One IT Guy Isn’t Enough

Redundancy is the name of the game in IT.  We make sure that servers have redundant drives, redundant power supplies, and that there is a failover plan in place.  We also frequently have redundant firewalls and internet connections.  Redundancy breeds reliability.  That’s why I’m baffled when a potential client says that they just want “one guy” to do all their IT.  They have their reasons, but I’m here to tell you that one IT guy isn’t enough.

One IT Guy Isn’t Enough – Perceived Advantages of “One Guy”

 

He knows our stuff

One of the most common reasons that clients want one guy is that he gets to know your network.  They’re not wrong.  Having a working knowledge of the network that your troubleshooting will cut down drastically on the time it takes to get to resolution.  This is a key element of providing the best support.

Repeatable Results

It seems like another reason folks like to have “one guy” is that they can tell him to “do it like you did last time”.  Folks don’t like to repeat themselves, and they like consistent outcomes.  They seem to really like the idea of being able to figure out one method that works for them and then rinse and repeat.  There are definite advantages to repeatable results.

He knows our applications

One of the most arduous tasks in IT right now is application specific support.  Many clients think that having a tech that consistently works on their applications and gets to know how to troubleshoot them is an advantage.  They can fix common problems faster.  Again, they’re not wrong.

Set Schedule

Frequently these techs will have a set schedule on which they visit their clients.  The perceived advantage of this is that they always know that they can get help next Tuesday or Friday when their technician comes by.  They like the idea of a reliable response.

One IT Guy Isn’t Enough – Actual Disadvantages of “One Guy”

He knows our stuff

That’s right.  He is the ONLY guy in the world that knows your stuff.  If he gets sick, goes on vacation, get’s hit by a bus, or quits his job, you will have nobody.  It will likely be costly and painful to get a new provider in there and have them reinvent the wheel.

Yes, there is a huge advantage to having somebody that knows your network.  A better solution is to have an entire team of professionals that know your network.  They have a centralized documentation system.  They can reference it at any time and quickly have all the knowledge they need to troubleshoot.

Best of all, with an entire team you will never be in a situation where the only guys that knows your stuff is gone.  They can go on vacation, get sick, or be otherwise detained and you will still benefit from a team that knows your network and can fix your problems expeditiously.

Repeatable Results

Another perceived advantage is being able to tell them to “do it like they did last time”.  There are some time savings in this.  However, the same problems exist.  If anything happens to that guy all those processes are lost as well.  You’ll have to start over from scratch, and if you don’t like repeating yourself, I can’t think of anything worse.

With a team approach for IT all those processes can also be documented.  Each member of the team is trained on them and the documentation is at their fingertips.  Its much more likely that you’ll get consistent results from a team of professionals following a well-documented process than from a single guy trying to remember what he did last time.

He knows our applications

Similar argument here.  There are advantages to having someone that knows your applications, but there is also a huge hole in that strategy.  He is the ONLY one that knows how to support your applications.

A better approach will have a team of IT professionals that document common support practices for your hardware and will contact the software manufacturer on your behalf when help is needed.  They can write KB articles about the common issues that come up and work to ensure that knowledge is documented and disseminated throughout the team.

Set schedule

While there is some comfort in knowing you have a specific day set aside when you will get assistance from your IT provider wouldn’t it be better to get help right when you need it?  Waiting for the next visit can hinder your work and make your staff less productive.

A better solution would be to have an entire team of professionals that you can call anytime.  They can fix issues as they happen and allow you to get right back to work.  This minimizes downtime and cost associated with IT delivery.  In addition, they would give you a service level guarantee that they would response within a certain amount of time.

Scalability

Another big issue with a single guy is scalability.  Can he grow with you as your business matures?  If you get bigger will he suddenly not have the time required to give you the help you need?  Does he have the skillset to grow as your technology needs get more demanding?  There is a pretty big difference between a helpdesk technician and a Senior Systems Administrator that has special training to manage servers and advanced storage arrays.

A superior solution is to have an entire team of professionals.  They bring skillsets from various corners of IT to provide a complete solution.  You also have access to high level server and network resources when needed on demand.  This allows you to have the support you need when you need it for a fraction of the cost.

Availability

Sometimes just getting your “one guy” to call you back can be a challenge.  Its very easy for a single person to get overloaded or have more than one emergency happen at the same time.  If that happens a one-man band is forced to either split his time and attention between 2 emergencies or make one wait while he attends to the other.  You just have to hope you pay him more than his other client in that situation.

A team is much more likely to be able to attend to your needs immediately.  They also have additional resources at their disposal that will allow them to respond when that emergency hits.

Proactive Network Management

Another item that can prove difficult for an independent provider is any kind of proactive management.  Typically, their time gets so consumed with putting out fires for their clients they have little time left to give quality reporting, offer strategic advice, or assist in keeping things like patches and updates current.

A quality IT team will typically have more tools and the ability to automate routing maintenance tasks.  They have the bandwidth to proactively manage your network and ensure that tasks like security patches are done in a timely manner.  They can provide superior network reporting as well as strategic advice that can save you both downtime and money.

Security and Compliance

A single IT provider will struggle a lot of times with security and compliance.  IT is such a broad field that it is difficult to be an expert in everything.  This can frequently leave your business vulnerable to attack.

A better solution would have a team of IT professionals that could assist with your network security.  They can give you practical advice on how to keep your data safe and the solutions you should have in place.  In addition, they can assist you with compliance needs like HIPAA and PCI.

 

In Summary

I think we’ve made it abundantly clear that there are a LOT of disadvantages to hiring “one guy” to do your IT support.  Redundancy is a key idea with IT professionals that are seeking to build systems with little to no downtime.  That principal holds true with your IT provider as well.

“One Guy” for IT simply can compete with an entire team of trained professional that you get with a service provider like i.t.NOW.  Cost is the reason that they typically get hired, but most business owners don’t consider what that cheap solution is costing you.  There are costs for lost productivity, downtime, slow response time, lack of expertise and more.

i.t.NOW can provide the high-quality solution you’re looking for at a small business price.  We can give you all the systems, processes and people you need to maximize your technology success.  Call us today for a free evaluation!