Skip to main content

Why the Break-fix Model is Broken

19 August, 2020

The break-fix model, which advocates for fixing something only when it breaks, is not a viable approach in today’s business landscape. While traditional wisdom may suggest that if something is not broken, it does not require fixing, this notion is not always accurate. It is important to challenge conventional beliefs, such as “the customer is always right,” and evaluate their applicability to modern situations.

The Inadequacies of the Break-fix Model

The break-fix model fails to address the potential consequences of waiting for something to break before taking action. This reactive approach can prove to be both costly and disastrous in the long run. It raises questions about finding the right balance between routine upgrades and replacement only when necessary. Moreover, how does this relate to the theme of hiring an IT technician, which has been the focus of this series?

Breaking the Cycle of the Break-fix Model

As companies grow and expand, certain aspects that were once considered important may be neglected or deprioritized. Some organizations even adopt the break-fix model as a response to rapid growth or limited resources. Unfortunately, technology-related elements, such as computers, servers, copiers, and software, often fall victim to this approach. While these devices and programs may not have an inherent expiration date, their continued use does not necessarily imply optimal efficiency or effectiveness.

Many of us have used computers for close to a decade, only to experience sudden failures or discover that our hardware cannot support required software upgrades. While such incidents may inconvenience individuals on a personal level, they can have severe consequences for businesses. Unexpected equipment failures can result in significant productivity losses or, worse, the loss of critical data.

Despite these risks, some organizations persist in relying on the break-fix approach, replacing equipment only when it breaks down. This places them at the mercy of prevailing market prices when immediate replacement becomes necessary. While occasional sales may be found, more often than not, organizations end up paying full retail prices. On the other hand, adopting a scheduled replacement strategy enables businesses to leverage volume discounts.

Let’s consider some general numbers. Suppose the cost of a workstation is $1000 per employee. For an organization with 25 employees, replacing all workstations would cost $25,000. However, purchasing all the equipment at once could secure a 20% volume discount, resulting in savings of $5,000. By replacing equipment individually as they break down, organizations not only waste $5,000 but also face unpredictable monthly or yearly expenses. One month they may pay nothing, and the next month they may incur a $5,000 expense.

The Complexity of the Break-fix Approach

Replacing equipment involves more than simply writing a check. Organizations must determine when hardware replacement is necessary, where to make the purchases, how to negotiate volume pricing, what specific equipment is required, and how to allocate the necessary budget. Additionally, they need to address concerns such as logistics, including equipment installation and the appropriate disposal of outdated hardware.

These considerations are typically handled by the organization’s IT department or outsourced Managed Service Provider (MSP). While the equipment is essential for operations, most organizations lack individuals with the expertise or bandwidth to handle these complex tasks. This underscores the importance of having a dedicated IT professional who can effectively navigate these challenges. Thus, hiring an IT technician becomes a prudent financial decision.

The Value of Proactive Spending

As previously highlighted, delaying purchases until they are absolutely necessary can lead to significant long-term costs. It is more prudent to have someone consistently addressing IT needs before problems arise. In the first article of this series, we explained how engaging an MSP, compared to hiring an in-house IT technician or a dedicated department, makes the most financial sense.

Apart from factors like salary, insurance, and other expenses associated with an employee, engaging an MSP brings additional cost-saving benefits. MSPs serve multiple clients, which enhances their purchasing power and allows for better volume pricing. While an organization may only require 25 computers, an MSP serving multiple clients can negotiate discounts for a total volume purchase of 100 computers or more.

Furthermore, a reputable MSP will replace any substandard hardware and software at the outset of the contract. Although this may initially present a financial challenge, it ultimately leads to long-term savings. By having comprehensive knowledge of all equipment, the MSP can handle future upgrades or repairs quickly and within budget.

Another advantage of engaging an MSP is the ability to budget accurately. Replacing equipment only when it breaks down can result in significant, unforeseen fluctuations in IT expenses. By partnering with an MSP, organizations have a clear understanding of their monthly and yearly IT costs.

Breaking Free from the Break-fix Cycle

If you are tired of being trapped in the ineffective break-fix cycle, we invite you to contact us today. Our goal is to help our customers not only reduce costs by planning for the future but also ensure uninterrupted productivity. Our experienced team will conduct a detailed assessment of your current system and develop a comprehensive plan tailored to your business needs. By partnering with us, you can break free from the break-fix cycle and embark on a path towards success.

19 August, 2020