Too many organizations aren’t monitoring how much of their own internal time they are spending supporting their own IT infrastructure and tech support for their own computer network. Perhaps it is only “from time to time”, but often when people dig in they find out that 10%-50% of a key employee’s time is spent on tech support. They fell into the comfort of minimizing the tangible vendor costs of their outsourced tech support, but don’t really know the softer costs of their employee’s time.
Most companies feel like they are getting the tech support they need and their computer network is “fine”. “Fine” usually means that they don’t see many major issues and that most of the minor issues seemed to get dealt with. This line of thinking is precarious.
How much internal computer support is optimal?
It all depends on the value of your own time and the time of your employees. If you feel you’re paying your employees regardless of what they do and you consider any time they spend on tech support as “free” then who wouldn’t want to utilize lots of this free computer tech support? However, this argument only really works if the internal tech support person would have been doing nothing if there were no support needed. If Jim could have been out getting you new business, then the opportunity costs of this internal tech support could be huge. The costs don’t show up on a nice neat line on your financial statements, but be sure the costs are there.
Often what is even more important to recognize is the cost of the lower-quality tech support you’re getting from your under-trained, under-qualified internal network support. Sure you might be saving an hour of billable time from your outsourced network services company, but it cost Jim most of his day and he still only applied a band-aid that will likely end up costing him another day in the near future (or maybe that hour of the vendor’s billable time). Jim can’t be great at this stuff when it is a secondary priority and he is doing it off the side of his desk.
You would think that this type of situation would be limited to employees who’s time isn’t being monitored by the management. However, it is often the management themselves that are caught in this slippery slope. They think they are being diligent business people and using some of their own “tech savvy” to minimize cost. This is usually just like the business owner who thinks they can do their own tax returns and ends up missing the thousands of dollars of tax breaks a professional tax specialist would have found for a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, given their lack of time to keep up on technology, they just don’t know what they don’t know.
For Smart Dolphins clients, there is only a negative incentive to do their own technical support. With our managed services arrangement, we don’t bill our clients extra for our technical support. End users like Jim, are free to do more sales (which can alone pay for the managed services) and the business leaders can better manage and lead the business. Wouldn’t more time make your business better?