In the continued push to reduce overspending, increase workplace efficiency, and develop a fiscally sound work model, companies often neglect working toward lowering their IT costs. Whether your business has an in-house IT department or you outsource your IT work to another company, there are precautions you can take to avoid overpaying and being sold services you can’t benefit from.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice for companies shopping for IT services or attempting to make the most out of their internal IT teams without breaking the bank is to favor regular maintenance and proactive monitoring versus waiting to fix a problem when it occurs.
3 of the most common IT service models
Understanding how IT companies offer their services can prepare you to plan a better budget, or help you avoid companies that are only interested in making easy money off of your problems. There are three predominant service models that you’ll likely encounter as you shop around, so here’s a little info about each one to best prepare you.
“Break-fix” services model
This model covers time and materials only, usually by charging an agreed-upon hourly rate. This kind of IT services model addresses problems as they occur, or to complete a larger project.
Managed IT services model
This model places the IT services company into the role of “IT department.” The company offering this model will provide both phone and on-site support, software installation, device support for all connected devices, security, backup, and much more depending on their technology and capabilities as an IT firm.
Software vendor-supplied IT services model
Most software companies provide IT support in some way, typically in the form of remote support or a help desk, usually for a limited time or an additional fee. The catch is that this support doesn’t generally extend beyond their specific application or software, so you’ll lack support for the rest of your network and programs.
The key difference between these three popular models is in the breadth of their offered coverage. The first model (time and materials) focuses on solving individual problems when they become problems, so you lose access to true preventative, proactive maintenance. A managed IT services model provides continuous coverage and support for your network and all connected devices. Lastly, the vendor-supplied IT services model focuses more on support for individual applications than the network or PC they’re installed on.
A closer look at the “break-fix” and “managed IT services” models
These two service models are perhaps polar opposites. One is problem-oriented, while the other focuses on support. It may seem like a no-brainer to only pay for a service when it’s needed, but when it comes to IT and network support and security, proactive maintenance truly is key. If you’re only getting support when there’s an issue, you’re missing the opportunity to prevent those same problems.
Even when you’re getting 24/7 network support, you might not be getting everything you think you are (or expect to), so it’s important to read your service level agreement (SLA) to see everything that’s actually included in something like an all-inclusive service contract provided by a managed IT services company. This is the simplest way to know you’re covered, without worrying about being surprised by hidden fees or missing services.
Lowering your IT costs doesn’t have to mean living without protection for your company network or its PCs. If you’d like to learn more about how you can successfully budget for your IT needs, and still make sure you have the coverage your company needs to function, take a look at this free eBook on lowering your IT costs.