**Industry: Retail - Employees: 100-300
Location: 14 sites across 5 UK counties
IT staff: 3x - Devices: 160
Business Turnover: £35m per year**
This is a case study on one of our clients who made one change to their IT spending and it paid dividends for them in the long run.
To avoid “brand favouritism” we are not mentioning specific software products or tools. Certain terms such as “RMM” or “Endpoint protection” are used by many vendors and you can find a solution that works best for you with a little research or speaking to trusted contacts who can advise you.
This is an email that was sent by the IT manager to their commercial manager in November 2017 after they made a key change in September 2017.
*“Hello, I just wanted to update you on how we were getting on since we made the change.
We’ve made 545 connections between the three of us, and a total of 9,393 minutes have been spent on remote sessions. The connection average is 17 minutes.
I’ve then broken it down to miles we would have travelled if we hadn’t got it. These numbers are not going to be strictly accurate but I’ve been as fair as possible. For example, if we connected to 3x computers at Site-B on the same day, I’ve only counted it once.
I’ve then based it on our head office – Site-A for and , and Site-C for .
Based on that, we would have travelled 3,399 miles, costing over £1,000 in fuel. We also “saved” 142 trips. If each of those trips was 30 minutes, we save 71 hours, or 8 entire working days in travel alone.
So, we’re giving a better (faster) service, and it isn’t costing us anything. We’re getting the antivirus and other management tools included so it’s happy days.”*
Like many businesses, the IT department is often seen as a major cost centre, yet with a single change they have gained eight working days in a two-month period. We’ll break down how it happened and what other benefits they have gained by making one change to their spending.
What was the software?
The software they purchased is a bundle which comprises a remote connection tool, an endpoint protection program and a remote monitoring and management tool (RMM) – Packaged together at a fixed per device per monthly fee.
What is the remote connection tool?
In many businesses, IT staff can remote control a computer to fix the issue, some of these solutions are free and others are paid for with varying degrees of quality. Without this tool, IT staff were having to get up from their desks and either walk to the other side of the building or travel to the site to resolve the problem.
The fuel expense is minor compared to the sheer loss of time spent travelling and the loss of productivity to IT staff. If we assume a ballpark salary of £21k for an IT staff member, the salary cost alone for 8 days of lost work is £640. Yet if we add in the time lost by staff who are unable to work and must wait for the IT team to resolve the issue, the cost is much higher.
What is the endpoint protection program?
Sometimes called anti-virus software, it is built to detect bad files from hackers and remove them from the IT systems. The business already had anti-virus software which was purchased at the start of 2017 in a tender process. The difficulty with a tender process is that they naturally chose the solution with the right features at best price but often tenders are a race for price over value delivered.
This meant that they were unfamiliar with the new products on the market which were potentially more efficient and offered better value than their current choice. Every two years businesses should review who their current security vendor is, how much are they paying and why have they chosen them.
What is the remote monitoring and management tool? (RMM)
An RMM allows an IT professional to make sweeping changes to client devices in copious quantities, using a central admin console an IT pro can also monitor for problems before the end users are affected and resolve them quickly.
Through automation the day to day tasks of an IT pro can be reduced, such as when a new PC is purchased. As soon as the RMM software is installed, it will change vital security settings, ensure the system is fully patched and install any needed corporate software, freeing up valuable IT time for other tasks.
One of these tasks that many businesses require is a centralised email signature. Typically, a business may pay a third-party vendor for staff to have consistent signatures. With their RMM tool the IT staff were able to script it so they could have branded and consistent email signatures for all staff, saving money which could be put towards the marketing budget or other business units.
Another tricky task is planning which machines to upgrade/replace for the next IT budget. With the scanning capabilities of the right RMM, we could not only show which machines were at most risk of failing in the next twelve months but also which machines are slowing staff down in their day to day work. All the IT manager had to do was click one button and he received a full report which the finance director and other business leaders could read.
The full capabilities of an RMM tool vary depending on which one is chosen but they are an invaluable time-saver in the busy IT manager’s arsenal if they have enough devices.
What was the cost to the business to do all this?
Remember earlier the business was paying for an anti-virus solution? When they replaced it with the combined bundle, the money that they were spending on that tool was freed up, yet they still had an increase of 120% in their direct costs for the software. When we review this breakdown:
Anti-virus software spending across two months: £360 (Old solution)
New bundle spending across two months: £750
Fuel savings: -£1000
IT salary saving: -£640
Total Costs: = -£0
Savings: £890 or £5430 for the year
Although the purchase price is more than double their actual costs are £0 and they are saving more money which can be freed up for other purposes.
The figures above only track the easy to measure direct time and fuel costs. What of the efficiency savings and labour time saved for IT thanks to automation? We see the ripple effect through the business.
They also gained 20% more time
There are roughly 21 working days in a month and the IT staff spent 4 days of that travelling to site. With the bundle they purchased that time is now free to be pursued for other purposes.
The benefits go beyond cost savings
Greater profits as staff can output more as issues get fixed quicker
Longer retention of IT staff as they are empowered with the right tools
Better cyber-security as businesses can remain fully up to date against new threats
Often many companies can acquire these tools on a 30 day rolling basis so they are able to run a test run to see if the software is effective and delivers a good result. Many providers will even offer a free trial for the first 30 days.
The key lesson learnt is that when comparing solutions for your business, the list price may be double for a solution but the benefits and savings delivered to the business can far out-strip the initial higher pricing.