No IT Problems?
"All of our systems are working just fine"
"We don't have any IT problems"
"We don't have any upgrades planned"
Ever heard anything like that before? No? Me neither. Because you don't have enough IT people.
Pretty much every company has a list of technology problems that they want to solve. It could be as simple as upgrading machines or as complex as redesigning the entire environment, but everybody has a list. Scheduling for upgrades and maintenance and even support first requires knowing your IT support load and how many IT people you need to get the job done. But if your current IT people are putting out fires, they won't have time for new projects.
What is an "IT person"?
Before you can decide how many IT people you need, first we should define what an IT person is. For this article, I am just referring to support people. Such as helpdesk or other end-user support. I am not referring to network, database, systems or other administrators.
What's the best ratio for us?
I've heard all sorts of ratios as to what the ideal number of IT workers versus staff should be. I've heard from as low as 1:7 (financial companies) to as high as 1:250 (IT firms)! Some companies have a much higher ratio, and their employees suffer. It is up to you how much work you want to get done, the skill level of your employees and what "pain level" is acceptable. It also depends on the tools you have available, the response rate and service rate you plan to offer, as well as many other options.
At least 1 to 60 ratio
If you want to handle existing break/fix, plan for new projects, proactive maintenance, and have happy users, you should aim for a ratio of about 1:60. If the company has low technical people, the ratio should be 1:40. If the company has high technical people, 1:80. The average for most companies seems to be about 1:100. This is based on my experience, and what I have seen in the field. 10 years ago, my recommended ratio would be half of this, but today the ratio is higher.
What does this mean?
Most companies don't have enough IT people. They cannot properly react to problems, proactively plan for expansion or upgrades or mitigate risks. This doesn't mean you should be complacent! Just because most businesses aren't prepared doesn't mean you don't have to be. Hackers/Crackers/Viruses and more don't care what the average is, they just want to harm your network! Chances are, you should hire more support people.
Need more help?
If you need help supporting your users, give us a call or use the contact form on the right to see how RDA can help you! If you are local to the Boston area, we can help supplement your IT staff and help get that ratio down!
WorkForce.com - ratio of it staff to employees
SAmanage.com what's the average service desk to employee ratio
SpiceWorks.com what is your ratio? How many users per tech support personnel
Google Answers - Ratio of IT personnel to users for a corporate office