Cranks Technical Resources Essay Sample

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Cranks Ltd is a medium size IT Company based in central London. The company sells computer hardware to a number of businesses in the London area. It is very successful and has a well established staff with very little turnover.

They have a well established customer list of companies in London. To give the best service to these companies they place a lot of value on good IT Technical Support for their own staff. All the computers are networked together.

The company have a strong culture of very good IT Technical Support and spend considerable time and money training the staff in this department and providing them with money in order that they give very good IT support.

You are working for the IT Technical Support for Cranks. As you are considered to have a great deal of IT Technical Support experience you have been asked to produce reports for the Senior Management.

Task 1 (P3)

Explain information gathering techniques that can be used to answer a problem or request.

a) Explain the different techniques of gathering information to answer an IT Technical problem or request. Remember all computers at Cranks Ltd are networked together and they do not have any standalone computers.

* How can the IT Technical Support gather information to answer a problem? This is not a description of the source of information but how that information would be obtained. (e.g. Manufacturers manuals should be catalogued in the IT Technical Support area for easy access to them).

There are many different ways the IT technical Support could gather information to answer a problem. The sources would consist of manufacturer’s manual and product specification, fault logs, FAQ, Internet forums, Colleagues with specialist knowledge.

In order for the IT Technical Support to gather information from a manufacturer’s manual and a product specification they would have to go through the catalogued manuals that are located in the IT technical support area. They are all catalogued meaning put in order therefore would not be hard to find because usually the old manuals would be taken out and replaced with the up to date one, once the IT technical support has obtained the required manual they would then extract the necessary information and answer the problem.

To obtain information from fault logs, either the help desk or a technician would have access to this; even if others have access it would only be for viewing and not editing. A fault log is located on a database. In order to get onto a fault log you would have to input a required password which the help desk and technician would have, once the password is accepted you would then be able to go through the fault logs and find a suitable one that has the required information. Normally a fault log would be organised therefore make your search a lot easier meaning easy access. This would result in the problem being answered because of the previous fault logs which notes down how to resolve certain problems.

In order for you to obtain information from an Internet source FAQ, you would log onto the system and go onto the internet. Once you are onto the internet you would go onto a relevant website that has your information. You would then go onto the Internet source FAQ which would then have the relevant information that you would gather in order for you to answer a problem.

Internet Forums are located on the internet. They have a lot of information that you are able to obtain by going onto them and searching what you want. You would log onto the system and search for the internet forum by using the internet. You would search an internet forum that has a good reputation and look for the relevant information.

In order for to gather information from Colleagues with specialist knowledge you would have to ask them face to face on your problem. From this they would give you their advice because they would know more as they are more experienced therefore would be able to solve the problem quickly. They are located within the department.

A Manufacturers website is located on the internet. In order for you to gather information from this you would have to log onto the system. Go onto the internet. Once on the internet you would then go onto the manufacturer’s website and retrieve the relevant information that is needed to answer the problem.

* How do we obtain information from the User that has the problem? (e.g. Talk to them)

There are several ways to gather information from the user that has a problem. This would consist of talking to them which would help you understand more about what has happened meaning you would advise them as to what to do. The user would phone the help desk either to report a problem or for a request, the help desk would then ask them a couple of questions i.e. what they were doing at the time the problem occurred and what programs they were running when it happened. From talking to the user the help desk would be able to get a better understanding meaning that they would resolve the problem once enough information is gathered.

Another way of gathering information from a user is that they could write an email explaining the problem in detail as in when it happened, what they were doing at that time ect.

* How do we gather information from the computer system itself which would help to clarify the problem? (What computer messages are there? E.g. The system does not recognise the hardware).

The way we as users would gather information from the computer system would be that messages would pop up. These messages would inform you of a problem then it may lead to a button that helps you repair it. From this you are able to know what exactly is happening, if not then you could research the error code then find out how it may be resolved. Certain computer messages would appear as in perhaps to tell you about an update, an error, a task which you are meant to complete for your computer system as in backups.

Here are a few examples of messages that would come up from the computer system.

Above shows you an error message. This type of error message just contains the path of the specified module. As you can see it is telling you that the specified module could not be found. In order for you to find out more about this certain error message you would go onto the internet then perhaps somwhere like Google and type in the errore message code, in this case it is “RunDLL”. You will then find certain ways as to resolving this problem.

