When approached by local Sacramento small business owners looking for IT support, we often hear questions such as “how much would it cost me to have IT support”, or “we are just calling companies for a lowest price on tech support – if you are not the cheapest, we need to find someone who is”. While desire to be on budget is understandable, this is not the most effective approach. It is like asking “how much does a car cost?” without considering all the variables.

Actually, comparing IT services to a car is not the best analogy, because people tend to think of “luxury” support vs. “standard” support and want to make sure they are not overspending on a Cadillac when they just need a standard, no frills, and dependable sedan to get them from point A to point B.

I have seen this car analogy in IT world so many times, I feel it’s often not the best analogy. It is best to think of your business as a business that needs tools. Let’s imagine your business is construction business that needs construction tools. If you dig holes for a living, such as a general contractor, then you may be interested in a tool for digging holes – such as a shovel. Pretty fair assumption right?

So… How much is a shovel?

Of course you are probably laughing now at the ridiculousness of this example, and you would not just call places and start asking “how much is a shovel” if you wanted to buy one? Most likely, you would probably do your research on the extent of your needs, and call qualified places that have the right equipment. You would have an idea on the type of shovel, before calling and asking for a quote.

You would be surprised how often people do not know the extent of their needs before calling IT support companies. We often get calls like the following:  “I have 2 servers and 10 computers, and some phones, how much would you charge for IT support”? To us, it’s like saying “I have a few holes to dig, and rocks to move around, so how much is a shovel and some tools?”

 

Of course, you would consider the type of a job before thinking about a budget. Before scoping the right equipment for the hole-digging job, you will consider the size of holes, the state of the ground or rock in it. A few holes in a quarry are not the same as a few holes in the garden. You need the right tool for the right job. You need to get all the information on the job site, get survey info, get permits, make sure your “shovel” needs gas, oil, licensed operators, regular service etc. So the cost of one project may not be the same as the cost of others. You may only need a mini excavator for a small backyard job, or you may need a fleet of giants for a huge quarry project. As you can see, even tools of seemingly the same class – such as “excavators or shovels” – cannot be compared.

OK, enough with the obvious, you get the picture… moving on to IT technology for your business.

7 things to consider when deciding which model of IT service is right for your business?

There are several IT support models, including “break/fix”, “ala-carte”, and Managed Services among most popular choices. Take these factors into consideration, before deciding which IT support model is best for your small or medium size business.

  1. Consider importance of your business technology to your business processes

If your printer stopped working, or your network service is interrupted, how will it affect your business? The answer to this question will determine many variables in your IT support package. You may be in position to wait a few hours for a “break/fix” support, or you may be losing business every minute your system is down. You may need a specific type of backup and disaster recovery plan, or emergency response services.

 

Once you determine where the technology falls on the scale of importance to your business, it would be easier for you to make decisions about the extent of support for you IT needs.

  1. Consider the real cost of technology

Most other small business owners focus on the cost of purchase. There are capital costs such as new hardware (computers, phones, tablets and servers, and software (operational systems, office document processing, accounting program, etc.) – all items that you purchase initially to get your business started.

 

But investment does not stop there: in reality, one must also think of TCO (total cost of ownership): hardware and software also need other things to get it set up, and to keep your business up and running. These items often include: software subscriptions, renewals, internet or phone connections and various service fees. The TCO is often 3-4 times more what you pay for the hardware in the first place. Realizing that may actually help you be more realistic in your budget expectations.

 

Always remember – your technology is your tool that allows your business perform at its best. It is your responsibility to have proper tools and keep them properly maintained.

You don’t want to spend money on luxury items you don’t need (such as a Cadillac), but the proper tool that would perform best for your business (excavator) may be a smarter investment compared to some shovels.

 

  1. Consider your employees, their productivity and office morale

How do your employees cope with outdated technology? Do their daily routine and responsibility require the latest technology? Are they properly trained to make the most of their available technology? How do they feel when things do not perform as they should? Does it affect team morale? How does it affect their performance? How does it affect productivity? And most importantly, how does that affect your customer? At the end, all of the above will affect your bottom line.

  1. Managed IT or Per User Pricing

While per-user pricing may seem making more sense to you, managed service may be perhaps most effective. A user with a desktop, laptop, home PC, iPad and smartphone is likely to require far more support than an employee or part-time staff with only one device, such a laptop or a desktop PC. More devices may require more maintenance. Devices that stay in the office are typically standardized for most optimal support model; while Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) – such as personal laptops, home computers needing to connect to the office – may be more vulnerable to outer threats, third-party exposure, etc. and may require extra attention.

 

Not every type of business will fit a per-user price, and some would not fit a managed IT plan. That is where proper assessment conducted prior to engagement is very important: it allows to identify technology needs and create a realistic, reasonable scope of support required to keep your business network up and running at most efficient level.

  1. Consider your business practices and industry compliance

Very often small businesses must comply with regulatory standards and guidelines. Regulated industries – Mortgage Brokers and Law Firms among them- are evolving with speed of light and you may be required to team up with the right IT partner to implement important changes. Is your IT provider equipped to research, implement, and manage your network environment so it complies with necessary laws? Having important needs like industry compliance is an important factor in deciding which services are vital to your business, and which IT support provider is right for you.

  1. Consider your business goals

Think of best possible ways to achieve your goals – and think where technology fits. What devices, software, and processes can help you get there faster, with most success? Would your business benefit from having an IT consultant? Is your current situation suited best your plans and goals?

  1. Consider your Return on Investment (ROI)

When it comes to spending on IT, most small businesses feel they are already spending too much. They think of payments for computers, printers, and license renewals. If they have an IT department, they also know how much money goes into an IT employee’s salary and benefits. To those Sacramento small business owners, the cost benefits of managed IT services are more obvious than to those without full time IT staff.

 

Then there are also small businesses that don’t have full-time IT, but rather an “IT guy” that comes and fixes stuff as it happens. In addition to hardware and software, there is an added cost of having a technical travel to you, fix the problem, and charge you for the time/products it takes to resolve the problem. You may be aware that there are also other factors such as network downtime, computer breakdowns, and vendor management – but do you actually know the numbers behind them? Not every support model is best fit for most attractive ROI.

Most small businesses who joined the Managed Services movement used to feel they spent too much on IT, too, but what they found with Managed Services is that they can save up to 50% of money compared to support based on break/fix, or ala-carte pricing. Talk to a trusted Managed Services Provider (MSP) and let them demonstrate the ROI numbers to you to see if it would works best for your purpose.

 

In conclusion – there may be other factors that you want to consider when looking for the best price, but what you should be able to remember these final 3 quick tips, based on the considerations above, that should guide your decision making process when deciding on the best IT Support model, and choosing IT Consultant or Managed Services Provider or your business.

 

When it comes to looking for best price on IT services, remember these 3 quick tips:

  • Do not focus just on Cost of Purchase
  • Remember the Total Cost of Ownership
  • Consider your ROI

If your business is in Sacramento area, and you are looking for a reliable and competent IT Support company, look no further: we monitor your computers, fix or even stop issues before they occur, taking care of  your computer needs on site, or behind the scenes, making sure your operations run smoothly. With our managed services, your business can have a team of highly skilled network engineers and computer technicians service your business computers at a fraction of a cost of a full-time employee.

Request a Quote

Take advantage of our Managed IT Services. Call us at 916-366-6566 to get more info on Managed Services we can provide for your Sacramento business today.

 

How does a small business benefit from Managed Services?

You can have a team of highly skilled network engineers and computer technicians service your business computers at a fraction of a cost of a full-time employee.
Why should I call you?

Capital Network Solutions, Inc. (CNS) is the Northern California premier network services and consulting company. Established in 1989, we have supported hundreds of clients in the technology arena. Our strategic IT solutions are designed to help you achieve a higher level of security, efficiency, reliability and productivity. Outsourcing with Capital Network Solutions, Inc. for your managed services enables you to receive enterprise‑class benefits at an affordable rate.

Capital Network Solutions, Inc. hires only the most experienced IT professionals who understand that your business goals are their goals as well. In order to provide you with the best in technology solutions, our Managed‑IT team offers a full turn‑key solution for network services including:

  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Project Management
  • Patch Management
  • Backup Management
  • Technical Support
  • Network Security
  • Admin Training
  • Spam and Anti‑Virus Protection
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