Managed IT and Break/Fix IT


What’s the difference, and what’s right for you and your business?

Picture this: You’re driving down an empty range road somewhere in rural Alberta, rushing to get to your destination. It’s dark, raining, and you’re miles from the nearest home or gas station. You’re not really worried though. You just spent a small amount of money to tune up your vehicle and fix a few minor problems before the long drive.

However, despite this, your trusty vehicle – the one you just spent money fixing – breaks down. You pull over, have a look, and quickly realize the same problem has occurred and there’s nothing you can do but sit in the dark… in the cold… wasting precious time and knowing that when your tow truck arrives in four to eight hours, it’s going to cost you quite a bit of money to fix the exact same problem you thought you had just fixed.

Our vehicles never seem to break down when it’s sunny, when we’re a five-minute walk to the gas station, when we have a lot of time to kill, or when we have a significant amount of cash lying around to pay for unforeseen troubles. No – They break down exactly when we have somewhere to be, when we need them to be reliable and when we need them the most. To top things off, when they do break down, we envy those drivers who invested the money in a reliable and trustworthy roadside assistance company who will show up and save the day exactly when they need them to.

All vehicle talk aside, this is the difference between Break/Fix IT and Managed IT.

When it comes to IT, break/fix refers to an IT company providing a fee-for-service based on whatever single task a client needs completed. In other words, if your equipment fails, if a computer program stops running, if your network stops working, or if something just is not operating the way you expect it to, you would call an IT company and they would fix your single problem. However, because you’re not a regular customer who engages with their services or partners with them on an ongoing basis, they’re likely going to charge you a premium on completing the task.

Managed IT, on the other hand, is more of a service-for-service type of contract, where businesses and clients partner with an IT company on an ongoing basis to manage all of their IT requirements, no matter the size, whenever they need them, with one-stop support 24/7, day or night. As our previous blog, “Managed IT Services vs. Self IT” outlined, a major benefit of Managed IT is peace of mind, giving clients confidence that their business is safe, secured, and functioning properly IT-wise.

There are four key differences between Managed IT and Break/Fix IT.

As ZipTech Services describes, Managed IT offers:

  • Security in thinking ahead, enabling you to feel confident that you are being proactive when it comes to your IT in terms of updates, security, and new technology.
  • Assurance that you and your systems are, and will continue to be, up-to-date, with analysis and recurring maintenance being done on a regular basis.
  • A defined and consistent bundle of IT services. With Managed IT, you’re not paying to fix just one problem. You’re paying for a partner and team of IT experts to fully manage your IT for you.
  • A fixed price, allowing you to know costs up front, and have a detailed analysis of what you’re paying for.

Managed IT can also be your business’ hidden strategic advantage, putting an entire IT team at your fingertips, allowing you to reduce costs, maximize productivity, and cut down on any IT-related downtime.

Break Fix

While Break/Fix does present some benefits when it comes to cost if you have a single problem, it also presents some major disadvantages.

We break down just a few of the disadvantages below:

  • Break/Fix can be a “best effort” service, with slower response times and no guarantees.
  • More hours mean more money. If you’re trying to save on cost, there are a limited number of hours the IT company will use to solve your problem. This means that the company is more likely to solve the immediate issue versus the underlying problem.
  • There’s no real incentive to really solve the problem – the more times you come back, the more times you’re billed, and the more money the IT company makes.
  • They may not invest in the most innovative or state-of-the-art systems that could help your business because, well, why would they need to?
  • As Metis Technology explains, “your greatest IT disasters are their most profitable jobs. There is no win-win scenario when it comes to Break/Fix IT.”

So, what will work best for you?

As mentioned above, there are both pros and cons to both Break/Fix and Managed IT services, and determining what’s exactly right for your needs can be a challenge. When trying to decide, keep in mind the following points:

  • When it comes to Break/Fix, you get what you pay for, and the actual cost for them to fix your problem can be up in the air. If your problem takes two hours to fix, you’ll only pay for two hours of IT support. However, if it takes two days to fix your problem, you’ll pay for two days. It can be really hard for you to budget how much time and money a problem will cost you.
  • Because of the above point, you may put pressure on the IT company to solve your problem quickly and keep IT support hours to a minimum. As such, there may be no real incentive to solve the underlying issue of whatever is causing your current problem. Plus, you’ll have to pay more if the problem happens again and you have to come back. Double the support. Double the cost.
  • Quite simply, preventing a problem before it arises is far cheaper than curing the problem at all. Prevention is at the core of Managed IT. Don’t wait for something to break or for a problem to occur – being proactive can save you time, money, and potentially, business.

Have a current IT issue or more questions on Managed IT and what the right choice is for you or your business?

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Topics: collaboration, Security, Business Continuity, Calgary, small business IT, Evolve, Business, Break/Fix, Reliable IT, Managed IT