Three Issues with the IT Break-Fix Support Model

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When most people run into an issue with their computer, they turn to the “IT guy” and aren’t interested in concepts like competing IT support models. However, as an employer, your IT support strategy could have dramatic consequences for business productivity, cost, and more. The break-fix support model contrasts with a managed IT services model in a number of ways, and the advantage for the latter is clear.

IT Strategic Planning

Planning requires a vision for the future. That’s a simple enough statement, but consider that when talking about IT strategy, planning has a lot more to do with anticipating problems than simply having a plan to deal with them. If your plan is essentially just to wait for systems to fail and hire someone to patch them up when the time comes, you’ve got a rough road ahead.

With so many interconnected systems operating together seamlessly to make a business work, the break-fix model is outdated. Converting from break-fix to managed services means giving your business 24-hour monitoring and support with strategic planning that takes a holistic view of your entire organization. 

Below, we’ll take a look at each of the problems with the break-fix model and then describe how a managed services approach is the better option.

The Trouble With Hourly Billing

There are two ways to look at this problem. First, if a workstation breaks down and a break-fix technician comes to work on it, they are not incentivized to work quickly or efficiently. Maybe a problem could feasibly be resolved in 45 minutes but they take an hour and a half. If that’s your only option in that moment, you’re out of luck. 

Second, maybe you contract with a technician or their firm to work for a solid three hours. If, in the course of that time, they aren’t able to fix everything and don’t have time available to continue, you could be stuck with non-functional equipment.

This misalignment of incentives is one of the fundamental problems that the managed services approach fixes.

The Same Problem, Again and Again

Again, the break-fix model has a problem with incentives. It seems like there is a pattern emerging. Really, this is a two-pronged problem with both trust and competence. It isn’t uncommon for businesses using the break-fix support model to experience the same problems with the same systems month after month or year after year. 

When this occurs, either the technician isn’t performing the job correctly or, in the absolute worst-case scenario, ignoring problems (we’ll set aside malicious motives here—that’s another issue entirely). Either way, the job isn’t getting done properly.

Managed service agreements actually incentivize against this because fixing the same problem again and again is a complete waste of time. Whether the issue is caused by faulty equipment or outdated software, a managed service provider is incentivized to fix it for good and move on to other larger issues.

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

When your business partners with a solid managed service provider, the relationship can seem more like a partnership than a simple transactional arrangement. Conversely, it’s often difficult to schedule exactly when a break-fix provider will show up to fix your problem.

Waiting around for service hurts productivity and can even impact the mood around the office. There is nothing more frustrating than sitting and waiting while staring at a frozen computer (and a frozen computer is the least of your concerns).

Then, when the technician finally does show up, they are only going to be there to fix the particular problem mentioned in your call. This isn’t unfair exactly, but it isn’t ideal either. In other words, if an element of your system isn’t explicitly broken, a break-fix technician isn’t going to fix it. On the other hand, a managed service provider is geared toward optimizing your systems. This includes technology that, while not broken, is not as efficient as it could be.

It is not debatable that managed services are the more effective solution for your IT issues. 

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services

When you are planning IT expenses into the future, predictability is the name of the game. Managed service providers like Virtual Technologies Group offer a flat monthly fee that virtually guarantees predictable technology expenses over the long term.

If you’re struggling to get a grip on your technology expenses, contact us today.

Posted Under:Managed Service Provider Expectations, Managed Services

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