Above shows a message of windows encountering a problem. We can gather information from this by clicking on the bit where it says To see what data this error report contains, click here. It allows us to send an error report to Microsoft or we can debug it.

Task 2 (P6)

Describe how organisational policies and procedures impact on the provision of technical advice and guidance

The provision of technical advice is very much influenced by the Organisation (company). Their training policies, budget, type of organisation (charity/other), company culture, work pressure, user IT expertise and other factors.

Describe in a report how the organisation policies and procedures affect technical support. This is not to be specific to Cranks Ltd but for companies in general. E.g A well managed company will have clear guidelines for the IT Technical Support role. A charity may not have much money so will not be able to afford a large well service IT Technical support area.

A company that is managed efficiently would have very clear guidelines. The organisations policies and procedures that could affect the IT Technical support which would be determined by the company. The policies and procedures that may influence the technical advice would consist of the companies training policies, budget, type of organisation (charity/ other), company culture, work pressure, user IT expertise and other factors.

Training Policies

A company with a good training policy would most definitely run more efficiently and be more professional. This would mean that the managers would have been well trained because everything would be running smoothly. In a good company they would be able to send employees to a training course meaning that the money is also good. From this the company’s employees would gain more knowledge as to what they have to do. This would most definitely enable the staff to be more efficient as in if there was new software that comes in they would be prepared as to what to do. If a company did not have a training policy they would most probably be uninformed as to what they would need to do. There are a few types of training policies which would consist of external and internal training. External would mean that the company would send you to perhaps a training course which would perhaps cost a bit more then internal training. Internal training would mean that you would train within the company. The amount of training that the IT Technical has done would depend on the organisation hence the better the company the better the IT Technical support will be.

Budget

A good company with loads of money would be able to employ more technicians which may not be the case for a charity where they are on a low budget where they may only have a few employees. The more employees you would have, the more efficient your company would be which wouldn’t be the case for a charity. An example of a company that would have a huge budget would be Microsoft. They have many employees and are able to expand in certain things as in the amount of computers. A charity like Oxfam would not be able to expand which would mean they would only have a few computers and employees. Overall a bigger budget would mean more and better things as in tr

aining, computers and more for the IT Technical Support. Type of

Organisation

The policies and procedures would depend on the type of organisation as in if it was a company like Microsoft they would have very high and clear policies and procedures. If it was a charity, the policies and procedures would be much more simple meaning they would not have as many targets as a large company would have. This would be because the bigger organisations would have more employees hence they would get through things much faster. This would mean that the IT Technical Support would be depend on the organisation as in Microsoft would have a big team whilst a charity like Oxfam would not.

Company Culture

This would depend on the employees. A company like Microsoft, Cisco and IBM would have a professional work culture because they would usually work in a team meaning a lot of cooperation would be needed as well as patients. If the staff relationships were good this would mean that they would be very professional meaning they would be able to do their work. This would mean that Microsoft, Cisco, IBM IT Technical Support would be very efficient as in the amount of work completed perhaps because they are company orientated.

Work pressure

This would depend on the type of company it is. If it is a very big company like Microsoft the work pressure would have very high standards because of all the deadlines that the staffs have to meet. The work pressure of the company would be able to tell whether the staffs are capable of performing the task as in if they can handle it. If they cannot then they would not be needed especially if they work for a company like Microsoft where all the policies and procedures are at a high standard. Overall it would mean that a large company would have a restricted time limit and a charity would have a longer amount of time. This would mean that the IT Technical Support would have to meet the deadlines.

User IT expertise

This would vary because at Microsoft the user IT expertise would be at a very high standard because they are trained to be very computer literate especially with the training that the company has therefore would depend on the training. For example a charity would not be that focused on the user IT expertise. It would depend if the user is well ne through the right educated meaning that they should have gone through the right procedures which would be linked to the amount of knowledge they have in order to work in a big company. This is needed so that the IT Technical Support knows what they are doing.

