IT spend | 20th Mar 2018

Are you getting bang for your IT buck? 5 things you should be measuring

By Paul Manson, vCIO - HUM

As a business owner or manager, you probably prefer to keep the complexities of IT support at arm’s length. The bill from your IT company arrives each month and you don’t give it much thought. It’s just a cost of doing business, right? But the cost (and value) of IT support varies greatly from provider to provider. How do you know if you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck? Here are 5 things you should be measuring to make sure your managed IT support company is delivering the value you deserve.

1. RHEM AND PHEM

RHEM stands for Reactive Hours Per Endpoint Per Month. In simple terms, RHEM is the amount of time spent on unplanned IT services for each ‘endpoint’, or Internet-capable device (computer, smartphone etc), connected to your network. In my experience, a well-designed and maintained network requires about 1-2 reactive hours per endpoint per month, on average. If the hours (and your bill) start to creep up, it’s important to question why your managed IT support is becoming more time intensive.

PHEM is another flashy acronym that stands for Proactive Hours Per Endpoint Per Month. It covers tasks such as reviewing security, server patching, scheduled maintenance, monitoring and alerting. How much time is spent on these tasks each month, and how’s that reflected in your bill?

2. AISP

This stands for All-In Seat Price. It’s the key financial indicator you should be paying attention to. What you’re looking at here is your total monthly spend divided by how many seats you have. An all-inclusive managed IT support service like HUM has a fixed AISP of $150 per user, per month. This means that as your staff numbers fluctuate, so does your IT bill - but in an entirely predictable and transparent way. If your IT provider doesn’t have a fixed per user fee, it’s up to you to keep an eye on your AISP, which should remain stable over time. Your AISP factors in all of the core IT services you may be getting billed for, including:

  • Block hours (eg. a fee for 20 hours of support)

  • Per-user charges and per-server charges

  • RHEM

  • PHEM

  • Security software billed on a per user basis (antivirus, anti-spam, web filtering)

3. UNEXPECTED COSTS

No one likes unexpected costs, but they’re an inevitable part of doing business. You know the ones. Failed equipment that needs replacing. The backup power supply starts flashing and beeping, requiring a service you didn’t budget for. You get an invoice for software licensing that you didn’t know you needed to buy. Keeping track of unexpected or “out of band” costs will give you an indication of how well your IT bucks are being spent. A good IT company will have a comprehensive understanding of your infrastructure, devices and software, and will keep records of your license renewals and hardware “end of life” dates, so that unexpected costs are kept to a minimum.

4. RESPONSE TIME

This is a major “bang” when it comes to managed IT support. How long does it take to get your IT guy or gal onto a reactive issue? I don’t mean just issuing you with a ticket number and putting your problem on the backburner. I mean, how long does it take someone to start actively working on the issue? When it comes to fixing IT problems and getting your staff back up and running, time really is money. And it’s actually pretty easy to quantify. Get your staff to keep track of how many hours of IT ‘downtime’ they have across the business for one month, and then multiply that number by the average salary in your business.

5. TOUCHPOINTS

What I’m talking about here are the real-life interactions you have with your IT company. How many times a month do you have a chat with different members of your IT team? Is it only when things go wrong? Or when they want to sell you something? This “bang” is all about relationships. Your IT company is an extension of your business. How often do you get together with an account manager to discuss your business plans? Do they update you on the latest IT news, best practice and technologies? Establishing regular touchpoints (read: catch ups) helps your IT provider to build a deeper understanding of your business, which leads to quicker remediation times when there’s a problem, and smarter planning and decisions around your technology.

Set aside an hour a couple of times a year to take a look at these metrics and get a handle on how your managed IT service is performing. If their “bang” is more of a faint clicking noise in the distance, you might want to consider putting your bucks elsewhere.

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