What exactly is “break/fix” regarding IT?
Essentially, the customer has technology, and when it breaks, they make a phone call. Things only get done once the customer makes that call. “There’s fire coming out of the side of my box; can you come over here and take care of it?”
Upgrades in a break/fix model go kind of like this: “We need a new server because we want to run new software, we’re growing, or we have to update these work stations.” They call their IT provider. The IT provider performs the work, and they’re outta there. The customer has no plans to engage them again until the next upgrade – which is, of course, part of the problem.
What are some of the disadvantages to the Break/Fix Model for the customer?
The main disadvantage of the Break/Fix model is that, by the time a service call is made, often, there’s already a production issue. I’ll use a small business with 20 users, as an example. There is one server. If that server goes offline, there are 20 people that can’t work. Worse yet, if they aren’t on a managed backup plan, they also run the risk that their backups aren’t even going to work. What is the cost per hour of that outage and the time to recover the business’s systems? What is the cost of not being able to recover critical data?
Since there are obvious issues with the Break/Fix service model that need to be addressed, what is the alternative?
The alternative to Break/Fix is what we refer to as Managed Services (known in the industry as MSP, short for Managed Service Provider). The primary difference between Break/Fix and Managed Services is that you move from a reactive mode into a proactive mode. We deploy software in the customer’s environment that constantly monitors the health of their systems.
Most issues in our industry are not hardware related; they are software related. Now, more than ever, they are related to threats that the systems face. We take a proactive, very aggressive stance on preventing outages by policing these systems. We have folks here that work full-time just on specific areas of threat mitigation, or what is traditionally referred to as antivirus – which is so much more than that now.
For the customer, what are the direct benefits of the Managed Services model?
The short answer is we simplify your technology. We give them confidence that they’re aligned with a partner who’s taking care of their systems so they can focus on their business. We become their IT department.
Another benefit is budgeting. With Break/Fix, it’s nearly impossible to budget. You don’t replace a server until it fails, and then you’re paying a premium. You’ve got engineers, you’re paying emergency service fees, you have production issues, and so on. They must source whatever gear they can get in. You’re paying for expedited shipping. You always pay a premium when you’re in a reactive mode. With the MSP model, replacements are scheduled and are drama free but most importantly cost effective since equipment and engineers do not have to be sourced at emergency rates!
A third direct benefit is having confidence that you have someone there to support you. In a Managed Services model, we have developed a process for how we support your business that produces a very predicable result – you and your employees can do their job and not be bogged down with tech headaches and issues to deal with.
What are some of the advantages of the Managed Services model as the service provider?
Managed Services puts us in the best position to prevent technical problems. We’re able to actively manage the playing field, setting the best practices for the systems we support. We become experts at those systems, and we can have confidence in delivery of our services to our customers.
What are your recommendations to customers that are still operating under the Break/Fix Model?
If you’re going to risk being in a Break/Fix mode, understand what that risk is and at least have a fallback plan. At a minimum, get a backup of your systems. Having that simple insurance policy in place so you can recover from a disaster is the single most important thing that a Break/Fix customer should do.
Regardless of how you’re currently handling your IT, if you’re an owner or decision maker with concerns and questions, reach out to us. We are a mature technology company with seasoned professionals that will have a simple conversation with you. We’ve seen nearly every scenario. In fact, you can even contact our CEO, David Elmasian, directly, and he’ll happily have a confidential owner-to-owner conversation about your current IT management.