Warning – I am going to get a bit ridiculous in this post, and you may feel I am stating the obvious but please stay with me – it will help you out when choosing the right type of IT support – or maybe even help you in other areas of decision-making, too.
When approached by potential prospects, we often hear “How much do you charge for tech support“, or “My boss just asked me to get pricing quotes on IT services,” or even “Don’t try to sell me a Cadillac when I just need a cheapest basic car to get from point A to point B.”
We get it. A desire to stick to your bottom line is perfectly understandable. However, it is not a reasonable line of questions. It is like asking “how much does a vehicle cost?” without considering all the variables. People tend to think of “luxury” support vs. “standard” support and want to make sure they are not overspending. I have seen this car or otherwise “luxury vs basic” analogy in the IT world so many times, I feel a need to correct it.
Well-delivered Managed Services and IT Support plans are not about the luxury bells and whistles. They are about proper tools for the job that is required by your business.
It is best to think of your business as a “job”: what “tools” would you need to make sure that the job is done right? Let’s imagine a construction business, that needs construction equipment. If you dig holes for a living, you may be interested in a tool for digging holes – such as a shovel.
Let me get ridiculous:
Take a look at the gallery below: each picture can technically represent a type of shovel in it, right? (Am I serious? Yes. Please, hang in here with me…)
So… How Much for a Shovel?
Of course, you are probably rolling your eyes right now. Of course, you would account for the job factors and the extent of your available tools and potential needs, needs and then approach the qualified vendors that have the right tools.
You would be surprised how often people do not think of that when calling IT support companies. People call and say “I have couple of servers and about a dozen computers, oh, and some people use their laptops, sometimes…. so how much would it cost me to get tech support?” It’s like saying “I have a few holes to dig, and rocks to move around, so how much are a shovel and some tools?” If you are not with me yet,
… let me continue with my ridiculousness: let’s dig a few holes!
Of course, you would consider the type of job before thinking about the cost. Before scoping the right equipment for the hole-digging job, you will consider the size of holes, the state of the ground or rock in it. A few holes in a quarry are not the same as a few holes in the garden. You need the right tool for the right job. You need to get all the information on the job site, get survey info, get permits, make sure your “shovel” needs gas, oil, licensed operators, regular service, etc. So the cost of one project may not be the same as the cost of others. You may only need a mini excavator for a small backyard job, or you may need a fleet of giants for a huge quarry project. As you can see, even tools of seemingly the same class – such as “excavators” – cannot be compared.
OK, enough with the obvious, you get the picture… moving on to IT technology for your business.
The model of IT service you choose for your business will be the biggest factor for your IT budget.
There are several IT support models such as “break/fix” (which is almost obsolete) “ala-carte”, and Managed Services among the most popular choices. Take these factors into consideration, before deciding which IT support model is best for your small or medium-sized business.
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7 important aspects of IT service needs for your business
1. Consider business-critical technology requirements
Many variables in your IT support package will depend on what is necessary for your operations to run. Think of these questions:
- If faulty technology stopped working working, or got your process interrupted, how will it affect your business today, and how will it reflect on you in the long run?
- How long will you have to wait for tech support?
- How much money in billable hours or product you may be losing while your systems are down?
- How much money you will be losing to pay idle employees?
- Will you suffer reputation damage and how much it will cost you to restore it?
When you start thinking this way, you will realize that proper IT support package is not just an expense, but a smart investment that protects you from leaking money.
Think of what is necessary to make sure your business doesn’t stop running properly, and better yet, how it can proper your business forward. Think of more efficient systems, a specific type of backup and disaster recovery plan, cyberthreat incidents and disaster response, failover methods and so on. Once you determine where the IT falls on the scale of importance to your organization, making good decisions about the scale and type of support that your business need would be easy.
2. Get past a cost of purchase block
Most SMBs focus on the purchase. Do not forget – paying for IT and expenses for new hardware (computers, phones, tablets and servers, and software (operational systems, office document processing, accounting program, etc) – all items that you purchase and can “touch and feel” the IRS regards as assets and allows for their value to depreciate.
But IT investment goes further: remember the total cost of ownership (TCO): of technology you need to keep your business set up and running at the best performance level. That includes hardware and software. Do not forget about technology-related subscriptions, renewals, internet or phone connections, and various service fees. The TCO can result in 3 or 4 times more money than you pay as cost of purchase. Your budget expectations should become more realistic once you realize that..
Always remember – just like a shovel at a job site, your technology is a tool that enables your organization to perform at it’s finest. It is your responsibility to ensure your business is equipped with proper tools, and keep them perfectly maintained either in-house or via contracting an IT Services provider.
You don’t want to spend money on luxury items you don’t need (Cadillac), but the proper tool that would perform best for your business (excavator) may be a smarter investment compared to some shovels.