Other factors

Other factors would include Security as in which type of antivirus that the company would use, this would be mainly because of malicious threats also to prevent certain faults. A big company like Microsoft would use an antivirus that cannot be penetrated. A charity may use a normal one such as Norton or one that is better. Fire walls are used in order to stop fraud. Another factor would include the confidentiality; this would consist of the privacy of files that would be restricted to certain staff. The confidentiality would mean the client’s files as in their history, Address, Phone number, Date of Birth, account number, Age ECT. This would mean that they would have the data protection act in use where if in breach they would be sued for this. This would keep the IT Technical support on task which would mean that they would not be able to show files or share. Confidentiality is a major thing for a company where they protect certain things from people, it may either be encrypted.

Task 3 (M2)

Produce appropriate support material that will guide users in relation to a specific area of expertise

a) Produce support material that will guide the employees at Cranks Ltd in relation to an appropriate specific area of expertise. This support material can be for one of the following or choose your own. The procedure chosen should not be trivial and the support material should be in depth and cover every aspect of the procedure for everyone concerned.

* Procedure for advising the staff that the Operating System will be getting updated Tuesday 13th January

I will be producing support material that will guide the employees at Cranks Ltd in relation to the system getting updated. The support material that I will be providing will be in depth so that the staff will be able to understand it. The support material will be a letter and an email and a meeting will be held so that the staff will be well informed and aware of what is going to happen.

A letter will be produced which will be sent to the staff of Cranks Ltd twice, a week before the Operating system gets updated and then two days left to the system getting updated. The email sent to the staff would contain exactly the same information as the letter.

A meeting will be held for the IT Technical Support which would insure that the staffs are well prepared. The meeting will be held before the letter is sent out to the staff. The meeting will be a week before the operating system will get updated where an email will be sent to the staff informing them of the meeting. In this meeting I will be telling the staff what is actually going to happen and what needs to get updated.

Notifying the employees at the meeting

The Operating system will be implemented on the 13th January. The primary reason we are updating the operating system is so that it can perform tasks efficiently and allows you to get through more tasks throughout the day. This operating system features a friendly user interface. The operating system will have everything the previous operating system had but with a couple more features and it works more productively.

The Operating system package has been ordered to be sent to us on the 9th January so that everything is all set up for when the engineers come in to install the operating system. The engineers will be coming in on the 13th January 2009 for the whole day so that everything is set up correctly meaning functioning to the standard. The staff will have to make sure that everything is saved which also includes them having a back up file as an added security measurement. The staff will find using this system is no different from the other therefore know training will be needed. The area will be restricted until the engineers have completed the update therefore you will not be able to go into the area. Once the operating system is updated everything will commence as normal on the following day where you would continue on the tasks that you would usually do.

The procedure was explained during the meeting but as an extra measurement it will be shown on this letter which will be sent to the staff twice.

Letter

Dear IT Technical Support Staff

I am producing this letter as a guide to you in relation to the system getting updated on Tuesday 13th January 2009 for the whole day. This letter will consist of the procedure that will have to be taken before the Operating system will get updated.

Procedure

The Operating system will be implemented on the 13th January. The primary reason we are updating the operating system is so that it can perform tasks efficiently and allows you to get through more tasks throughout the day. This operating system features a friendly user interface. The operating system will have everything the previous operating system had but with a couple more features and it works more productively.

The Operating system package has been ordered to be sent to us on the 9th January so that everything is all set up for when the engineers come in to install the operating system. The engineers will be coming in on the 13th January 2009 for the whole day so that everything is set up correctly meaning functioning to the standard. The staff will have to make sure that everything is saved which also includes them having a back up file as an added security measurement. The staff will find using this system is no different from the other therefore know training will be needed. The area will be restricted until the engineers have completed the update therefore you will not be able to go into the area. Once the operating system is updated everything will commence as normal on the following day where you would continue on the tasks that you would usually do.

Yours sincerely

A.Gooman

Azhar Gooman

Email

Dear IT Technical Support Staff

I am producing this email as a guide to you in relation to the system getting updated on Tuesday 13th January 2009 for the whole day. This email will consist of what is happening and when also the procedure that will have to be taken before the Operating system will get updated.

Procedure

The Operating system will be implemented on the 13th January. The primary reason we are updating the operating system is so that it can perform tasks efficiently and allows you to get through more tasks throughout the day. This operating system features a friendly user interface. The operating system will have everything the previous operating system had but with a couple more features and it works more productively.

