Why your business is throwing money away using one-off IT call out services.

Here at Kimbley IT we are regularly approached by businesses who want us to resolve one-off issues - a server has failed, the MD’s laptop has crashed or the office computers have simply stopped talking to each other. There’s an emergency and they just need an engineer to come and sort the problem out right now, no matter the cost, because it’s just a one-off issue.

And when we receive one of these calls, we always give the same answer – No.

No – but for a good reason

Now this is not because we are bloody-minded or difficult, it’s because we don't believe that one-off fixes provide good value for you. We have the skills and experience to perform magic emergency repairs, but this piecemeal approach to IT support means that you are probably paying more than you need for fixes and there is no guarantee that the problem won't come back in a few months.

Worse still, the time spent by reactive support providers (who tend to offer one-off fixes) is all billable. So when it takes two or three hours to familiarise themselves with your systems, that’s time you're paying for. And that’s before they even start to fix anything. 

So after politely telling people that Kimbley IT does not provide one-off fixes, we then invite them to consider the relative merits of a proper IT support agreement.

One-off fixes are far from cheap

The reality is that relying on one-off fixes to resolve outages costs a lot more than ‘just’ the headline price charged by the provider. Your employees are unable to carry out their normal duties while the system is offline, you still have to pay salaries for instance and lose valuable project time.

Have a look around your office and imagine one hour of downtime - then multiple this one hour by how many users would be affected if your broadband went down. You will notice that only one hour of downtime can easily equate to multiple hours of lost production.  This alone can add thousands more to the bill. EMC statistics suggest that the average system outage last year wasted 25 working hours - for a large company that’s over £557,000 down the drain.

A reliance on one-off fixes can have extremely long-lasting effects. Employees are completely reliant on their own knowledge to correct problems; this is fine so long as they are able to spend time (when they could be doing their actual job) keeping up with developments in technology. But what happens when they reach the end of their own knowledge? Who can they turn to? No one.

As an employer, this also presents a productivity problem; without support and guidance from an IT specialist, your employees will never be properly equipped to use new features and tools when they become available. Aside from skills becoming stale as technology develops, employee use of IT becomes increasingly inefficient as they are unable to take full advantage of the systems available to them. Essentially you are paying them to not get the best out of them.

Partnering with an IT support provider not only presents a channel by which employees can get help when they need it, but also to learn how to avoid problems in future and how best to use the systems available to them. Thus the investment in a support agreement has long-lasting benefits far beyond fixes for the current emergency.

It's true ongoing support is not expensive

Bad experiences with service contracts – from telecoms to rent – means that business owners are scared to investigating IT support agreements. The word agreement has the unfortunate connotation of ‘expensive’, leading many to assume that the cost-to-value ratio is negligible (or firmly tipped in the provider’s favour).

A business of 20 or so users can expect to pay a few hundred pounds per month for an “All You Can Eat” support agreement. We think you'd agree that is great value – particularly when your systems continue to function as good as new and your employees are able to work at maximum efficiency with support and advice whenever and wherever they need it. And if you disagree, that’s crazy. But knowing how reliant you are on IT, if you're not fully committed to keeping it all running in peak condition, you have to ask – are you really fully committed to your business?