by Blake Cormier
Content Manager, E-N Computers
You want to get the most value out of the services that you choose for your business. This is especially true of managed IT services, which can involve an investment of several thousand dollars per month. Before taking the leap and signing a contract, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your money is being well spent, and to minimize costs where possible.
Our managed service plans typically average around $150 per endpoint (computer) per month for comprehensive IT service. For companies that have dedicated in-house IT staff, we offer a discount to $100 per endpoint per month. For a 30-employee company, for example, this works out to around $4500 per month.
The E-N Computers team understands the importance of getting value from your partners and vendors. We work with consultants and contractors in a number of areas, and we always want to make sure that what we’re paying lines up with the value we’re receiving in return.
In this article, we’ll explain what you’re paying for when you purchase managed services from E-N Computers. And if our services aren’t in your budget at the moment, we will look at some other options that you can explore to get IT service for your business.
IT Staffing and Expertise
The main component of your managed services fee goes toward staffing. At E-N Computers, we employ more than 20 technical and support staff – all of whom are dedicated to helping your business solve its IT problems.
As you’ve probably learned yourself, hiring is about more than just filling roles on an organization chart. We seek out, hire, and nurture those who have a passion for technology and who have the expertise to make IT a strategic asset for our clients. Let’s look at some of the roles on our team and what role they play in your success.
Technicians and Engineers
The majority of our staff are technical employees, who are directly involved in helping you solve your day-to-day technical problems and implement strategic projects and solutions.
We’ve learned over the years that there’s no such thing as a generic “IT specialist”. So, we help our technical staff specialize into roles that help them to flourish in their careers. Some of our technicians are passionate about customer service – helping your users to overcome their problems and get back to work quickly. Others are big-picture thinkers – they enjoy designing IT solutions that will pay off for your business for years to come. Others enjoy automating routine tasks and procedures so that your systems are continuously monitored and protected from problems. And our service manager makes sure that all of our staff work together effectively and efficiently.
Our specialized, team-based approach means that for just the cost of the managed services fee, you have access to a broad swath of expertise ready to help you solve your IT problems.
Account Management and Consulting
Our next-largest team is our account managers, also known as “Fractional CTOs” or “Virtual CIOs”. This reflects the role they have in helping you maintain your IT strategy month after month and year after year. They’re managed by our Director of Technology, who makes sure that we’re implementing industry-leading solutions for all of our clients.
Regular strategic consulting from your dedicated account manager is included with the managed services fee. During these sessions, you’ll receive guidance on how to align your IT strategy with your business goals and industry best practices. You’ll get a heads-up on any major projects that you may need to budget for, as well as any areas of concern about your day-to-day IT operations.
Outside of these regular meetings, your AM is available for any questions you may have about your IT strategy or your relationship with us. This could include upcoming changes in your business, like expansions, new initiatives, or mergers and acquisitions, that could change your IT strategy. Or you may be interested in leveraging a new technology or service to help your business. Your account manager will serve as the point of contact between you and our team to help you make the best decisions in these situations.
Many IT teams are realizing the value of having a dedicated project manager to make sure that upgrades and new implementations stay on schedule and within budget. Your relationship with us will kick off with an included stabilization and onboarding project (more on that below). Thereafter, any major projects involving your IT infrastructure will be headed up by our project manager. While these may not be within the scope of the regular managed services agreement, we’ve found that having a full-time PM is the best way to make a success of these projects.
Processes, Procedures and Documentation
Building an effective IT team is about more than just hiring skilled employees. A team also needs to have processes and procedures in place – and documented – that allow them to handle planned and unplanned work effectively.
At E-N Computers, we have spent years building out our processes so that we can deliver world-class support to our clients. This has involved working with consultants to develop the processes, writing documentation, tracking metrics to ensure that we meet our service level agreement (SLA) goals, and training new employees on our procedures.
The result is a service process that allows us to handle your service requests in a timely fashion. And our triage, dispatch, and escalation procedures make sure that work is assigned to the right person at the time – and that they can get help if needed.
