How much should a small business pay for IT support in the north east?

Does your north east business even need IT support?

First, I’m going to ask you a rhetorical question:

“Does your business rely on technology to operate?”

I’ll answer it for you:

“Yes, of course it does!”

And by technology, I mean everything from …

  • Software and hardware to maintain and increase business productivity.
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.
  • Data storage and retrieval.
  • Marketing software.
  • Financial and accounting software.
  • Inventory and stock control systems.
  • Specialist industry specific software.
  • Communication and mobile devices.

 

I’m sure you could add more to cater for your own individual business’s technological needs.

As much as any human needs a regular check up from a variety of health professionals to keep them performing mentally and physically at optimum capacity, your technology needs the same care and attention. So, unless you are qualified, experienced enough and have the time to take care of your IT systems, then it is safe to say a successful business wanting to be competitive in the marketplace DOES need support from the right IT professional. 

Cost of purchasing IT equipment

Your business plan, if updated regularly will have all your current business operations clearly listed, together with a projection for future sales and growth in services / products offered and the size of the human team required to handle increased demand and production. It makes sense therefore to have an IT system that helps you achieve those goals in the most economical and cost-efficient way possible. 

We’ve seen it many times before when an IT expert has not been consulted before purchasing equipment and either the technology has not been fit for task or there were other options available (but not considered) that could have performed multiple jobs, whilst allowing room for growth at a fraction of the eventual cost. 

How many IT specialists did you consult before purchasing your current IT systems?

Yes, it comes at a cost, but unless you really know what you are doing you could also say it comes at a saving!

By enlisting the help of a reputable Technology Success Provider TSP (the updated version of Managed Services Provider MSP) you are saving money before your equipment has even been purchased.

The cost of repairing broken or faulty equipment

Your business tech breaks down and you call someone to come out and fix it. Then you don’t hear from your tech angel till something else goes wrong. But this break fix model can just cost UK businesses more money… and does.

According businessinsider.com

“Employees in the UK’s private sector are wasting a whole working day every month due to IT issues, at an annual cost of £35 billion …”

That’s nearly two weeks of wages per year that UK employers are paying for each and every employee, with no work being done. They may as well give their staff a holiday – at least team morale would be on a high.

Despite this, investment in new and evolving technology to stay ahead in the marketplace is at an all-time high.

According to a recent government report

“In 2020, the 432,000 companies in the UK who have already adopted AI, spent a total of £16.7 billion on AI technologies.” 

How much would it cost you to give every single employee in your business an extra two-week holiday? (Or should I say: How much IS it costing you?)

Add to this, the demotivation that your employees feel when their workflow is paused or stopped altogether because of faulty technology. People are not machines. They perform best and are most productive when constant obstacles are not placed in their path!

You could hire a full-time technician to handle all your IT needs

According to glassdoor.co.uk in the North East the average wage just for technical support is £23,935.

Consider also that this is just one person and if this one person is on holiday or is ill or on paternity leave when something breaks down, then as a business owner you have even more money to spend. 

Outsource your IT support

By far the most widely used option in the north east is to outsource your IT needs to a reliable third party. 

The key phrase here is RELIABLE.

What do you want from your Technology Success Provider (or MSP if you are still using managed services)?

So many IT support companies in the north east still rely heavily on the break / fix model of service. The money these companies earn therefore relies on your technology NOT working for them to make money. 

Logically, for this type of company to survive your systems must break down on a regular basis. The more times this happens the more money they make.  

Now, at this point you will either be counting all the hard-earned pounds your business has spent on IT support in the last financial year and be comfortably resigned to that expense, or maybe you are curious as to whether there is a way to get the same level of support but pay less.

Ironically, the way to pay less is to increase the level of IT support you receive. This brings us to the MSP’s. Managed service providers in the north east still spend a great deal of their time fixing broken or faulty tech but they also offer a range of other services:

MSPs are IT businesses that provide ongoing support, monitoring and management for other companies’ technology needs.

MSPs can keep tabs on their clients’ IT environments, change and update systems, and troubleshoot problems remotely. This gives them the flexibility to monitor a wide variety of solutions—including web apps, Cyber security, server management and backup and storage management.

Sometimes MSP’s offer a service level agreement which states that if anything should go wrong then they will come out (if necessary) and have the problem fixed within ‘x’ number of hours. 

We have heard many reports of IT service level agreements being used as an excuse to spend more time that necessary spent coming to fix a problem. If they guarantee the problem will be fixed within four hours, you’ll sometimes find that the problem took very close to four hours to be fixed regardless as to the relative simplicity of the issue. 

A tad sceptical I know, but there are companies that do this just to increase their bottom line. Not all businesses do this, but it is a good idea to read customer reviews before engaging an MSP company. 

Do IT Managed Service Providers save small businesses more money than break / fix companies?

Yes, a little. There is still a large element of break / fix in the MSP model, so what many MSP IT companies charge is a monthly recurring cost for ongoing support and extra for the occasions in which the technology slows or breaks when they must come out.

You often find that business owners are forced to choose from a typical ‘Gold / silver / bronze’ type package. The most expensive offering the widest variety and most comprehensive list of options.

According to blisstech.co.uk, you can expect to pay £40 – £100 per user for a basic package. The more IT support you need will naturally ramp up that cost.

The Technology Success Provider

It’s already the platinum standard for small businesses in America that require top level IT support and finally we are starting to see TSP providers in England and in the north east. 

Imagine all the advantages of the MSP model with a few major differences:

The Gold / Silver / Bronze, pay more and you get more IT support option is scrapped.

The IT support a small business gets is exactly what they need as the support is tailored around their business processes.

The virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO)

Comedy shows such as the IT Crowd hilariously amplified the language barrier that exists between the worlds of business and technology. The vCIO is the long overdue solution to that problem. The vCIO is a business executive who sits on the board with your top-level executives and analyses all your business processes (both current and projected) then they pass that information to another key player in the TSP model.

The Technology Alignment Manager (TAM)

Once the business goals are clear it is the job of the TAM to align the technology goals at all levels of the business. The aim of the Technology Alignment Manager is to ensure that the technology maximises productivity and efficiency. 

The TSP model effectively stops the spend on IT support being regarded as a reluctant expense, but rather a core function, a profit generator and a welcome investment.

The TSP model also radically cuts down on call out time for broken or malfunctioning technology, many businesses are seeing that their spend is around 1/6th of their normal spend per annum.

Our conclusion…

Use the break / fix model and spend more money! 

Joking of course. The TSP model is still relatively new in the north east (and in the UK) so for all of the advantages of the MSP model plus some long awaited additions, the Technology Success Provider is the clear choice for any UK based business that needs IT support.

If you have any questions or would like help with your IT systems then we’d be happy to help. Contact us below or subscribe to our VIP list for offers and key industry news relevant to your sector.