One Reason Billable Hours Usually Cost Less Than You Think

Is good SharePoint (and/or General IT) support from an outsourced company expensive? The answer to that question depends a great deal on who you ask, and on the perspective you take on the value of a solid IT provider.

Allow me to explain: Simply looking at the hourly rates most experienced, professional IT providers ask for, it would be easy to draw the conclusion that good technology support certainly is expensive. Often, however, the real costs of getting good technology support are lower than you might think.

Why? Because they’re not being done by you, or any member of your staff.

That might sound like backwards logic – after all, you or one of your employees could theoretically fix your technology problems without any invoice being paid – but it’s not. That’s because, in most companies, your employees have plenty to do already. What’s more, they are being paid a healthy amount, in terms of salary and benefits, to do it.

Taking them away from their jobs means that some critical task within your organization, the one you have hired them and specially trained them to perform, is no longer being seen to. So the question you have to ask yourself is what part of your business are you willing to sacrifice to have an employee work on your technology? Is it sales, or maybe customer service? Could it be billing, or even data entry?

Stealing a few hours away from one of these departments might not seem like a big deal, but the effects can easily become cumulative. In other words, "robbing" one area of the business to pay another typically ends up hurting you a lot more than it helps you in the long run. This is especially true when you factor in the added time that it takes an untrained employee to solve even a routine technology problem. Because it’s not within their area of expertise, something that should take minutes, or hours, ends up burning entire weeks.

One final consideration is the loss of effectiveness that usually results from this kind of arrangement. Whether you are using simple databases or expensive servers, you paid good money for your technology to have it work a certain way. Why risk having it be damaged, or working at less-than-optimal efficiency by counting on untrained employees to fix it, or perform maintenance?

When it comes down to it, billable IT hours aren’t as much about cost as they are about value. If you think that you can’t afford to pay a technology professional to maintain or repair your company’s hardware and software, then you probably aren’t looking hard enough at the total bottom-line costs.