So, you may be wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work. Grandpa always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While we love Grandpa, that truism isn’t always true. Just like the customer is always right and other similar expressions, simply because people have been saying something forever doesn’t make it correct.
Still wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work?
Break-fix fails: waiting to take action when something breaks before you fix it can end up being costly and disastrous in the long run. Where do we find the balance between upgrading routinely and only replacing when you have no choice? Also, what does this have to do with this series’ theme of hiring an IT tech?
Break-fix Model: Let’s Break the Cycle
When a company grows and gets larger, certain things that used to seem important get pushed to the back burner. Some companies may even change their model and service style after rapid growth and incorporate the break-fix model. The break-fix model is also sometimes used due to having lower resources. These are usually issues that don’t have immediate ramifications. Unfortunately, this often includes technology, such as computers, servers or copiers, as well as software. While there’s no built-in self-destruct date on these machines or programs, just because you can use something doesn’t mean that you should use it.
Many of us have computers that we may have used for close to a decade. But have you ever had a computer suddenly die on you? Or what about needing a software upgrade, but your hardware can’t handle it? These have happened to all of us at some point. While it might be an inconvenience on a personal level, it can be devastating for a business. Equipment going down unexpectedly can mean a massive loss of productivity or worse, loss of precious data.
Despite this, many still choose to rely on replacing equipment only when it breaks. This puts you at the mercy of whatever the items costs the moment you need it. You might be able to find a sale, but more than likely, you’ll end up paying the full retail price. If you choose to replace all equipment of a regular schedule, you can end up getting volume discounts.
Let’s use some general numbers here. Suppose a workstation costs $1000 per employee.If you have 25 employees that $25,000 to replace all the workstations. If you buy everything at once, you’ll end up getting a volume discount. In this case, we’ll go with a 20% discount. That would be a savings of $5,000 to replace equipment that you would already have to replace anyway — or $5,000 wasted in purchasing one by one. Not only that, but you would have no idea how much you would be paying on a monthly or yearly basis if you replace one by one. One month you could be paying $0 and the next $5,000.
Not So Easy Break-fix!
Naturally, there’s a lot more involved in replacing equipment that signing a check. For starters, when would you need to replace the hardware? Where would you purchase it? How are you going to negotiate the volume pricing? What kind of equipment do you actually need? How do you budget this out? Who’s going to go to swap out the equipment? What do you do with the old equipment once it’s replaced?
Your IT department or outsourced MSP typically handles these concerns. While the equipment in question is crucial to operations, you most likely don’t have someone with the qualifications or bandwidth to figure all of this out. That’s what an IT professional does. This is a reason that it doesn’t make financial sense not to have some sort of IT tech.
Spending Dollars Can Make Sense
As we’ve already mentioned, holding out to make purchases only when they’re absolutely necessary can end up costing you a ton in the long run. It’s logical to make sure you have someone consistently addressing your IT needs before there are issues. In the first article in this series, though, we showed how it makes the most financial sense to consider using an MSPcc over an in-house IT tech or a whole department.
Beyond the factors of salary, insurance and other expenses related to that employee, you also have to consider how an MSP can save you money in different ways. For example, you wouldn’t be their only customer, which means that their purchasing power is much stronger, giving you a better volume pricing. While you may only need 25 computers, that MSP might be purchasing 100 between you and their other customers, so they can negotiate a much better discount.
Also, a good MSP will replace all hardware and software not up to standard at the beginning of your contract. While this might seem like a financial shock at first, it saves you in the long run. If your MSP knows every single piece of your equipment, then future upgrades or repairs will be fast and within budget.
Another great advantage is being able to budget. Replacing your equipment only as it breaks can lead to extreme un-budgeted fluctuations in your IT expenses. When you hire an MSP, you know what you’ll be paying monthly and yearly.
Break Free from the Cycle
If you’re tired of being stuck in the same old break-fix cycle: contact us today! We pride ourselves on helping our customers not only spend less by preparing for the future, but making sure there aren’t any gaps in productivity. Our experienced staff will go over your current system in detail. Then, they’ll create a comprehensive plan that makes sense for your business. We’ll make sure that that the only cycle you’re involved with includes your success!
So, you’re working on drafting an IT professional job description. This series covers the most important factors to consider before you hire an in-house IT tech or team. Our last article reviewed the hidden costs of hiring an IT Professional. Now, we’re talking about what IT actually does besides ask if you turned your computer off and back on again.
Depending on the size of your organization, work in IT can be complicated and time-consuming. Let’s go over the major job responsibilities of IT professionals beyond tech support and equipment maintenance.
Outside organizations most often provide your Internet, copy machine, phone system, and computer equipment. When they break, need maintenance, or require warranty replacement, the IT person interacts with the vendor. Oftentimes, they’re responsible for communicating between multiple vendors that frequently point fingers at each other. The IT person spends a great deal of time sorting out the underlying issues, determining what’s really wrong, and implementing a fix. If they can’t fix the problem themselves, their effort goes to convincing a vendor to help.
Keeping Up with the Technologies
While many of us might be preoccupied with what our favorite celebrities are up to on any given day, IT personnel are keeping themselves informed on what’s going on in the world of tech outside their organizations.
Remember when you bought software and it stayed exactly the same until you went to the store and bought the newest version? These days, software updates happen regularly, sometimes multiple times a week. However, since various companies often make the programs, they tend not to play well together. This means that your IT techs need to understand what the updates are, what benefits they could bring, as well as when and how they should be implemented, if at all.
In addition, they’re consistently looking out for new software that might be better than what’s currently in use.
Sometimes it’s best to completely scrap a system and start over. For instance, while there may be improvements you can make to enhance your telecom system, perhaps you should upgrade to a pure VoIP communication system. If you’re still running servers on-site, perhaps it’s time to think about a virtual office. If your hardware is over three years old, it’s time to start planning for a refresh. An IT person must remain on top of all technology and know about the new innovations that will make your business more efficient.
This is the elephant in the room right now. Cyber threats are not only growing by the day, but they’re also changing. Being up to date is no longer an issue of merely updating your antivirus software. Unfortunately, many of the attacks we see are the result of someone falling asleep at the wheel. Hackers are continuing to innovate new ways to get to their targets cause damage.
The best way for IT professionals to make themselves useful in this regard is to not only update software and the network but to educate the rest of the company on ways to keep from being the accidental cause of a data breach. This crisis prevention is one of the most important and proactive jobs for a successful IT professional.
The Sad Truth
You may have noticed the number of duties in this article outside of fixing broken technology. If it seems like way too much work for one person, that’s because it is. To fulfill all of the responsibilities of a responsible IT professional, you would need to have multiple people with a variety of skill sets. Of course, this adds to the expense of a department that’s supposed to help you keep costs down and simplify operations.
For this and other reasons, many companies turn to MSPs for their IT needs. You have access to a team of professionals that not only have the expertise needed to do the job of an in-house IT department, but also have the time, opportunity, and personnel to stay up to date on the latest developments.
Do you find your business needing more assistance with your IT? Have you thought about hiring an IT professional or outsourcing those duties? If the answer to these questions is yes, then contact us today to see how we can maximize efficiency while giving you one less headache to worry about. With our decades of experience, you’ll find yourself on the cutting edge in no time!