If you’re thinking about employing an IT Consultancy firm to better manage your systems, advise on and oversee an office relocation, or take your business to the next level, services and costs are likely to be front of mind. Of course, every business is unique and needs vary, but for anyone considering putting IT management out to tender, it’s helpful to have a sense of what you can expect.
In this blog, we take an SME with approximately 20 computer users as an example and look at the kind of services IT Support could provide and how much they would cost.
There are three areas where an IT Consultancy like pebble.it could help a business or agency of this size.
- Helpdesk Support and Machine Management
The helpdesk offers what’s known as ‘break-fix’ support, troubleshooting day-to-day issues for those in the office or working remotely. Having on-demand expertise like this helps keep the show on the road, resolving problems that have an impact on ‘business as usual’ for employees or customers.
Machine management takes support one step further, providing proactive administration that can be scaled for growing businesses. As a service, it ensures applications are updated to the most recent version, storage is well managed and machines are patched with the necessary system updates to keep security and data protection tight.
How does that work in practice?
Imagine we have a growing creative agency as a pebble.it client and they need five new employees set up with IT access.
Using a ‘base image’, an IT blueprint for the business essentially, we can push out a complete set-up to any machine, taking time-consuming jobs like setting up email and printers off your hands, allowing the talented new starts to get online and down to work immediately.
We can also create department-specific builds for groups of individuals with unique software needs - designers or project managers for example. They can also be saved and pushed out on demand without having to start from scratch every time. It also prevents system ‘drift’ and ensures machines are 100% compliant and can revert any user changes that fall outside a particular profile.
How much would that cost?
It’s difficult to put a figure on hypothetical support, but a company with up to 20 employees could get the level of helpdesk service outlined here, year-round, for less than £20K. Machine management starts anywhere from £4K / pa.
- Hardware and Infrastructure Upgrades
This focuses largely on hardware that’s managed in the cloud, upgrading parameter infrastructure to ensure businesses find the most efficient and sustainable ways of working.
That means managing the:
- Security Appliance (Firewall) or Router that controls all data & telephone traffic going in and out of the business
- Switches that the client machines are attached to and
- Wireless access points including coverage, multiple channels (if it makes sense to have different user networks) and looking at the speed at which systems work.
Having an expert in your corner as a sort of virtual CIO looking after all these things will ensure a smoother operation and guarantee quick resolve, if you hit any IT bumps.
How much would that cost?
We look at hardware and infrastructure over longer periods of time (typically 3 years), so for everything mentioned here, you’d be budgeting even less than the year’s support fee we mentioned before, spread over three years.
- Software licensing and hosting
This area of the industry is currently going through a period of change as most software vendors continue to move from perpetual licensing models to subscription accounts that require business to pay for services on a monthly or annual basis.
Once on-board, customers are encouraged to track usage and True up or True down as they go, customising the service to match their needs.
It’s a profit-making move for vendors, but with updates now coming at additional cost (previously not included in perpetual licensing) and the onus on users to monitor and adapt services, it’s become a confusing, time-consuming and expensive chore for smaller businesses and agencies.
How can pebble.it help?
Licensing isn’t quite as black and white as it used to be, so it’s important users understand what’s changed and what they’re buying, or it can become very expensive, very quickly.
We’re authorised resellers at pebble.it, so we can sell software licenses on behalf of big players like Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco and Google. We’ve a wealth of knowledge too, so we work with clients to ensure they’re smart with their spend and look for opportunities to help save them money.
On the hosted services front, we can help businesses move physical servers, off-site and virtualised into the cloud. In the case of a server, that might mean moving it to a data centre so the business never needs to worry about outage or data security.
These are just some of the services you can expect from a quality IT partner. The moral of this blog is that anyone who understands the breadth of services and practical support a good IT consultants can provide, knows the money spent is an investment, not an expense.
Find out how we can help you by contacting us, and download our free eBook on the Role of IT In A Growing Agency below: