Have you recently called your IT provider for more unplanned on-site visits than usual? Instead of sticking to the routine IT maintenance visits, are your provider's IT technicians now being called to your location to fix a growing-laundry list of minor issues?
You may wonder, "Do I need to hire an on-site IT technician, or is my IT provider not working out?"
We've put together seven questions to help determine whether your company might benefit from hiring an internal IT technician to help with small, daily IT tasks.
WEBIT Services has provided IT strategy, service, and support to the greater Chicago area for over 25 years. In that time, it has served hundreds of satisfied clients.
We realize that, as an IT provider, WEBIT has its own bias towards external services. However, an external IT provider may not match every business. Some businesses benefit from an IT provider and an internal IT technician. Others benefit from an internal IT team alone.
You know your business and its needs best. We hope this article helps you make an educated decision for your IT needs.
By the end of this article, you will know seven self-assessment questions to determine if an internal IT technician may benefit your business.
7 questions to ask before you hire an internal IT technician
An internal IT technician can help with reoccurring IT-related issues like printers, keeping the service room tidy, helping employees with their computers, and more. Often, they partner with the IT provider to deliver on-site IT results in real time.
But do you need one? These seven questions will help you evaluate your current IT setup, processes, and partnership to see if an internal IT technician could benefit your business.
1. Are your provider’s on-site visits increasing?
Do you find that you have more and more unplanned IT technician visits? Are these for IT emergencies or reoccurring issues? If you request technician visits for reoccurring but modest concerns (like printers jamming), you might benefit from an internal IT technician.
Sending an IT technician to visit a client on-site is one of the most expensive services for both providers and their clients. As such, they're often reserved for emergencies, projects, or scheduled maintenance.
When a client needs frequent unplanned visits, the cost adds up quickly. If the reoccurring IT concerns have simple solutions, it may be better to invest in hiring an internal IT technician.
If your unplanned IT technician visits are only for emergencies, you may not need an internal IT technician.
2. Has your business grown recently?
Typically, IT professionals recommend a ratio of one internal IT technician to every 100 employees. But, of course, depending on your IT setup and needs, you might consider hiring an internal IT technician when you reach 80 employees.
Your IT issues may increase if your company has experienced exponential growth and hired many new employees. The more people you have in one space, the more problems you typically encounter.
An internal IT technician can help resolve some of these new issues and concerns as they arise instead of waiting for the IT provider's IT technician to arrive.
However, if your company has not grown to 80 or 100 employees, hiring an internal IT technician is unlikely to solve your problem. For smaller companies, the solution may lie in better processes, equipment, or a better IT provider.
In addition, if you have fewer than 80 employees, your internal IT technician would not be a worthwhile investment because they likely won't have enough to do or grow.
3. Where are my employees based?
If your company has reached the 100-employee mark, where are they based? Will your internal IT technician travel between locations or focus on your central office?
If your internal IT technician will travel, do you have 80-100 employees in the area? Are these employees split between office locations, or do they work remotely from home? Do your remote employees need house calls?
If you answered “Yes” to most of the questions above, you might benefit from hiring an internal IT technician.
However, if you answered “No” to most of the questions, an internal IT technician might not fit your company.
4. How complex is your IT system?
Complex IT systems often require more attention than simpler setups.
For example, if you have multiple servers or similar hardware, custom programming, or a variety of applications that you use daily, then you likely have a complex IT system.
However, your IT setup is smaller and more straightforward if you have limited hardware and only use a handful of basic applications.
A more complex system may benefit from on-site “boots on the ground” to learn your system and assist employees with questions.
However, simpler systems may not require an on-site technician to troubleshoot or answer questions. Instead, these may be more easily resolved by your IT provider’s help desk or scheduled on-site visits.
5. What kinds of concerns are you having?
When your employees reach out to the IT help desk, what concerns are they raising? Are they complex issues? Or are they more mundane concerns like temperamental computer accessories?
Are these mechanical issues? For example, printer jams are the bane of office workers everywhere. However, printers may not be an IT-specific issue. The jams may not be caused by faulty programming but by old equipment or low-quality paper. The problem may be purely mechanical.
An internal IT technician may be helpful if your office frequently needs help with mechanical concerns. They take the pressure and frustration off your office employees to help correct similar issues.
However, if your employees regularly call your helpdesk about more complex reoccurring IT issues (particularly ones that seemed solved, then the problem may lie within your provider’s level of service.
6. Can these reoccurring issues be solved by better processes?
Sometimes, reoccurring IT issues can be solved by better processes or tools.
For example, suppose your business has to share documents with customers. Unfortunately, your employees use different document-sharing applications, resulting in lost, incompatible, or compromised files. This frustrates both employees and customers.
Your solution would be to select a single file-sharing application and create an approved process everyone follows.
In this example, an internal IT technician would not be the solution to fix the file-sharing issues. Instead, the solution involved examining the process and seeking to improve it.
Talk with your IT provider about your current processes and your IT concern trends. Could they be related? If so, developing more efficient processes will help.
If they are not related, then an internal IT technician could help.
7. Are these issues due to a poor IT partnership?
Unfortunately, sometimes an increase in service requests isn’t due to growth but due to poor IT provider service.
If your IT concerns are rooted in a poor IT partnership, then an internal IT technician is not the correct solution.
Before hiring someone to help at your location, you may consider reevaluating your IT partnership, discussing your concerns with your provider, and potentially changing providers.
If you are experiencing the following issues, your IT provider might not be meeting your needs:
- Increasing IT helpdesk tickets and unplanned IT technician visits.
- Unplanned IT spending.
- A lack of communication.
- The provider is making promises that it is not keeping.
- Repeating IT issues.
- Solutions feel reactive instead of proactive.
- A lack of IT strategy or awareness of your needs and systems.
- IT help desk responses and solutions are slow.
- You do not trust your provider.
However, an internal IT technician may be a match if you are happy with your IT provider’s service and solutions but would like more on-site support.
Next steps to determine if you need an internal IT technician
If you are in a quality IT partnership, your IT provider knows your growth goals, IT system, and needs. As such, it will often be the first to suggest hiring an internal IT technician to help your office with minor IT issues or mechanical concerns.
An internal IT technician can help if:
- Unplanned IT technician visits to solve mechanical or minor IT issues are increasing.
- Your company has grown to 80-100 employees or more.
- A majority of your employees are local and would benefit from an office IT technician visiting.
- You have a complex IT system.
- Your IT issues are frequent but not emergencies.
- Your IT concerns are not due to IT processes.
- You are happy with your IT provider but could use boots-on-the-ground support in your office.
Talk to your IT provider if you feel an internal IT technician might help your office.
If you are concerned that your IT issues are linked to poor service, talk to your provider to see what can be done. If services do not improve, it may be time to look for a new IT provider.
For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has served hundreds of satisfied clients in the greater Chicago area.
If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT Services can help.
If you aren’t ready to make a commitment but would like to learn more about internal and external IT teams, we recommend the following articles: