Determining the right amount of IT staff for your business

Do you remember a time when determining the size of your IT team was a simple head count calculation?

Each end user requires X amount of IT support hours and we have Y amount of end users. These days, with so much complexity, the calculation is not so straight forward. Gartner talks about an average ratio of 70:1, however in our experience this only fits a small set of companies.

IT environments now span the whole breadth of most companies, and requirements are constantly fluctuating. Engineers are managing more and more, across cloud and infrastructure maintenance, application support and Dev Ops, and the ever-challenging end user support.

Under-resourcing in any of these areas can have major knock-on effects, directly impacting productivity, revenue generation, and staff satisfaction. But over-resourcing the IT support function is not an option for most businesses as it can have a negative impact on profit.

So how do you get the number as close to right as possible?

After 25 years we have found that the most holistic approach is to look at the business needs first.

  • What is the level of user experience you want to offer your staff? Is it standard across everyone or do you have power users that will require urgent assistance?
  • What is the appetite for risk around downtime, can you afford to have a single point of failure?
  • How many levels of specialised skills do you require? Is your IT out of the box or heavily customised?
  • How much control does the business require over IT? Is it necessary to have a DevOps team on board full time or can you streamline it into your trusted partnerships?

When you begin to take these levels of detail into account, it’s no wonder most businesses find it best to outsource some or all of their IT support. The economies of scale are generally earned from having a much bigger pool of engineers. Availability is higher, risk is lower, and SLA’s can be set to make sure the important things are always taken care of. Managed Services Providers (MSPs) can also use metrics like end user satisfaction to tailor the right levels of support. Leveraged resourcing means that each Full Time Employment (FTE) requirement can be split across several different roles. The bigger the MSP the more resources they can leverage, passing savings from economies of scale back to the business.

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