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Small Business IT Support: Computer Consultant or Sysadmin?

Businesses, whether big or small, need continuous IT support to make sure that their day to day commercial activities are conducted smoothly. In this age of technology, all kinds of operations in a business are dependent on Information Technology or IT. Hence, the businesses need to make sure that the IT components of their organization are always up and running.  If a business does not get the required IT support it will not be able to function properly.

Let us take the example of a small business in the area of St. Louis area with employee strength of 40 - 50, which requires IT support. There are two ways through which small businesses in this region can get the required IT support. The two ways are:

a) Hiring a system administrator.

b) Outsourcing IT work through a computer consultant.

Before you decide to opt for any of these two options, you will need to consider the pros and cons associated with them. You have to make sure that your organization in selecting the best available option, when it comes to getting the required IT support.

Hiring a system administrator Vs Outsourcing IT work through an IT consultant

Most big businesses hire a system administrator who provides them with continuous business IT support by taking care of all of IT related problems. Such employee is entitled to receive all benefits like any other worker. The advantage of hiring a sysadmin is that the business gets dedicated support as the admin is almost always present at the business premises. Thus, the response time for troubleshooting problems is insignificant whereas the response time is higher when troubleshooting assistance is provided by a computer consultant. Any IT consultant firm would require at least a couple hours before a technician arrives onsite. The option of remote business IT support is a lot faster but still there might be delays.

A major drawback of hiring a system administrator is that it is not a very cost-effective solution. The average yearly salary of a system administrator in St. Louis area is up to $78,000. Besides, a person on staff also needs to be provided with other industry standard benefits like health insurance, and there's also an overhead of unemployment tax at 7%, etc. It's easy to see that in order to hire a pproficient system administrator, an organization would need to spend around $7500 (approx.) on a monthly basis

On the other hand, if you outsource IT work through an IT consultant, you can get the required IT support at an affordable rate. The computer consultants, who offer small business IT support in this region, are highly efficient and they charge an hourly rate of $90-180. Usually, the maintenance of IT network in any small business requires 4-8 hours of work per week. Hence, the total amount of money that your organization will spend, on a monthly basis, for outsourcing IT work, will be less than $3000.

Moreover, needs for Small Business IT support are not very extensive therefore the admin is often out of work. In order to increase organizational productivity, a manager has to make sure that the system admin is always tasked. However this can become a headache for the manager as inventing tasks to the system admin on a regular basis is not easy. This problem simply obviously does not exist when the business opt for the services of a computer consultant.

Another drawback of hiring a system administrator is that, when the individual is sick or is on vacation, the business might have a very difficult time resolving technical problems. On the contrary - an IT consulting firm would have techs with different skill sets who can substitute each other and complement each other on tasks requiring specialty skills. They can provide continuous support over a prolonged period of time.