One of the most commonly asked questions we see in the IT industry is, “how big should my IT department be”?
And in truth, the answer is relatively complicated. Every business has its own requirements and demands with different software and users. From small companies of 20 people to multinational corporations of over 1,000, IT requirements and IT departments are not one-size-fits-all.
Ensuring your IT department is well-structured and appropriate for your business needs is a huge competitive advantage and an essential part of your business’s success.
Assess Your Business Size and Needs
Before hiring a full-time team of IT experts, you need to evaluate what sort of IT support you need and how many people will be relying on your IT department.
Small businesses – who often rely on cloud-based solutions for data protection and cyber security – may choose to rely on the person with the highest IT aptitude and only call in an expert in an emergency.
Whereas larger companies will need at least one in-house IT expert, even if that person is only a contact point for an external managed service provider.
As well as considering the size of your business, you also need to consider your business’s needs. Do you need basic support when things go wrong? Is software and IT crucial to daily business functions? Do you want to get ahead of the competition using IT solutions and be at the cutting edge?
The demands you will make of your IT department will significantly impact how large the department should be.
How many people should be in my IT department?
For larger companies, the general rule is for one full-time IT expert for every 100 people. On average, one IT expert can handle between 8-12 support tickets per day.
Of course, it’s never that simple. IT support tickets such as those we receive in our London office tend to come and go in waves meaning that sometimes your one IT expert may be twiddling their thumbs and then be totally overwhelmed at other times.
Furthermore, they will likely be able to cover simple support but won’t be able to tackle managing software, tracking updates and proactively planning for the future. Generally, a one-person IT team is reactive, not proactive.
Building An Effective IT Department
Having one person to handle the IT support tickets of 100 people is a bare minimum. If you require more support, want help setting up and updating software or plan on growing your business, you need more than the bare minimum.
Since IT departments have peaks and slow periods, many companies outsource their IT support to a Managed Service Provider. This way, you can achieve greater value for money, increase and decrease your level of support as needed, and have an entire team on hand in emergencies.
Building an effective IT department or investing in an external managed service provider is usually overlooked until it’s too late. IT teams are often built in response to an issue rather than to prevent it from occurring.
Just as your requirements differ from another business, your requirements may vary over time. For most companies, the ability to create a skilled, flexible team of IT experts means outsourcing.
To discuss your requirements and for a no-obligation, bespoke quote, get in touch today.