worker looking very frustrated at desk with computer

It’s become apparent with every passing year that doing business online and now working remotely means that companies are relying on technical support more than ever. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that any good business will only go so far as its IT department will take them.

The foundation of today’s business is IT support and without quality and trustworthy IT department – whether located in house or offsite is a key component to assuring all systems are “go”, day and night and 365 days of the year.

Have IT hardware failures or subpar network support services hindered your business’s success? If so, you already understand the inadequacy of a break/fix IT support model. If not, it’s only a matter of time before a hardware failure interferes with your broader business goals.

How does your business think about IT? Do you wait until something breaks to repair it? That’s the basic idea behind a break/fix mentality. Or do you have an ongoing plan in place for proactively repairing and replacing IT components before critical failure? That’s the approach a managed service provider (MSP) can help you adopt.

In short, break/fix is a reactive approach to problem solving as opposed to managed IT services that takes a proactive posture to assure IT issues don’t negatively affect your company’s bottom line. It’s the old adage, do you wanna play it cheap and risk losing more money due to an extended outage than you would be paying an MSP a monthly fee to always be watching your network’s back?

That’s an executive business call that’s a lot like rolling the dice at a crap’s table. You just never know when your number will hit — or not.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of the break/fix IT support model and explain why a more proactive approach is vital to your ongoing business success.

The Fatal Flaw of a Break/Fix Support Model
When your business adopts a break/fix IT strategy, you only reach out to an IT provider when you require their services, most frequently when something breaks down or for a particular project. When something “breaks,” the IT provider of your choice “fixes” it, hence the term break/fix.

As CEO of one of the largest IT support companies in Los Angeles, California, Chad Lauterbach knows the pitfalls of adhering to the break/fix credo. “The problem is timing,” he explains. “We can’t fix a problem until it exists which means doing a fast hustle to identify the issue and strategize a fix. That’s kind of operating from a position of defense instead of offense.”

Having that managed service provider in place and on a monthly retainer allows them to constantly be monitoring your network’s structured foundation to assess problems before they become just that: problems.

Let’s run through a hypothetical scenario that commonly affects businesses still relying on a break/fix service model—your network stops working. With a break/fix model, it’s going to remain down until you follow through on a number of inefficient steps:

  1. You contact an IT provider or several providers to figure out when they can send out a technician at their earliest convenience.
  2. After you’ve decided which provider to go with, you then have to wait for the technician to arrive. If you’re a new customer, your network isn’t their top priority, so you may have to wait for hours or even days. All the while, your team struggles to remain productive, your clients are left by the wayside, and you’re losing revenue.
  3. The technician arrives and works to identify the problem. Depending on the severity of the issue, this may take hours. If the provider is unfamiliar with your network, it may take days.
  4. Once the problem has been identified, the IT provider clarifies your options for repair. Prospective solutions often vary in terms of cost, timeliness, and the sustainability of a solution. Your team then has to decide which option is best for your ongoing needs.
  5. After you’ve decided on a solution, the IT provider has to go about procuring the necessary network components and planning the repair. This process can take anywhere from days to weeks when hard-to-find parts are required.

Starting to see the problems with a break/fix mentality? In short, the break/fix route breeds inefficiency. That’s because the IT services provider takes a hands-off approach to your organization’s technology needs. This is where the smarter companies will engage an IT services company like Be Structured in Los Angeles to manage their systems ongoing and hourly.

Your team is responsible for day-to-day network management, and when something that’s outside of your team’s capabilities goes wrong, you’re left at the mercy of the regional IT market.

So why do businesses continue to rely on a break/fix approach to their information technology?

When planning IT expenses, companies frequently look for ways to cut technology costs, and on the surface level, a break/fix model allows them to accomplish that goal in the short run. The thinking goes that they won’t have to pay anything for IT until they absolutely have to. While a break/fix approach may save them money today, it actually ends up costing more in the long run when network and technology problems inevitably arise.

Break/Fix vs. Managed Services

If you’re looking for more than a break/fix IT platform, what’s your best option? For businesses that want to break free from break/fix, managed IT services offer the ideal solution. Instead of putting off IT costs until something breaks, you partner with an ongoing IT service partner. Your organization pays them a fixed amount for IT services each month.

Unlike with a break/fix partnership, managed services allow your IT partner to provide a hands-on approach to your network needs. They take the time to understand the intricacies and operations of your network on a personal level.

While keeping you one step ahead of any proactive repairs or upgrades that may need to be made, they also work continually to leverage the latest technology and optimize network performance. Should a problem arise, you’ll know exactly who to call, and your managed IT partner will be able to pinpoint the problem and develop a solution significantly faster than a break/fix provider ever could.

Depending on the terms of the contract, you may not even have to pay for network repairs or upgrades other than your normal monthly fee. Ultimately, when you partner with the right MSP, they work to save you money in the long run by protecting you from surprise IT expenses and extensive network downtime.

That helps companies grow and lets executives sleep sounder at night.