What types of IT Support are there?

August 21, 2018

When we are with prospective clients, a common problem is the confusion caused by comparing apples with oranges when looking at IT support proposals. ‘Michael, we really like your company, but I need to understand why you are so much more expensive’ is a common response to our proposals.

As with many professional services, drawing a comparison can be very difficult, and although each IT Support company largely offers the same service, they all have their own way of pricing the service and what it includes. Our pricing is on a fixed fee basis, so everything is bundled into one monthly cost, whereas a competitors quote might look cheaper because t hey haven’t factored these into the monthly cost and will bill separately on an annual basis for some other elements. This can be confusing enough, but that isn’t the only factor to consider either.

So to try and help you, here is a run-down of the three basic and most common types of service you can expect to receive quotes for.

 

Break Fix / Ad-Hoc

This method of working in the IT industry has largely died out. It is a purely reactive service to any IT issues you may have, it breaks, you call, the IT company fix it and you are often charged per hour.

The problem with this way of working is that costs are unpredictable, and there is no onus on the IT company to properly resolve an issue to stop it re-occurring. This was exactly the way Southern IT worked when we started in 2003, but technology has changed, and so have the requirements of our clients which the break fix model doesn’t support.

When might it be a fit for your business?

If you are already a technical company, or have someone employed in-house and just require a 2nd or 3rd level of support for those trickier issues or projects.

 

Block Hours

The only real difference between block hours and Break Fix is that you have a pre-purchased block of hours, usually in multiples of 10. They are more commonly bundled with additional services such as Backup, Anti-Virus / Anti-Maware etc and so if your IT support provider sees issues with these, they can remediate the issues using the time that you have pre-purchased.

You may have an agreement with your service provider that they can work on issues without authorisation up to 30-60 minutes per issue.

 

Fixed Monthly Fee’s

Also know in the Industry as a ‘Managed Service Provider’ these providers (Southern IT Included) set a fixed fee, usually per user or per device to include all the services a business needs day to day.

At Southern IT we work on a fixed cost per user, but you’ll most likely find a 50/50 split amongst companies offering per user or per device. We chose per user as we believe it’s easier for you, the decision maker to ‘get’. No counting printers or smartphones, routers or switches as well as PC’s and Laptops – just a fixed fee per user for up to 4 devices, that usually covers your mobile working with an Office PC, Laptop, tablet and smartphone.

 

When may ‘per device’ be a fit for your business?

If you have operations that have many more staff than PC’s, warehouses may be a good example. Although we make allowances for such set ups if you were to ask us to price for such a scenario.

To confuse things further, there is no rule book that says what each Managed Service Provider should provide, so whilst being slightly easier for you to compare quotes, they are most likely still not an exact ‘like for like’.

 

If you have any questions about pricing of IT Support, feel free to give us a call for a friendly chat.