Assessing IT Staff: How Big Should Your Team Be?

IT staffing - choosing the right people for your IT team

For any business, having the right team makes all the difference—in your company’s success and margins. But how do you know if your staff is the right size, particularly when it comes to IT? 

These can be tough questions for small business owners and managers. One factor that makes it challenging is that each company is different and has different needs around IT. For one business, having one IT person per 20 users might work great. Another company might be able to handle one IT person per 50 or even 100 users.

Here are some tips to help you assess your IT staff to ensure you have the right size team for your business needs. 

Assess Your Companies IT Situation

Determining the appropriate staffing levels for IT means sorting through several complicating factors. These include the size of your business. For larger businesses, the general rule of thumb is one full-time IT person per 75 to 125 users. Of course, if your organization is smaller than 75 people, you can still have an IT support person on staff, but experts recommend outsourcing IT if your company has small staff numbers to ensure you get the right mix of skills and services to meet all your needs.

It’s also important to consider your technical environment and users. Some users and business processes simply require more support, while others might require less. Determining your staff’s comfort level with IT processes and support needs is crucial to identifying if your IT staffing level is accurate.

Other considerations:

  • Do you have applications developed in-house that require support? If so, then you might need more IT support, since you don’t have a vendor that manages this for you.
  • Are you using cloud applications?
  • How much of your hosted software/services are in-house versus hosted?
  • How many users do you have? Fewer users would mean less IT support needed, but not necessarily, if your team is very comfortable with handling IT on their own.
  • How many devices does each user have connected?
  • Do your users have “high needs”? Some companies, industries, or professions might require more IT support, simply because of the service or product provided. For example, an e-commerce firm might not have many users, but they depend entirely on IT for their business, thus requiring more IT support.
  • Does your business support remote users?
  • Do you need to provide monitoring/support 24/7, or does business mostly end at the close of business?

Challenges of Sole IT Personnel

Another issue to consider with having only one person devoted to IT in your firm is how you would handle IT needs if that person were to leave or need to be out for a long period of time, such as an illness or parental leave. A lone IT person also does not have any peers to bounce ideas off of, or help when most needed.

Technology today can easily streamline most tasks, making it simple to use web services such as Google apps, so it might not make sense to have a full-time IT person, outsourcing instead.

An additional consideration would be if your company has a lot of long-term IT projects. In that situation, it might be difficult for one person to make significant progress on those projects, since they might be getting interrupted regularly to handle other issues that pop up.

Solve Your IT Staffing Problems with Tolar Systems

One solution to IT staffing can be working with a Managed Service Provider like Tolar Systems. An outsourced IT partner can supplement your in-house team with less overhead and greater resources. For more information on IT staffing, contact Tolar Systems. We look forward to helping you with all your business IT needs.