Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT


  • Service Provider

    Our MSP and FTE conversation inevitably leads to discussions about on premises and remote IT. This should be a totally separate discussion because both MSPs and FTEs can be full time on premises, and either can be remote. As an FTE in my career, I was remote more often than I was local, and also mostly offshored!

    Now we should keep in mind that remote can mean "work from home, but still local", "work from home, but really remote", "work from a remote office", "offshore to another country, both insourced and outsourced", etc. Remote is a broad category of "not on premises."


  • Service Provider

    Some things that people often overlook, but that are really big deals...

    Remote staff, if carefully planned, can be...

    • In a time zone where their daytime is more closely aligned with the desired working hours. (Avoiding working local overnights, for example.)
    • Can be a major benefit in lieu of higher pay.
    • Real estate and insurance can be very large cost factors depending on region.
    • There can be large tax benefits.
    • Work from home can often make for a more productive, focused worker.
    • Reducing or eliminating commute time makes for far better work conditions for both parties. And can be a huge cost benefit to the employee.


  • I'm not sure where this fits in - but the bench aspect for most FTE SMB IT personal seems to be a huge part of what many companies are really wanting solved.

    Perhaps less so in the fewer than 50 people, but in my case, 100 users, running around fixing printers, people can't figure out how to get on Wifi, etc is considered one of my primary (granted non IT) jobs.

    So if I wasn't onsite, these issues would be seriously delayed in getting resolved.


  • Service Provider

    @dashrender said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    Perhaps less so in the fewer than 50 people, but in my case, 100 users, running around fixing printers, people can't figure out how to get on Wifi, etc is considered one of my primary (granted non IT) jobs.

    So if I wasn't onsite, these issues would be seriously delayed in getting resolved.

    So take a 100 user typically company, if such a thing exists. What's the total IT + Bench or IT+B budget envelope? Maybe $130K.

    A bench tech who just does that stuff, full time, might be $30K, but let's be generous and give them $40K.

    That's still a tiny amount of the IT budget for a company of that size. The remaining $90K, the bulk of the IT budget, can go to remote still. "Something" always has to be done locally, but it's "always" just the bench portion, and typically incredibly tiny and gets smaller as time goes forward, and as businesses get bigger.

    In a one person company, bench represents easily 90% of all work. In a ten person company, it might be 15%. In an enterprise, it's under 1%.


  • Service Provider

    If you get to a level below 100 users or so, you generally can't utilize a full time bench tech. So you get to a point where even bench you need to figure something out - either utilizing some other staff that is willing to "step up" to part time bench, or using a bench service through an MSP that is part time or whatever.

    No question, someone to do hands on is needed. But having the high cost IT staff be even higher cost, local, and spent doing local bench work for any significant amount of time is just wasting money.



  • We are 130 and don't have a FTE bench person. That is one of the part time hats that we wear along with the other IT duties that we have. I know that bench technically isn't IT, but we do have to fill those duties.


  • Service Provider

    @nerdydad said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    We are 130 and don't have a FTE bench person. That is one of the part time hats that we wear along with the other IT duties that we have. I know that bench technically isn't IT, but we do have to fill those duties.

    But do you need to fill them? How much does it cost to have expensive IT resources doing non-IT tasks that would be really cheap to have someone doing?

    What if the cost of having IT do it was high, and then what if you figured out the cost of IT caused by this?

    Is a $30K bench cost being hidden and accidentally creating a $70K IT cost? Easily it is. How many IT people are high cost and localized to cover for not hiring a really inexpensive, dedicated bench tech?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    @nerdydad said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    We are 130 and don't have a FTE bench person. That is one of the part time hats that we wear along with the other IT duties that we have. I know that bench technically isn't IT, but we do have to fill those duties.

    But do you need to fill them? How much does it cost to have expensive IT resources doing non-IT tasks that would be really cheap to have someone doing?

    In many cases, the cost is less than the value received for IT personnel to perform many bench tasks, especially in SMB. As the axiom goes, "Cost is what you pay, Value is what you get!"

    An onsite FTE in a SMB may provide better value than in an a larger enterprise.

    "Reducing or eliminating commute time makes for far better work conditions for both parties. And can be a huge cost benefit to the employee."

    I like your possible idea above about maybe a split remote access/onsite FTE for lower salary. Costs would be lower and provide a higher value to both the SMB and the employee.



  • @dashrender It's the same for me as well. We are around 300 users now and still slightly growing every year. A lot of that is fixing printers, helping with WiFi and showing users how to do things.

    I will say, though, that this has lessened considerably the more I automate , keep people on an update schedule, and do regular maintenance. When I first took this position I regularly found computers that had not been updated at all in like 3 years. So things are getting better.



  • @scottalanmiller When I first started my job was probably 80% bench tech and 20% IT. Now I would say it is close to being reversed, maybe 70% It and 30% bench. I spend most of my time powershell remoting, imaging, raiding, and scripting.



  • @jmoore said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    @dashrender It's the same for me as well. We are around 300 users now and still slightly growing every year. A lot of that is fixing printers, helping with WiFi and showing users how to do things.

    I will say, though, that this has lessened considerably the more I automate , keep people on an update schedule, and do regular maintenance. When I first took this position I regularly found computers that had not been updated at all in like 3 years. So things are getting better.

    I rarely deal with wifi question - it's mostly new devices or external users wanting on the guest wifi (finally added 2 years ago).
    Most of the time now it's label and normal printers, and dead machines.


  • Service Provider

    @pmoncho said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    An onsite FTE in a SMB may provide better value than in an a larger enterprise.

    I think that you are on the wrong thread. This is the thread for local vs. remote, not FTE vs. MSP. That's the other thread.

    But in that one, we covered why this statement is technically impossible as there is no possibility for an FTE to provide any value an MSP can't do. But an MSP can do more than an FTE. So logically, no statement can every be made that an FTE can provide more value.


  • Service Provider

    @pmoncho said in Considering the Issues of Remote IT vs Local On Premises IT:

    "Reducing or eliminating commute time makes for far better work conditions for both parties. And can be a huge cost benefit to the employee."

    I like your possible idea above about maybe a split remote access/onsite FTE for lower salary. Costs would be lower and provide a higher value to both the SMB and the employee.

    Split removes nearly all of the benefits like the taxes, real estate, locality, etc. It's not a bad thing, but it means that you cripple the remote benefits significantly in most cases. Instead of saving X, you save .1X or something like that.

    Typically the benefits are already split, the employee spends less to go to work, the company gets more productivity and spends less for them to get the same pay. You don't have to reduce pay to see a wide range of financial and soft benefits to both parties.