IT Budget Breakdown Episode 3: How to Budget for Your IT Support Costs

In this episode of our IT budget breakdown, we are focusing in on how to budget for your IT support costs and how to avoid getting caught in an expensive game of ticket tennis. Having a help desk type service is great but relying on help desk support instead of doing preventative IT maintenance is like choosing to prioritize a fire department over forest management. You put yourself in a situation where you need all hands on deck and emergent action to find a solution, instead of taking steps to avoid the problem all together.
The goal of this episode is to give you the insight you need in order to make smart and cost-effective IT decisions for your business, and a huge part of that is finding the right balance of on-call support and proactive maintenance. A quick series recap: in episode one, we discussed breaking your IT budget into four main categories: infrastructure, support, security, and strategy. You can read episode one here. In episode two we detailed exactly what you need to know about updating your infrastructure and anticipating those costs. You can read episode two here.    

What services should I categorize as IT Support?

IT support is the utilization of a technical expert to handle the configuration and implementation of any infrastructure, the troubleshooting and resolution of any technical difficulties, and regular maintenance of your system. Basically, any utilization of an IT partner or internal resource for help desk support or infrastructure implementation will fall under this category. 

3 steps to evaluate your IT Support spend

 1. Reflect on how your business utilizes IT Support

The three main questions you should ask when evaluating your support spend are:
  • How will my business growth impact my support spend?
  • When we need IT support, do we get a quick, friendly, and helpful response?
  • What was the number of tickets that were generated versus resolved this past year?
These questions will help you evaluate if you need to expect an increase is support costs, the effectiveness of the IT support you are receiving, and if you are relying too heavily on help desk support services.

2. Analyze your responses

Take your answers to the three questions above and see how they match up to what we consider best practice for IT support:

How will my business growth impact my support spend?

Generally, IT support costs are calculated by the number of endpoints to MSP has to support and the complexity of your network and infrastructure. If your business has added new employees, or leveled up your infrastructure, a good MSP will recognize that they need to increase the amount or skill of technicians assigned to support you. In doing so, you can expect that they will need to also increase your IT support costs. If you are anticipating or experiencing growth or working toward maturing your network and infrastructure, plan to spend more on support then you were previously.  

When we need IT support, do we get a quick, friendly, and helpful response?

If your answer to this question isn’t yes, yes, and yes- what are you really paying for? IT support is costly, but worth its weight in gold if it means getting you quickly back up and running after experiencing an issue or outage. Any interruption to your business means lost money and time, the more you can minimize that impact the better. However, if your IT support isn’t quick or effective, it’s like rubbing salt in the wound. We recognize this which is why we hold our service techs to the highest standards. Our core values dictate that we should consistently be the answer and deliver exceptional results. So, we ensure that any service ticket you submit, you get a quick and helpful response, and avoid having to waste time going back in forth in a game of ticket tennis and eating up both your time and money.

What was the number of tickets that were generated versus resolved this past year?

IT support services are costly and inefficient for both the MSP and your business but can be a necessary evil. As mentioned above, when done effectively, IT support services can save you when something goes wrong. However, relying on help desk support for all your IT needs can be extremely costly and waste your time.   Metrics like the number of tickets being generated versus resolved, can help us determine if you are reacting to your IT problems or proactively eliminating them. Generally, MSPs should be utilizing help desk support as a last resort in keeping your business’s IT up and running. Their focus should be on completing preventative maintenance that will reduce or eliminate any issues that would pop up- removing the need for help desk support and taking the burden of having to identify and collaborate on solving an issue off of your staff.

3. Work with your MSP to weigh your support costs against solutions

 After you have determined what your current utilization of IT support is, you can put a plan in place to use support more efficiently. The costs of utilizing a helpdesk go beyond what you are paying to your MSP. When your staff has to open a service ticket, they typically have to then work in tandem with the service tech to solve the problem- taking them away from their more important and profitable work. Getting into a back-and-forth game of ticket tennis with an IT tech can at times consume an entire workday or drag on for weeks. Work with your MSP to identify what your recurring issues are, if it makes sense to keep utilizing help desk support to fix the issues when they arise, or if there is a more cost-effective solution that can stop the issue from arising in the first place. We understand that budgeting and understanding your IT support services can be both confusing and time consuming. We can help you navigate this process, or simply do it for you.  You can book a call with us anytime.