Why “Break-Fix” Works Entirely In The Consultant’s Favor, Not Yours
A question I often get is “Why do I need to be on a managed IT plan? Can’t I just pay you to come out and fix things when they’re broken?” While that’s a legitimate question if we were talking about your washing machine or car, that’s definitely NOT the right approach to a critical and dynamic IT system that your company depends on; you DEFINITELY don’t want to wait until something “breaks” before you try and fix a problem. One virus or hacker attack or one slip-up can cause permanent data loss, extended downtime, a violation of data-breach laws, bad PR, loss of customers and sales, and a host of other expensive problems.
Additionally, under a “break-fix” model, there is a fundamental conflict of interests between you and your IT firm. The IT services company has no incentive to stabilize your computer network or to resolve problems quickly because they are getting paid by the hour; therefore the risk of unforeseen circumstances, scope creep, learning-curve inefficiencies and outright incompetence are all shifted to YOU, the customer. Essentially, the more problems you have, the more they profit, which is precisely what you DON’T want.
Under this model, the IT consultant can take the liberty of assigning a junior (lower-paid) technician to work on your problem who may take two to three times longer to resolve an issue than a more senior (and more expensive) technician may have taken to resolve it. There is no incentive to properly manage the time of that technician or their efficiency, and there is every reason for them to prolong the project and to find MORE problems than solutions. Of course, if they’re ethical and want to keep you as a client, they should be doing everything possible to resolve your problems quickly and efficiently; however, that’s akin to putting a German shepherd in charge of watching over the ham sandwiches. Not a good idea.
Second, it creates a management problem for you, the customer, who now has to keep track of the hours they’ve worked to make sure you aren’t getting overbilled; and since you often have no way of really knowing if they’ve worked the hours they say they have, it creates a situation where you really, truly need to be able to trust they are being 100% ethical and honest AND tracking THEIR hours properly (not all do). And finally, it makes budgeting for IT projects and expenses a nightmare since your IT bill may be zero one month and thousands the next.
Plus, IT systems NEED regular monitoring and maintenance to protect against the 80,000+ brand-new malware attacks that are released every day, not to mention accidental hiccups in data backup, employee error, hardware failure, sabotage from disgruntled employees, etc. The list is long. So if keeping your IT systems up and running is important to you – as is keeping your network secure from data loss and cybercriminals – then the ONLY option you should choose is a “managed services” plan from a competent, trustworthy and reliable IT services firm.