Comparing Apples to Apples: IT Service Models Explained

Before you can accurately compare the fees, services and deliverables of one IT services company to another, you need to understand the three predominant service models that most companies fit within. Some companies offer a blend of all three, while others strictly offer only one service plan. The three predominant service models are:

Time and Materials

In the industry, we also refer to this as “break-fix” services. Essentially, you pay an agreed-upon hourly rate for a technician to “fix” your problem when something breaks. Under this model, you might be able to negotiate a discount based on buying a block of hours. The scope of work may be simply to resolve a specific problem (like removing a virus), or it may encompass a large project like computer network upgrades or move that has a specific result and end date. Some companies will offer staff augmentation and placement under this model as well.

Managed IT Services

This is a model where the IT services company takes the role of “IT department” and not only installs and supports all the devices and PCs that connect to your server(s), but also offers phone, email, and on-site support, antivirus, security, backup and a host of other services to monitor and maintain the health, speed, performance and security of your computer network.

Software Vendor-Supplied IT Services

Many software companies will offer IT support for their customers in the form of a help desk or remote support for an additional fee. However, these are typically scaled-back services that are limited to troubleshooting their specific application, and not your entire computer network and all the applications and devices connected to it. If your problem resides outside of their specific software or the server its hosted on, they can’t help you, and will often refer you to “your IT department”. While it’s recommended to buy the maintenance and support package with a critical software application you use to run your business, most businesses need full IT services and support to keep their whole infrastructure up and running.

When looking to outsource your IT support, the two models you are most likely to choose between are Managed IT Services and Break-Fix models. We will dive into the pros and cons of these two options, and the typical fee structure for both in a future blog.

In the meantime, if your business is in need of an IT company that examines what your business needs and assists with recommendations based on your business model, give us a call at 850-250-3210 or come by our office at 1330 Harrison Ave, Panama City, FL 32405. We would be glad to assist you.

Best Wishes,
Randall and Julie Garner and the entire Garner IT team


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