It perplexes me when a potential client is complaining about IT Support, has used 3 different IT companies, pays time and material for services and still does not want to consider Managed IT Support for their company.
The reason why so many companies are using Managed IT support is due to its various benefits over a Time and Material model. Now, just like with any other industry, you can find a poor Managed IT Services company and still have a bad experience. The difference lies in the coherent differences between the two. The natural structure of Managed IT provides more proactive service, better documentation and stability for you network.
Managed IT Service is based on the principal of a flat monthly fee for unlimited IT support. A good Managed IT company is focused on proactive services they can provide that increases the stability of your network. This, inherently, makes them more money. This is why so many of them include services like Anti-virus and Patch Management. IT experts know that Patch Management and Anti-Virus help to minimize risks and reduce the number of viruses and security threats in a company. It is much cheaper to prevent these then it is to recover from them.
Additionally, monitoring tools help Managed IT companies see issues before they arise. This allows them to better plan to prevent problems. Almost all problems have minor alarms that are sent before major alarms. If you have software analyzing this, then it prevents the catastrophe from ever happening.
Sure, they can do the above also. The difference is, most Time and Material companies lack the financial incentive to do so. Why would they spend more to prevent a problem when they can spend less and make more when the problem occurs? There are always exceptional companies, but the financial incentive to be proactive is not there.
Again, it comes down to financial incentive. Sure, anyone can document. For Time and Material companies, the documentation takes longer and it is not something the customer generally wants to pay for. For Managed IT, the more they document the more long-term profit the company makes. Since they are flat fee, if they properly document the company reduces time to resolution. They can also allow lower personnel costs. With proper documentation, you can get problems resolved with various skill sets. If it takes Time and Material 30% longer to do a task due to lack of documentation, who benefited from this?
If you have a company who is constantly monitoring your network and makes more money the more stable your network becomes, the more likely you are to have a stable network. If the only way someone makes money is if something breaks or if you make a change, then the incentive to make the network as stable as possible is greatly reduced.
Managed IT Services has numerous other benefits too. Since Managed IT companies have fixed monthly income, they can better predict their work force. This allows for a well-staffed department with higher end resources.
If a company is operating a Time and Material model and service tickets slow down, they have to release work force. Since it takes 3 – 4 months to find and hire quality IT, when things pick up again service will suffer.
Managed IT companies can budget the IT needs of their customers with the revenue coming in. Sure, they may release talent if they lose a large client but in most cases the good ones just focus on back filling that revenue as quickly as possible.
Managed IT companies generally have better tools to monitor, fix and stress test your network. These tools help to create a stable environment and therefore increase their profitability. When a time and material company buys a tool, they have to hope they can sell the service vs. it becoming a value add.
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