As we mentioned, our managed service plans include a free onboarding and stabilization process. During this process, we spend time documenting your environment and creating a “run book” for it. In addition, we set up monitoring, backups, and other tools. This process helps us to learn your environment quickly and allows any member of our team to provide good service to you.
Tools and Software – and the Know-How to Use Them
Having the right tools makes any job easier. Over the years, our team has become familiar with a number of IT tools that help us to provide excellent service more efficiently. IT tools include both user-facing tools, like antivirus tools, and behind-the-scenes tools like backups and remote management. We also use a number of tools internally that help our team to stay organized and efficient. The use of all of these tools is included with your managed services fee.
Centrally Managed Tools for Better Efficiency
Because we manage more than 2,000 endpoints across our customers, we are able to centralize management of many of the tools we use. This allows us to use these tools efficiently at scale. For example, we include local and offsite backups for all of our managed services clients, with daily monitoring and alerting. We can also centrally manage Windows updates, software updates, and antivirus management for all of our clients.
Because we can dedicate experts on our team to managing these tools, we can use them to keep your IT systems running without additional overhead for you or us.
The Cost of Our Tools
One question we are often asked is how removing certain tools from our managed services package will affect monthly costs. The short answer is “not much” – on the aggregate, the cost of tools only makes up about $4 of the $150 per month managed services fee. However, not including these tools can actually increase your overall IT costs. How so?
Think about taking your car to a mechanic’s shop. Most professional mechanics use high-quality tools like Snap-On. Even though they’re expensive to purchase, they know that the cost is divided out among the many thousands of jobs they will do with those tools before they have to be replaced. The cost of the tools is only a small fraction of any given job – but not having the right tools will ultimately slow down all of the work in the shop, increasing costs for everyone.
It’s the same with IT tools. When our technicians can use high-quality tools that they’re already familiar with and able to manage efficiently at scale, it ultimately results in better IT service and lower total costs for you. The real costs come not from the tools, but the people with the knowledge and skill to use those tools effectively.
Alternatives to Managed Service Plans
We understand that not every business has the budget for a $100 or $150 per endpoint per month managed services plan. If that’s the case for you, here are some alternatives that can still help you to improve your IT environment at a lower cost.
Consider an Upgrade or Implementation Project
We can help you to integrate new technology or perform a major upgrade on your existing systems. We are able to offer our project management and engineering expertise on a short-term basis for projects above $10,000 total parts and labor. If you’re considering a major software upgrade, an office expansion or relocation, a move to the cloud, or another serious project, please feel free to contact us with the details. Depending on our availability, we’d be happy to assist you to plan and implement your next IT project.
Book Strategic IT Consulting
If you aren’t sure where your IT strategy needs to take you in the next year, we can help you with a series of strategic consulting calls. We can help you determine if an upgrade, a cloud migration, or another IT move will benefit your business. Again, this depends on our experts’ availability, as much of our consulting capacity is reserved for our managed services clients.
Find a Break-Fix or Retainer IT Provider
If you only need occasional IT support or an “extra pair of hands”, we are happy to recommend any of a number of local companies who provide on-demand break-fix support or hourly retainer contracts. While we feel that managed services usually provide the best value for IT support, we understand that other arrangements may be better for your business. Be sure to check out our lists of the best IT companies in Richmond, Washington, D.C., and Roanoke for further recommendations.
Next Steps: Learn More About the Costs of IT Support
- WATCH: On-Demand Webinar: How Much Does IT Support Cost?
- READ: How Much Does IT Support Cost?
- READ: New Horizons Healthcare Case Study
Are you ready to learn more about the costs of providing IT support to your business? If so, be sure to read our article How Much Does IT Support Cost? or watch the on-demand webinar. In these articles, we’ll explain the difference in bottom-line costs between managed services, internal IT staffing, and break-fix/retainer IT service.
A managed services plan from E-N Computers helped a community health organization in Roanoke, VA to improve their IT service while reducing overall costs. To learn more about that, read the New Horizons Healthcare case study.
And if you’d like to see exactly how much a managed IT plan from E-N Computers will cost, check out our pricing page and instant quote calculator. Simply enter the number of users you support, and we’ll give you an estimate for fully managed IT, including strategy, support, and security for one monthly fee.