Understanding the pros and cons of break/fix IT services

Understanding the pros and cons of break/fix IT services

In our last post in this series, we provided an introduction to two different business models for IT service providers: managed services and break/fix. As promised, we will now take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each of these options, to give you more insight into why we consider managed services to be the preferable option for most use cases.

We'll start with break/fix IT services.

Con: Everything is an emergency

By waiting until you have no choice but to call in your service provider due to an IT emergency, you’re opening yourself up to a variety of issues.

For one, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your service provider to fix the issue as quickly as possible. If you’re not careful about who you choose to work with, this could end up leading to rushed, shoddy work that may fix the problem on the surface without addressing the underlying issue that created the problem in the first place. In fact, this is one main reason that many IT service providers have completely moved away from offering break/fix services. For these providers, offering break/fix services—even if it's by the customer's request—can only lead to shortchanging the customer in the end.

Con: Working with strangers

When your IT systems are broken and you need to get them online again as quickly as possible, you’d probably prefer to work with a service provider that really knows those systems inside and out. However, when you use break/fix IT services, that’s exactly the opposite of what you get.

Since break/fix service providers don’t work with you until there is a problem, they won’t know anything about the particulars of your systems when you do end up needing their services. The result is that it may take them longer to identify the source of the problem, which in turn means your business will have to wait even longer for your mission-critical systems to go back online.

Con: No assistance with improving your IT performance

If you’re the type of business leader who looks at preserving the status quo as acceptable, then break/fix IT services are likely good enough for you. However, most business leaders believe in trying to improve their business wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Working with a break/fix service provider offers no such opportunities for your IT environment.

Simply put, with a break/fix IT service provider, you get what you pay for, and that means you don’t get anything beyond the basic remediation of problems. Even if a break/fix provider were inclined to be proactive and offer you suggestions to help you get better results out of your IT systems, they wouldn’t be able to do so; once again, they wouldn’t know your systems well enough to make those kinds of recommendations.

Pro: No monthly fee

Now, we come down to the one issue that attracts many businesses to the idea of a break/fix service provider in the first place: price. With no monthly fee to pay, business leaders may feel as though they're making a savvy financial decision by forgoing managed services in favor of break/fix. However, as we'll learn in our next post, the benefits of managed services far outweigh the costs, whereas break/fix may not always be as affordable as it seems.

Take a look at how we at Cima handle this.

Take a closer look

More to come!

- Jim

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