MEET THE PLANET HERO’S – STEPHEN MCCRANN, IT HELPDESK MANAGER

At the core of Planet IT, is our award-winning IT Support Helpdesk. Made up of a team of over 30 top class engineers, they keep our client’s businesses functioning. At the head of this powerhouse team is Stephen McCrann, this week’s Planet Hero!

Ok, let’s cut straight to it – Over 6 weeks in June & July, your IT Helpdesk team achieved 100% Customer Satisfaction. That’s a complete lie right?

Not at all! It’s only just over our 2020 average of 98% too, which we’re really proud of!

I think a lot of people were surprised that we were working from home during it, I’ve got a really solid team and everyone likes to help each other and that’s the real core of how I like to work. We are really transparent with our clients and it means we can have a conversation with everyone as if they were in our own company and I think that’s a real key to our success.

 

Right, let’s rewind a bit. Tell us a little about yourself?

Haha this is always a difficult one, I’m one of those people that likes to get into everything, Whether that’s all types of cycling which really grew back during my courier days, bit of mountain biking, racing or even bike polo! Outside of cycling I enjoy FPV quads, playing video games, making things and just learning about different topics. I’m quite an independent person and like to learn lots of skills myself whether that’s in or out of work which is quite evident from the various life experiences I’ve had! I often feel like I’ve had a go at something at some point!

 

How did you get into IT and what brought you to Planet?

I got into IT quite late all things considered, I studied games programming in Uni and looking back at that time I had been fixing PCs for people for years because I just understood it and was surprised that other people that use them day in day out couldn’t!

My IT career all came about when I applied for a junior role when I was 24, Three people there took a chance on me and within a short period of time I was running that department with clients that are high profile household names. I loved the pressure and how it drove me to learn in such a small period of time and had a real good knit of people.

I moved to Oxfordshire as my girlfriend had a fantastic opportunity to continue the work she had done through her PhD in cancer research. Just by chance Planet we’re looking for engineers at the time and following an interview none of us will ever forget I knew I would be getting into a similar environment which would challenge me further!

An interview none of you will ever for forget… should I ask about that?

Yes, but not here ?

Ok, later then ?

 

So, why the helpdesk?

Helpdesk is an interesting place, you deal with weird and wonderful problems day in day out, you get to meet so many people and when you fix their issue there’s a real satisfaction and appreciation which is priceless. You get to work with so many different technologies and there is always something to learn, it’s even better when you can bring people in the team up with you.

How do you manage such a large team with so many users?

I have a real team of rockstar’s and they know it, As we mentioned we have a real track record with our survey responses and every single one goes back to the team so there is a real pride there.

We use Microsoft Teams on the helpdesk, this lets us talk to each other almost as if we were in the room with functionality such as screen share and control and with the bonus of being able to create chat groups on the fly, it’s invaluable. To back that up we always chip in and help each other through the day and those are really key to our success

What’s your favourite tool or hack that you think everyone should know?

Windows key, Shift + S. We all use screen snip and that’s one to have in the bag

 

What emerging technologies most excite you?

I really like automation and how that’s adapting to work with cloud technologies. This is something we are working with at the moment and the potential is massive, it’s always satisfying making something yourself and to be able to apply it and save yourself time or even better if it’s saving multiple people or the business.

My job and my team are problem solvers at heart.

What current tech can’t you wait to see improved or made redundant?

I got two things that really, one carrying multiple devices, I don’t want to have a phone, a laptop and what ever else you need to carry. Having a single do it all device would be great, I think we are getting there and USB-C is helping but we’re not quite there yet.

Another one I’m really hoping that 5G internet shakes up the scene with broadband for home and business, we shouldn’t settle for what we have and competition is always good for the consumer.

You get a great understanding of all Planet’s managed services clients. During this time of Covid – what business habits have you seen emerge? What has impressed you? What has shocked you?

Some companies were ready and I’ve seen a real shift in business investing in people and their IT. Companies were made to work from home and technology allowed that, What is really good is that it’s shaken up the traditional views. I also like how during this time we’ve broken down the corporate barriers and it feels more like you talk to people as opposed to the structure of the company. I think one thing which I covered in a recent webinar is that even though staff are home, security should be viewed the same as if you are in the office and going forward I think it’s important that companies invest back into their IT, things like moving to the cloud or getting a good working and resilient environment is more important now than ever, servers all in one office is no good for everyone at home when there’s a powercut!

 

What advice would you have for businesses right now?

Getting stuff offsite reducing risk, investing in tech so the business can do what it does best

Planet IT – what’s it like to work there?

Planet is full of brilliant individuals we have a real work hard play hard ethic which always means at the end of the week we can all have a good laugh. It was one of the main reasons for joining I wanted to join a family to which the directors certainly agreed it is and with that I feel I’ve been able to grow with the company as everyone has a voice.

 

Favourite Planet Memory?

There are so many memories it’s hard to choose, from spontaneous nights out to even the planned ones, the main things are the people and spending the day working with them, even on the odd occasion abroad and it not feel like work pretty special, Dublin was one of those!

 

Biggest challenge at Planet?

That’s a hard one, my job and my team are problem solvers at heart, Biggest challenge is that our work is carried out on our clients infrastructure and that adds it’s own complexity, no company is the same, no budget is the same and what is both fun and a challenge is getting that to work for everyone.

 

You’re from Wales right? Big into rugby? 

Haha I am, get me in a group or after a few and the accent comes out. Think most are just used to the weird phrases I come out with by now. Rugby and a pint of S.A are a right of passage back home and at the end of a night a curry with half and half or if you’re in town you head to chippy lane for a Dorothys! When the Six Nations are on you definitely know about it!

 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Always a cheesy music playlist and a BBQ with friends, During one of the planet get togethers we all decided to make the worst playlist possible, secretly it’s got a lot of bangers on it

 

This is all about Planet Hero’s – if you were a real life superhero, what would your superpower be?

I always like to be in the know and telepathy was always something that I thought was cool ever since seeing Jean Gray as a kid in the X-Men tv series

 

If you were to give advice to a 14 year old you – what would it be?

Just to focus on what you enjoy doing and the traditional views of going to university won’t make a real difference! Experience is key!

 

If you were to give advice to a young person thinking of entering the world of IT – what would it be?

During my time at planet I’ve had a few apprentices and I think that a can do attitude, the will to learn and gain experience is key. What worked for me and the ethos my team have is always be willing to give something a try and help each other out whenever you can. It takes you places.

Stephen McCrann leads our IT Helpldesk. He and his team are the first call any of our clients make when they have an IT question and are the powerhouse of the Planet offering. They consistently achieve over 98% customer satisfaction and often have a run of 100% (It’s true, just ask to see the stats!). There are few teams in the UK with the ability of Stephen’s. 

If you’d like to benefit from the service our existing clients rave about, then get in touch with Stephen on 01235 433 900 or email Stephen.McCrann@planet-it.net

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