How to Calculate the True Cost of Your IT

inexpensive appsDo you know how much you’re really spending on IT? For businesses with in-house tech support, the cost of the tools, processes and personnel necessary to handle the crucial task of tackling IT issues can add up fast. For example, a business with 100 average users, 3-5 servers, old equipment and basic support needs would probably need three full-time IT staff members and have an annual IT support cost of approximately $176,000 to $350,000.

If you want to break down and evaluate the true cost of your IT, be sure to consider the following categories:

1. Tools. In order to provide reliable and comprehensive IT support, techs need certain tools to identify and address issues.

• Ticketing portal: It’s important to do your homework and make sure you find the right ticketing portal for your organization. Think about how much it will cost you to purchase, set up and implement the portal – in addition to who will take responsibility for automation and ensuring you use the portal to its fullest potential. Finally, ask yourself who will perform upgrades and how often the portal will need them.

• Monitoring portal: You also need to do thorough research and carefully consider which monitoring portal works best for your business. Like the ticketing portal, this one will also come with costs associated with setup, implementation, upgrades, and the tasks of automation and ensuring optimal use of the portal.

• Remote access: The ability to access computers remotely can help IT professionals provide support more efficiently. It’s crucial to evaluate which remote access application best fits your company’s needs.

2. Processes. Aside from the tools IT techs need to provide optimal support, you’ll need to account for the resources your organization needs to invest in to manage IT support procedures.

• Updates and refinement: Who’s responsible for updating and refining IT support processes for your business?

• Solid escalation process: If your in-house IT professional requires additional support, you’ll need a well-defined method in place, whether it involves turning to peers, the manufacturer, or an external/outsourced IT services provider.

• Supervision: Who in your organization is responsible for supervising your IT staff? Typically, we see CFOs take on the task of overseeing technical staff. However, you should consider whether the CFO is really the right resource for managing and providing a roadmap for technical professionals.

• Documentation: Do you have documentation ready to go so that you can “hand over the keys” to your company’s IT to new tech staff members? If you don’t, you’ll want to consider how long it will take a new IT tech to go through the discovery and documentation process while still handling all of their other responsibilities.

• Procurement, parts replacement and IT asset management: Who is responsible for these laborious tasks? Finding the correct make, model and compatibility can take time. Locating the correct part and/or checking to see if a part is covered and then second sourcing it if it’s not is a science. Insurance companies typically ask you to update IT asset management audits on an annual basis. Who is setting reminders for warranty expiration and being proactive on those items? In addition, software manufacturers are even more diligent in performing license audits to ensure proper allocation.

3. Coverage. Particularly if you rely on one IT professional to meet your company’s needs, don’t forget to account for time off and potential limitations related to their skill level. It’s important to consider those factors and any adjustments you might have to make to ensure your business has adequate IT support coverage.

• Vacation: When your IT professional takes time off, do you know who will step up to temporarily take over their responsibilities?

• Sick days: Your IT professional will inevitably end up taking sick days, and you’ll want to figure out in advance who you’re going to turn to for the services and support you need when that happens.

• After hours: If your business experiences an IT-related emergency when your IT support professional is off the clock, how will you resolve the issue?

• Skill level: Can your IT support staff handle anything related to IT, or do you need to consider engaging with outside resources to meet all of your support needs? If you require external help, consider establishing and defining these partnerships ahead of time.

4. Onboarding and retention costs. The process of getting a new IT professional up-to-speed and ensuring that they stay on staff will take considerable time, effort and funding.

• Getting up to speed: How quickly do you expect an IT staff member to start serving your organization? Consider whether there are any systems they’ll need to set up or clean up in order to properly provide consistent support – and what the time it takes to make those adjustments will mean for your company in terms of efficiency and profit.

• Bad hires: If you have only one IT person, it could take about a year to identify them as a bad hire – all while your business loses time and money.

• Training: IT professionals want to keep learning and growing. Has your business set aside funds for the ongoing education of your IT staff? A 3 to 5 day course could cost as much as $5,000 – and you’ll have to figure out how to make sure the staff member’s responsibilities are still covered while they’re participating in training.

• Management and performance: Someone has to manage your IT staff and put effort into evaluating their performance. If your management staff members aren’t tech support focused, will they consider your company’s IT professional a good performer just as long as they’re running tickets?

5. Resolution times. You’ll want to consider factors that could affect issue resolution times, such as your IT professional’s level of expertise and how they go about prioritizing critical tech problems. Depending on how much your internal IT staff can handle and how quickly they can resolve issues, you might want to invest in supplementary external support.

• Expertise: Identify your IT infrastructure as well as line of business applications. Have your IT tech rate themselves on their experiences with these items. Understanding their skill level and experience can save you a lot of time up front. Is this individual versed only in end user support or can they handle complex server and infrastructure issues as well?

Truly understand the level of expertise and consider the benefits and risks of having this tech handle anything IT related versus outsourcing specific IT matters that require a more trained, experienced, and/or certified hand. If a server, line of business application or firewall goes down for a full day, what does that cost your business? In some cases, leaning on an overlay IT organization to provide higher level support and resolve issues as quickly as possible isn’t a bad business decision.

• Prioritization: If 5 critical issues come up at once, how will internal staff prioritize them? Is this clearly defined in a process and procedures documentation, or will it vary depending on the individual? What if an executive has a low-to-medium priority issue and another critical issue occurs at the same time?

If you’d like to break down and evaluate the overall cost of IT support for your company, check out the Stratosphere Networks IT savings calculator. We can tell you how many IT support staff you need and estimate how much that would cost.

Additionally, we can tell you how much you might save by outsourcing IT support. Turning to an external service provider can be a great way to contain costs. 86 percent of organizations that outsource desktop support and 74 percent of those that outsource their help desk spend either the same as or less than they would if they didn’t outsource, according to the Computer Economics IT Outsourcing Statistics 2015/2016 study.

If you’d like to learn more about calculating the true cost of your IT and how outsourcing compares to in-house IT support, contact us today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing

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