It’s a question that stumps every business owner — why does IT cost so much?
The answer is deceivingly simple. Most business owners don’t know how much it should cost to begin with.
If you’re not in the IT field, it’s easy to underestimate the power of a stable, strategic IT environment. Great IT means your business is running smoothly. It’s an underpinning of your operations, so you almost forget it exists.
Today we’re talking sticker shock, including why IT support costs vary so much and how to determine the best fit for your business.
When you get an IT quote, you’ll almost always be able to find a cheaper option. But cheaper doesn’t mean better. It’s important to know the trade-offs and how they will affect your business.
Many business owners rely on the pay-as-you-go or break-fix model of IT support.
Rather than a flat monthly fee, businesses are charged hourly for every support request. The average rate for a support technician businesses is $70-90 per hour but can increase depending on the experience and type of project.
At first glance, it looks like the most cost-effective option. But there are a few issues with this model.
To start, it’s reactive rather than proactive IT support.
If you’re operating on a pay-as-you-go model, there’s a huge gap in services. You don’t get support until there’s a problem — when you’re already experiencing a loss of productivity and downtime.
There’s also no oversight or ongoing management.
Patching is the No. 1 way to protect your IT environment. Threats like WannaCry, Spectre and Meltdown could have been prevented with patches and regular IT maintenance.
The break-fix model also doesn’t account for future IT costs. When an issue occurs, it can cost your business in downtime, productivity and revenue down the road. For example, say you ignore server updates or keep pushing off hardware upgrades. Your IT environment will most likely break down more often and your equipment won’t last as long. Paying for regular maintenance is much more cost-effective than replacing IT infrastructure entirely.
See the difference between a break-fix and managed services company.
Sticker shock comes when companies look to transition from a break-fix to a managed services model.
The managed services level contract appears more expensive at first. But it’s a better long-term solution in terms of IT support costs, health and productivity of your IT environment.
Managed IT services is more comprehensive than break-fix IT support. Here’s what you’ll typically get with hiring a managed IT services company:
See our article on the VMware patch for Spectre and Meltdown.
Avoiding sticker shock begins with understanding the IT needs of your business. You need to understand what your IT environment looks like today, your IT needs and goals.
Many business owners skimp on investing in IT operations and strategy. Employee support is the most visible, well-known aspect of IT. It’s easy to deprioritize database and server management when you have endless amounts of employee help desk requests.
Gartner’s 2017-2018 budget predicted IT costs should be 2.3 percent of your annual revenue. If you’re in a heavily regulated industry with strict compliance requirements such as healthcare or insurance, it may be slightly higher at 3 to 4 percent.
IT operations should be around 50 percent of your budget. Employee support such as help desk support tickets and troubleshooting should only be 25 percent.
To manage IT support costs, you need to know what you have. Here’s how to get a comprehensive view of your IT needs.
Get a free network and security assessment today.
With Helixstorm, you’ll never have to worry about exorbitant IT support costs getting out of hand. We conduct a thorough IT assessment to create a custom IT roadmap that’s aligned with your business goals, so you know exactly where you’re investing and what you’re getting out of it.
Give us a call today to see what managed services can do for you.