What is best for my company, Break-Fix or IT Management?

Catalyst IT Solutions | What is best: Break-Fix or IT Management?


First off, the million-dollar question is what type of IT support is best for my company, break-fix or IT Management? We will go over the differences between the two and hopefully it will help you with a question companies struggle with all the time.

Break-fix IT support is just as it sounds, if you have a problem with anything IT, a call is made to the IT company and a service technician is dispatched to handle the problem. Client gets billed for time and material. How much will you spend in a month, or for each call it a shot in the dark. One month you might not need any support and the next month the technicians may be there every week.

IT Management is a solution providing a holistic approach to the management of your entire network, computers, security, back-up and more for one flat monthly rate. This typically includes proactive monitoring and maintenance done remotely with the goal of addressing issues before they become client-facing problems and system failures. Many times, problems are handled with no disruptions to the business or anybody knowing.

There has been a large and steady migration away from break/fix to the IT Management model for reasons we’ll get to below. It’s important to note that, for many providers, break-fix support does still have a role in their business. Keep in mind the frequency at which new technologies emerge continues to disrupt the break-fix operating models. You only have to take a look at the projected market growth for MSPs to see this rapid disruption, with the industry expected to hit $296.38 billion globally by 2023, up from $173.4 billion USD in 2018.

Problems with the break/fix model

Break-fix servicing may actually be the right model for certain clients in particular situations. Under the right conditions, it can be effective but is unpredictable. That said, there’s a reason IT Management has emerged as the dominant business model. Namely, it’s all too easy for break-fix models to create situations where clients are frustrated or in constant crisis mode.

Here are a few of the fundamental flaws in the break-fix model.

Why the break-fix model can be bad for clients:

  • Misaligned incentives: Service providers only get paid when there are problems. Is the client really paying for what is needed?
  • Unpredictable costs: Because break-fix work is reactive and case-by-case, it’s difficult for clients to budget ahead of time.
  • Burden is on the client to know what needs to be done: The break-fix model requires clients to be the decision makers, even if that’s not a position they’re qualified for or want to be in.
  • Downtime: The reactive nature also means clients have to deal with active fallout from problems while they alert the provider and wait for them to respond.
  • Short-sighted: Because work is billed hourly, break-fix clients are incentivized to choose quick, short-term fixes over long-lasting but more intensive solutions. Likewise, break-fix service providers are incentivized to provide temporary fixes again and again instead of solving issues for good.
  • Ultimately more expensive: Remediation is normally more expensive than prevention.

Benefits of the managed services model

The managed services model is a proactive alternative that solves the issues with the break/fix approach. This approach is less stressful for the client and the service provider, its more about monitoring and providing the expertise to keep a business operating a peak level 24-7-365.

Pros for clients:

  • Better alignment: Managed services providers (MSPs) are incentivized to spend less active time cleaning up messes, so instead they aim to prevent problems in the first place — the same goal the client has!
  • Predictable costs: Set monthly fees give clients budget clarity.
  • Better stability: Because MSPs provide 24/7 monitoring and proactive maintenance they’re able to quickly respond to issues and head off potential system failures before damage is done.
  • Infrastructure upgrade: Rather than simply applying band-aids, MSPs provide clients with more robust and secure IT environments by managing network performance, security, backup, email, helpdesk, and more.
  • More affordable than in-house IT: With an MSP, clients will get a more diverse team dedicated to specific areas of the business’s IT infrastructure at a fraction of the cost.
  • Redundant service – An engineer is always available to respond to your urgent IT needs.
  • Knowledgeable engineers – MSP engineers are highly skilled and can solve complex problems.
  • Secure services – Along with continual monitoring, your MSP securely stores your business-critical data remotely.

So Back to the Question. What is best for my company, Break-Fix or IT Management?

As the complexities of IT evolve, managed services will continue to make more sense for businesses who don’t have the resources for an internal IT department.

Without someone dedicated to monitoring and maintaining your IT environment, problems are going to catch up with you.

Not only does IT Management resolve your problems, but it takes a proactive approach to the health of your IT environment and normally its more cost-effective. Unless you’re a business with a very small IT footprint that requires only occasional IT support, managed IT services is worth looking into for your business. An MSP is meant to do more than just solve your problems. Ultimately, when you choose managed services for IT support, you’re building a relationship with a trusted adviser, not just paying for one-off support.

What are the main areas of IT Management?

Making the switch from break-fix to managed services isn’t a light undertaking. At Catalyst IT, we’re here to help you through the process of going from break-fix to IT Management. We support your business in all areas of IT support to include, but not limited to Managed Service Desk, Managed Infrastructure, Managed IT Security, Managed Backup & Recovery, vCIO Consulting Services. For a free consultation on your networks health and have discussions about our services that will provide peace of mind for your business,  call Catalyst IT at 877-843-9611 or submit a request on our contact us page.