Breaking the Break-Fix Mentality: Managed IT Services vs. Break-Fix IT

Managed Services vs. Break-Fix IT

If you find yourself avoiding preventative maintenance on your IT infrastructure, you’re not alone. This phenomenon – what we in the industry like to call the “break-fix mentality” – can be costly, so the question becomes…why not avoid getting around to fixing something after it’s already broken? We can say from experience that waiting until an element in a network malfunctions is the wrong approach to take with IT, which is why a managed service provider (MSP) like TechPulse can help. In a generalized sense, you’re not saving money or doing your organization any favors by relying on the break-fix IT method of calling an IT management company when an issue occurs. Prior to the cloud, apps and complex IT systems, business operations could survive using the break-fix mentality; today, with all the IT service options available, a managed service provider is definitely the way to go to avoid costly errors through preventative measures.

Why the Break-Fix Mentality Isn’t the Way to Go (And How it Can Actually Hinder Business)

Old adages such as “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” do not apply to the fast-paced world of technology and business continuity requirements. Now, it’s certainly accurate that there are, sometimes, things that don’t necessitate replacement – but we often put off fixing or replacing things due to our own complacency. Then there’s the cavalier attitude many of us have regarding threats to business continuity because of our assumption that horrible things only happen to other people – not to us. It’s one thing to put off replacing high-ticket items like a refrigerator, car or large-screen TV because they’re working just fine…but keeping end-of-life system software and aging computer systems around “just because?” That’s something entirely different. In all our years as IT industry experts, we have encountered countless examples of putting off upgrades of clunky old hardware because it was “inconvenient” or because clients simply didn’t want to spend the money; many of those instances ended up being single points of failure that arrested large migrations and application modernization efforts – and resulted in delays that were considerably more expensive than the money the organization believed it would be saving by putting off upgrades. Here are some real-world examples we can share to illustrate our points about the break-fix mentality—and why it’s no good for business:

  • A large insurance company decided not to upgrade its mainframe’s 3270 communications stack to TCP/IP 10 years earlier while leaving its physically bus-connected (and unsupported) OS/220 SNA gateway in place when it faced a massive data center consolidation and VMware virtualization effort a decade later.
  • The public transit authority of a large city had a 30-year-old mainframe still in service that operated the switching system for its train cars and that needed code modifications when alterations to the train lines were made; someone who wrote the original program had to actually be pulled out of retirement because the system wasn’t supported by the original vendor any longer and no one on the transit authority’s staff boasted those skill sets.

We could go on and on with dozens of examples of systems that weren’t “broken” but were nevertheless left in place, and the dire consequences that followed, but the bottom line is that the break-fix mentality can be a hindrance to businesses.

The Managed IT Solutions Answer

Instead of having to invest in hiring and maintaining a team of trained IT experts, companies can save time and money on developing and maintaining their network infrastructures, email hosting activities, web hosting activities, data storage, data backup and network security by outsourcing these services to a single managed service provider. Managed IT solutions give businesses access to a fully-staffed IT department for precisely the services they’re after, all at a fraction of the cost of approaching this from an in-house perspective. When it comes to fighting the break-fix mentality, managed IT solutions can provide:

  • Data center monitoring and management
  • Managed user approaches
  • Complete care
  • Managed computer security
  • Vendor management
  • Managed email service

This provides the perfect lead-in to our next topic, which will take a look at the differences between managed IT and break-fix approaches.

Managed IT vs. Break-Fix

Whatever size a business may be – regardless of industry or scope – an organization can always benefit from IT services. As such, IT requires support and maintenance from time to time, just like everything else in our lives, and in the world of IT services there are two models of maintenance to choose from:

  • Break-fix IT services
  • Managed IT services

Let’s recap: traditionally, IT maintenance and fix processes were performed only when a system suddenly ceased to work. This model focuses on reacting to problems after they have already occurred—hence, the “break-fix” methodology. The flip side to this coin is the managed services approach to IT, which allows companies to take preventative measures to ensure smooth operations of all their facilities – without waiting for something to crash in order to start. As we suggested earlier, the old-school break-fix approach to IT often exhibits conflicting business motives; the drawbacks, as compared to a managed IT solution, include:

  • No incentive to upgrade network management tools or automation systems
  • Hourly billing/variable costs, response times and lack of guarantees
  • Down time increased, yielding loss of business and revenue

 

What a Managed IT Service Provider Can Bring to the Table

Through a professional IT company like TechPulse, constant monitoring and maintenance is guaranteed, shrinking a company’s chances of experiencing outages and ensuring preventative measures are taken so they don’t happen. By going with a firm such as TechPulse, the IT benefits include:

  • Fixed costs, with customizable payment models (i.e. monthly/bi-annually/annually)
  • Access to skilled IT professionals, without putting them on payroll
  • Low downtime due to monitored and mitigated risks
  • Access to enterprise-grade automation and monitoring systems
  • Incentive to keep networks and infrastructures stable

Click here to learn more about TechPulse’s myriad of IT services.