As a company, it is often wondered, “What should I really be paying for my IT support?” This question is often posed from the CFO, owner, or office manager when outsourcing IT services. The trend has been to get a fixed monthly IT service rate. This way, you watch your bottom line and receive endless IT support when needed.
But, the question still remains, “Are you overpaying or priced properly for your IT managed services?”
Well, there are a lot of factors to consider and I’ll say upfront that not every customer is the same as you know. So, let’s flesh out some of the factors to look at:
- Amount of Users vs Computers – Many IT managed providers will just take the amount of computers and take a multiplier of $50 – $150 and that’s it, end of story. But, if you have a user that has a Voice over IP phone, iPhone, laptop, iPad, and temperamental printer, is that really considered just one device? On the company end, it behooves management to not be so forthcoming with all these associated user devices. What I’m trying to say is there may be a premium added to additional devices per user. So, if you feel the rate may be high, ask yourself if your provider is liberally supporting more than just computers. If you feel it’s a cookie-cutter per computer situation that doesn’t get a lot of request calls, you can always renegotiate come renewal time.
- Define which devices are supported – On the IT provider end, a meet and greet or inventory list of IT devices will show what is supported and what is not. Some users may need help with their iPhone iCloud backups whereas others are savvy enough to handle their portable devices, including iPad minis and Apple watches. Both parties should know eyes-wide open which devices are supported. As a company, it is very important to define to your users which equipment is supported. You wouldn’t want to waste time and money on your IT support company to service your Ricoh printer if Ricoh is already charging you an annual service contact to repair it. Similarly, you don’t want to mishandle your IT budget by having Jane in the mail room bug the IT support team to fix his Mindcraft app on his Samsung Galaxy phone.
- Who’s supporting your email and file storage? If you already have an external company handling your email or online backup, such as GoDaddy, Google, or Office 365, you may not want to pay your IT provider for this to save a couple bucks. In contrast, you may want to take a laissez-faire attitude to all things-tech. That’s why you’re outsourcing your IT. The point here is if your backup is already in good shape where all computers and server are backing up fine online and no further support is needed for this, mention it. Chances are your IT company will not charge extra and keep an eye out on it. If you are having back-up problems, definitely mention it so it can be resolved and this will probably require an extra charge. Don’t lie or else your files and IT will suffer by your computer company not knowing the real situation.
- How old are your computers? If your computers are pushing 4-6 years old, this may factor into the overall monthly rate. Or your provider may take the proactive approach to replace all older computers so that the network is stable prior to supporting all the IT tasks. I like the more reasonable approach by offering an above-base cost to refreshing an older computer. This means there will be a separate charge for the hardware cost plus if some hand-holding onsite is required with the new computer setup, it will be billed at an hourly rate.
- Do you consider your staff tech savvy? If your staff is a bunch of luddites, well, you’ll consider your IT guy your savior or Superman. If your guys can get around fixing the average printer or Internet issue, then your IT budget should reflect that. This soft skills requirement, for below average staff technical skills, must be accounted for.
Now, based on all these factors, this is how can we calculate the monthly IT service rate:
- Each Computer = $100
- Each Server = $150
- User Literacy Multiplier = .75 (Savvy Staff) – 1.5 (Luddite Staff)
- Age of Computers Multiplier = .75 (Brand-spanking new – 1.5 (Old and need replacements ASAP)
- Extra Device Multiplier = Add .05 (Includes iPhones, iPads and other devices that need steady support)
- Email/Online/Vendor Support Multiplier = .75 (No support needed, all taken care of by vendors) – 1.5 (Requires setup and/or constant support)
Let’s take an example to test out the monthly IT service calculator. Say we have 10 computers with 1 server. We are at 10 computers x $100 = $1,000, plus $150 for the server. So, we’re at $1,150 at a monthly rate. 7 computers are in good condition without any issues, 1 is brand-spanking new, and 2 are old and need to be replaced yesterday. The good condition ones are factored into the normal support, while we multiply 2 old computers x 1.5 and 1 new computer x .75. So, we have $200 old computers x 1.5 equaling $300 + $100 new computer x .75 totaling $75. So, we are looking at $300 (2 old computers) + $75 (1 new computer) + $700 (7 in good-shape computers) + $150 server = $1,225. Now, if you have a somewhat technical staff who is not so needy, than you can keep the user literacy multiplier at 1. If half the staff requires iPhone support for iCloud backups, updates, and optimizing space, you can cad .05 x 5 = .25, or if 5 of the good -shape computers have users who need iPhone support as well, you can tack on $500 x .25 = $625. Let’s assume the email/vendor support is stable and requires normal support so it will be a multiplier of 1. So, the totals will now be $300 (2 old computers) + $75 (1 new computer) + $200 (good-shape computers) + $650 (good-shape computers + iPhone support) + $150 server = $1,375/monthly rate.
The bottom line here is that everything can and should be calculated. To attain these calculations to ensure you’re paying exactly what you should, you and the IT service provider should both perform an honest assessment of all the devices, equipment, and user competency.