the move from office to home working?
Our experience with the effectiveness of hybrid working varies depending on the job role. Our head office has had no issues adapting - the rollout of home working solutions (VPN/ScreenConnect) to our team was seamless. This allowed for the team to continue as though they were still in the office.
The only challenge we face is when it comes to presenting to clients, and this is no reflection on the service that IT Hotdesk has provided. We use online platforms, such as Teams and Zoom, to present to our clients which works well during the initial consultation and design stages. However, when it comes down to the final detail it can be difficult to provide clients with an accurate representation of samples and finishes - things that customers would usually be able to see and feel if they were in a showroom. The quality of renders/CAD’s that we provide and share on-screen is fantastic, however, this would usually be supported by hard samples to help a customer make a final decision.
The process of moving from the office to home working was quick and easy. The team at IT Hotdesk worked with our staff, providing support and guidance, ensuring that the process was as seamless as possible.
Do you intend to fully return to office working or will your staff split their time between the office and at home?
When it is safe to do so we will look to return to normal office working for the most part. Flexible working may be made available to those who require it or are not comfortable returning to an office environment on a full-time basis.
What changes did you have to make when moving to home working?
Before the pandemic, we had a very small number of users working remotely one or two days a week purely to assist with childcare requirements. We have subsequently had to provide users with two options:
Provide access to an additional machine to work remotely with a VPN connection which provides access to our file share.
Provide access to ScreenConnect to allow them to remotely log in to their PC in a showroom/office.
We are utilising Teams daily for our briefings and meetings. These are predominately done at the branch/showroom level so they are specific to the individual’s workload.
"Having a dedicated specialist there to deal with the problems is great, it gives you peace of mind that it will be fixed quickly and efficiently, and the freedom to focus your time on more important things - like helping customers."