3. Consider your employees, their productivity, and office morale
Is outdated technology affect your company morale? Does daily routine of your employees and the responsibilities they carry require better technology? Are they educated and trained to fully utilize technology available to them? How do they feel when the are not able to keep their performance and productivity levels when they are limited by faulty or outdated technology? Does it affect team spirit? And don’t forget to ask: how does my use of technology affect my customers? In the end, all of the above will result in what you see at the bottom line.
4. Consider the devices your employees are using
While per-user pricing may seem more straightforward, per-device pricing is most effective. An employee (user) with a various devices such as desktop, laptop, home PC, tablet, and smartphone may need a more significant level of tech support than an employee or part-time staff with only one in-office device, such as a laptop or a desktop PC. More devices may require more maintenance, especially when they run on various platform or use different software for the same tasks.
Devices acquired, leased, or maintained through your Managed Services Provider (MSP) are typically set up for the most optimal support model, and are standardize. Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) such as personal and mobile devices used to connect to work location are at risk of being a weak link and make your systems network vulnerable to external cyber threats, exposure to third-party or unauthorized access, etc. and will require additional support.
Not every type of SMB will fit one or another tech support model an be a subject for either a per-user or a per-device price. A proper assessment and a consultation conducted prior to engaging with the tech support services is fundamental. It allows to identify technology needs with respect to mission-critical business processes, and establish a realistic, reason-based scope of technology setup and support your business network needs to keep your organization up and running at the most efficient level.
5. Is your business a subject to compliance regulations?
It is common for an SMB to need compliance requirements met for various regulatory standards and guidelines. Most commonly regulated industries and associated services – IT Service for Medical Offices and IT Support for Law Firms among others need extra solutions. Their compliance needs and technology requirements are strict and keep evolving. If you are in a regulated industry, you may be required to only work with a qualified IT Services Provider to implement important regulatory-driven changes in your technology arsenal and business process. Is your IT provider qualified to research, implement, and manage your IT to comply with rules and regulations of the law? Having important needs like industry compliance is an important factor in deciding which services are critical to your business. Make sure to choose the IT support provider is right for you.
6. Question the choices you make toward your business goals
Is your current situation suited best for your plans and goals or is it just holding you over because you are not sure change is necessary or justified? Does it make sense to hire an IT consultant? What are your business goals and how does technology fit into reaching them? Does your current bundle of software applications, platforms, devices and processes help you get there successfully? Would your business benefit from improving your current state of IT or investing in new technology to help you reach your goals faster?
7. Consider your Return on Investment (ROI)
When it comes to paying for IT, most owners feel they are already overspending. They think of money for computers, printers, upgrades and renewal fees, and are always suspicious of a need to upgrade their technology (“There is nothing wrong with what we have now!”) If you already have an IT department or a dedicated IT person on staff, you know how much money goes into salaries, overtime, benefits, and overhead costs.
Benefits of Managed IT Services (a complete guide) are more obvious to business owners that pay for the in-house IT workforce compared to those not with a full-time IT employee or a department, but rather with a visiting “IT guy” that comes and fixes what breaks when it happens. So SMBs pay the cost of hardware and software, and also go by the bill they pay their visiting IT support person. There are also other factors to be taken into account, such as systems, servers, or the whole network downtime, breakdowns, vendor management. Do you actually know the full numbers behind the loss of productivity and use of time spent in those?
Not every support model is the best fit for the attractive ROI.
Most SMBs who adopted the Managed IT Services model used to feel they spent too much on IT, too. What they found out with us is that they can save up to 50% of money spent on Managed services compared to tech support based on break/fix model, or even an ala-carte (pick-and-choose) pricing.
When talking to an Managed Services Provider (MSP) ask them to calculate the ROI numbers for their model of service to verify that it would be a model of service suited best for your business purpose for proper estimate and to Get IT Service Quote
Of course, there may be other aspects to pay attention to when looking for the best price that fits your budget. In any case, please, consider these tips during your decision-making process when figuring out on the best IT Support model, and choosing a professional IT Consultant or Managed Services Provider for your SMB.
When opting for best price on IT services, consider these 3 quick tips:
- Think beyond the Cost of Purchase and remember the Total Cost of Ownership
- Consider morale and productivity needs of your team
- Calculate your ROI when choosing the IT Support model
If your business is in the New Jersey area, and you are looking for a reliable, professional Managed IT Support company, we are ready to help you with your technology needs and business goals. Through proactive monitoring and expert-level management, we fix or even prevent issues before they potentially occur. We can handle your tech support needs on-site or remotely, making sure your operations run smoothly, while staying behind the scenes without interrupting your business.
Let us create a Managed Services plan for your SMB and give you access to a team of IT experts comprised of highly skilled network engineers and technicians at a fraction of a cost of a full-time IT staff.
Take advantage of our Managed Services: monthly IT support plans.
How is your state of IT? Call Us: (855) 551-7760 with any questions.