The Operating system package has been ordered to be sent to us on the 9th January so that everything is all set up for when the engineers come in to install the operating system. The engineers will be coming in on the 13th January 2009 for the whole day so that everything is set up correctly meaning functioning to the standard. The staff will have to make sure that everything is saved which also includes them having a back up file as an added security measurement. The staff will find using this system is no different from the other therefore know training will be needed. The area will be restricted until the engineers have completed the update therefore you will not be able to go into the area. Once the operating system is updated everything will commence as normal on the following day where you would continue on the tasks that you would usually do.

Yours sincerely

A.Gooman

Azhar Gooman

Task 4 (M3)

Explain the advantages and disadvantages to users and organisations of outsourcing the provision of technical support.

Cranks Ltd are considering outsourcing their IT technical support. This is to be a confidential report as this matter is very sensitive as if they outsource the Technical Support the staff in that area would be redeployed (employed elsewhere) or made redundant.

a) Explain the advantages and disadvantages for the staff at Cranks Ltd of outsourcing IT technical support.

There are many advantages for the staff at Cranks Ltd of outsourcing IT technical support

Advantages:

Outsourcing the staff would allow the business to be able to save on expenses if the IT Technical Support has outsourced such as certain equipment, software and maintenance of which the IT technical support would deal with. Once you have outsourced IT technical support there would be enough time to complete other tasks of yours. The technical support would have very good user IT expertise meaning that they are very knowledgeable in solving problems therefore would be able to work professionally especially in a team or as an individual. The company itself would have to pay a sum of money for outsourcing but once paid there will be no other expense as in equipment, software and more. Another advantage would be that the customer satisfaction would be improved drastically this is because of the efficiency that the technical support performs at. If outsourced abroad this would mean that they would learn the company’s culture and perhaps would have the ability to learn different languages.

Disadvantages

One of the most major disadvantages is that you will not have that much control over what happens once outsourced therefore things could change as in your first purpose of outsourcing the IT technical support, this would perhaps cause an interruption as in to the clients if the task is out of sight once outsourced. The clients will then end up leaving because of the quality of service. If you wanted to promote a technician you wouldn’t be able to because there would be none at the company At times there may be a communication barrier between you and the selected vendor therefore may become a slow process and wouldn’t be that efficient. The chosen vendors may have other plans to the selected outsourced department in this case would be the IT Technical support.

b) Explain the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing IT technical support for the Cranks Ltd Organisation (Business)

Advantages

Outsourcing the business would be a great way of helping it to grow in reputation which would then lead onto more clients. Once done the company would be able to have time on focusing on different factors which would also help it grow. The expenses would be reduced. The company would become very efficient meaning that it would be on task. The business would be able to save on expenses such as certain equipment, software and maintenance. Outsourcing the business would lead to an increase in quality which would mean that the reputation would increase which then makes the company money and perhaps even a bit of profit from the work produced. Another advantage would be that if outsourced abroad to somewhere like India, there would be a time zone difference as in night there and day here this would mean that the work would be done with much efficiency. lastly you would be handing most of the responsibility to the outsourced

Disadvantages:

There are many disadvantages towards outsourcing IT technical support for Cranks Ltd Organisation. One of them would be that there would be hidden costs which would mean that it would be expensive because you would be signing a contract and if abroad there would be more complications towards the cost. At times things could go wrong as in you would have to do a lot of research before outsourcing, this would mean choosing a good partner so that there are no complications as in deliveries and other factors. One of the major disadvantages of this would be that once the business has outsourced the confidential data would be in risk of exposure. Once the company has outsourced the employees are at risk of losing their jobs. The quality of the company might not be as it was because of the change and perhaps the way it will be managed and organised would be different. An outsourced company would perhaps lead away from customer focus this is because you will be more focused on the needs of other things. There may be a communication barrier. Lastly you will not have any control over the management. Lastly the vendor may be contracted to a multiple amount of other businesses therefore be more interested in the others.

BIBLIOGRAPGHY

http://jobs.lovetoknow.com/Pros_and_Cons_of_Outsourcing

http://www.flatworldsolutions.com/articles/advantages-disadvantages-outsourcing.php

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Advantages-and-Disadvantages-of-Outsourcing&id=1401755

http://www.ipmaxx.com/article.aspx?id=203958

http://cathlawson.com/2008/02/26/the-pros-and-cons-of-outsourcing/

http://www.bizhelp24.com/small-business-portal/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-small-business-outsourcing-3.html

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