Cheeseburgers and Tech: What makes IT support so expensive?
The iconic cheeseburger is the most popular and versatile item on any restaurant menu in America. When you stop and think about it, the range of burger options and customizations is mind blowing. You can find a cheeseburger on almost any fast food menu for as little as $1, while it can also be found on gourmet restaurant menus for as much as $6,000! Now that’s some versatility!
I don’t intend to delve into all the details that distinguish a $1 cheeseburger from a $6,000 cheeseburger, so for simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on the obvious reasons: what ingredients are used, the quality of said ingredients, and the quality and experience of the chef that is preparing it. Of course, the burger made with a patty of questionable meat origin, no garnishes, and prepared by an inexperienced fast-food worker can be sold for $1. But a burger utilizing some of the most expensive ingredients in the world such as Japanese Wagyu beef, white truffles, caviar, and king crab, and prepared by the self-proclaimed King of Hamburgers is going to cost you a pretty penny.
What Does This Have To Do With IT Support?
By now you’re asking, what does this have to do with outsourced IT service plans? Well, there are many similarities between outsourced IT service plans and cheeseburgers, so let’s dive in!
First, you must understand that the MSP (Managed Service Providers) industry loves options. Just as there are thousands of varieties of cheeseburgers across America, there are also thousands of varieties of IT service plans. Sure, there are staple ingredients for the good ol’ all-American cheeseburger such as lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. This also rings true with IT service plans with “ingredients” such as tech support, monitoring agents, patching and updating (we like to call these inclusions commodity tools and services – meaning any MSP worth its salt offers these things). But just as any chef can conjure up a unique combination of ingredients to make a signature cheeseburger, so does every MSP assemble their chosen ingredients for their services.
Concisely, it’s an artistic license and exercise for any MSP to settle on their suite of service plans, what they will include and not include, and how to price those plans to be profitable. What this typically results in is a three-option menu: good, better, and best (remember I said above that MSP’s love options). Some MSP’s just can help themselves and offer a menu like the Cheesecake Factory.
What Makes Up The IT Services Cheeseburger?
Outsourced IT service plans are comprised of both “tools” and “services.” Tools are the technical pieces (usually software) that the MSP must either own or purchase so that they can fulfill a plan inclusion or inclusions. Services are typically more labor-specific and require a person or persons with skills, knowledge, and experience to deliver. Combined, the variety of tools and services available in the MSP industry (ingredients) lead to an almost infinite number of combinations (cheeseburgers). This makes it incredibly challenging to compare plans across MSP’s when you’re shopping for services.
Of course, all these things cost money, and just like crab legs and caviar, have a wide variance in price and quality. Therefore, it’s an artistic process, and an especially important business decision, for an MSP to decide how much or how little is included, which in turn dictates what you will get and not get, and how much it will cost you. If you’ve had a cell phone plan for long enough, you’ll remember the days when you were limited to a certain number of minutes and text messages before extra fees kick in. Many MSP service plans are still structured this way today.
How To Choose The Right Provider For Your Business
So how do you know which cheeseburger is right for you? The fast-food burger, the Red Robin, or the Gordon Ramsay? The truth of the matter is: it depends on your needs and what you are seeking in a service. Sometimes, a good fast-food burger is all you need. Other times, you need the Gordon Ramsay. Over almost 25 years in business, we at SisAdmin have had to constantly evaluate and revise our service offerings. Several years ago, we identified two key things.
- Our client base clearly needed and benefited from a specific combination of tools of services, and their businesses always benefited getting the better or best “cheeseburger”.
- Providing within our services a good, better, and best option didn’t fit with our company culture. We couldn’t bring ourselves to give only some of our clients our best, and others were supposed to be on the “good enough” plan. We decided at once that we would have one core-plan and each client would get our best. We call that plan SisCare.
If you’re interested in learning what ingredients we chose to put in our cheeseburger, we’d love to hear from you.