Business

The Difference Between Break-Fix and Flat-Rate IT Services

Broken Computer

Image Credit: miss_rogue

For many years, IT companies everywhere used the Break-Fix model to provide services because it only made sense to fix computers and other technology items once they were actually broken. However, as technology has grown, changed, and implemented great reporting tools along the way, a new model is emerging – Flat-Rate IT – and it’s sure to change how the IT industry does business.

Break-Fix

The Break-Fix model of IT support is exactly what it sounds like – your IT Company is only called to fix an item when it is actually broken. While this is currently the industry norm, this model can create lots of problems for the businesses receiving services.

Under the Break-Fix model, businesses are at the mercy of their tech problems. If something breaks, that section of the business is down for an unknown amount of time until the IT Company can send someone out to fix the problem.

What’s more, under this model the IT Company only wins when your business is down. There is no incentive for them to keep you up and running properly, because they don’t make money when your business is stable. Instead, the IT Company is only profitable when you need services.

And that’s the flaw of the Break-Fix model, the IT Company isn’t a true partner of the business they provide services to because they don’t have their best interests in mind. They are only profitable when your business is down and have no incentive to ensure that your equipment is well maintained.

Flat-Rate

However, there is a new model that is being adopted by IT companies everywhere, known as Flat-Rate IT. Under this model, businesses pay a reoccurring monthly fee for monitoring, maintenance, and support. This model allows the entire network, including all office computers, to be monitored on a regular basis.

If something small needs fixing, like applying software updates or running scans, the technician can do so remotely, often after hours, so they don’t impact your staff’s busy day.

However, the beauty of the Flat-Rate model is when big problems

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occur. With Flat-Rate IT, it is easy to predict big problems before they get worse because of all the monitoring and reporting that is happening on the network. Often, this means that parts can be ordered and service can be scheduled prior to the problem getting so big that it takes down the entire office.

And that’s the beauty of the Flat-Rate model – your IT Company only makes money when you are up and running seamlessly, not the other way around. This model allows your IT Company to become a trusted business advisor that truly has your businesses best interests at heart and gives them incentive to keep your computers maintained and running well.

At TechQuility, while we can provide services under the traditional Break-Fix model, we prefer the Flat-Rate model so that we can partner with the businesses we serve and give them the best technology foundation possible. If you’re ready to break free from tradition and discover all the benefits of Flat-Rate IT, contact us today.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you learn more about your technology options. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Data Storage: Where It Has Been, And Where It Is Going

Broken Hard DriveThere is one major problem with the traditional data storage methods used today – the media used to stare the data is often easily corruptible. That’s because, by and large, most media used today is still magnetic, a type of media which is easily prone to damage and data loss.

When you really stop to think about it, it’s surprising how reliable these storage devices are, considering how fragile they are. Items like hard disk drives, CDs and DVDs, and even jump drives aren’t infallible, even though we’d like them to be.

A Look at Our Current Media

Here is an overview of the most common types of storage media used today, and the concerns surrounding those devices.

Hard Disk Drives

The Hard Disk Drive (HDD), commonly found in most computers, is basically made up of a series of platters on top of one another, almost like several record players stacked up. The arm writes and reads data from one platter to the next. If it is bumped, moved, or jostled while the arm is moving, it could do major damage to one or more platters.

Additionally, HDDs are made of magnetic media, which can degrade over a long period of time if not stored properly. This is also why you cannot have magnets around your computers, as they could erase the data on the media (if the magnet is strong enough).

CDs / DVDs – Also made of magnetic media, CDs and DVDs are very easy to damage. One scratch on the surface can mean all the difference between being able to read your data, or not. Additionally, CDs and DVDs need to be stored properly, out of direct sunlight and away from any magnets or other damaging items, in order to help preserve the data the store.

Jump Drives / Solid State Drives

The most reliable storage media currently available are jump drives / solid state drives. A jump drive is just a smaller, more portable solid state drive. These types of drives have no moving parts, unlike a traditional HDD, they are more robust than traditional storage devices. However, jump drives, because they are so small and portable, are easy to lose, misplace, or damage. Additionally, they are susceptible to data loss if the device is not removed correctly.

The Future of Data Storage

Despite these flaws, most of our current storage devices are relatively reliable. However, one company, Hitachi, aims to change how we store data with its newest invention – the glass quartz chip.

The small quartz glass square, currently a prototype, is small, coming in at 2 cm x 2 cm (that’s less than 1 inch on each side), and can hold 40 megabytes per square inch. However, more exciting is that it is nearly indestructible, as it can withstand extreme temperatures, water, and most chemicals.  What’s more, because there’s no magnetic media involved, the data contained can be stored for a much longer amount of time. The only concern could be the media outliving the machines that are available to read it. Currently, this new type of media is in the testing phase, but could be available as early as 2015.

What do you think? Is this new media type a good way to go, or should we try to find ways to make the most out of our current media types?


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you learn more about your technology. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

How to Fix Inefficient Processes

Pile of Paperwork

Image Credit:jepoirrier

While there may be a few indications that processes are inefficient or are just not being followed in the office, many times the problem isn’t realized until it’s too late. However, by this time work is often piled up, orders are backlogged, information isn’t flowing properly, and everyone in the office is pointing at everyone else as the root of the problem.

When this happens, how can

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you determine if it’s a process causing the issue? And, how can you begin taking the necessary steps to correct the problem?

Assessing the Issue

First, it’s important to assess the situation to see exactly where in the process the breakdown happens. Review the processes, and assess them for both quality and waste. Attempt to see where the process itself could be wasting time, and causing inefficiencies.

Is it the Process?

Is the process clear, and easy to understand? Does the process outline all the proper steps? Is anything missing? While it may seem silly, sometimes the simplest things cause the biggest breakdowns, so start at the beginning to see if the problem is with the process itself.

Is it the Employee?

Even if you determine the process needs a little help, continue to assess additional breakdowns. Assess the employee(s) performing the task. Are there any concerns? Did the employee(s) feel empowered enough to bring up problems before it became a larger issue? What do they feel the problem is?

Take the time to talk to your employees about the situation, and see what their concerns are. Since they are the ones that perform the task regularly, they could provide valuable insight, and may even come up with concerns you haven’t even thought of.

Is it the Equipment?

Even if the process is clearly defined, and the employee is eager and willing to carry out their required tasks, it may not be enough if the equipment they are given can’t handle the demands. Spend time assessing your equipment to see how much time slow, outdated machines are costing your business, and to determine what part they are playing in the breakdown of the process.

Correcting the Process

Once inefficiencies are assessed, it’s time to start correcting the process and getting everything back on track.

If it’s the process that’s the concern, re-write it until it is clear and workable for all parties involved. Get input from the employees involved and make any corrections to the process. Then, test, test, test. Sometimes, processes simply don’t work because they aren’t tested after their written, so don’t skip this vital step.

If it’s the employee causing the breakdown, determining why might be more difficult. How is their workload? If they are overworked, they may just not have enough time to get to this process too, and restructuring may be in order to help accommodate this need. Do they need more training? Maybe the employee doesn’t fully understand the process, or how to physically complete the task. Supplemental training may be necessary to correct the issue.

If it’s your equipment that’s causing the hold up, it’s time to take steps to get faster computers, newer software, or whatever else is needed to ensure your employees can properly perform their responsibilities.

It is understandable that new computers may be last on the list because of budget concerns. However, if that is the only thing that is stopping you from getting the equipment your employees need, contact us today. We have solutions that are affordable and even budget-able. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your office producing again.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help offices run more efficiently. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.