Get answers from your peers along with millions of IT pros who visit Spiceworks.
Join Now

Hi All

In this new day I would say it is unfair to allocate IT Staff according to number of staff there is in a company. As a normal office staff can have a mobile phone, tablet, desktop, laptop and even a personal printer on top of the floor printer. A small to medium size company can also have a server, switch(s), NAS, security cameras on the network and router.

What do you all think? 


Spiceworks Help Desk

The help desk software for IT. Free.

Track users' IT needs, easily, and with only the features you need.

41 Replies

· · ·
DavidLW
Cayenne
OP
DavidLW This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Principality Consulting is an IT service provider.

You are right - it's extremely difficult to make that call. I have seen very justifiable numbers from 1:50 through to 1:150, and even outside of this range.
You need to justify why you have the number of people you have - and why you might want more. Cloud technology is driving down the number of server engineers, but increasing the number of business analysts. IoT means you need more devops to get machinery connected to the Internet.

4
· · ·
John5152
Datil
OP
John5152 This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Yep, it depends.......

Straight forward network / PC / simple appreciations and moderately competent users then not so many.

Multiple Networks / sub-nets, multiple servers / heavyweight applications /databases /incompetent users then quite a few.

There is no definitive ratio, we've got some users who need (and think they've got) there own personal support person.

8
· · ·
davecork
Cayenne
OP
davecork This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Another thing to consider:  Larger enterprises can leverage economies of scale that small businesses have a hard time affording...  In the end, the business is paying for it one way or another... the question is whether it's manpower or technology.  It's really all about workload... IE how many hours is the average employee working?  Does this include time for training, etc, or is it just putting out fires.  If the staff is constantly running around putting out fires, then they should consider more people.  Each environment is different though, so there can really be no single canned answer.

4
· · ·
Larry Shanahan
Datil
OP
Larry Shanahan This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

It's not the number of users or devices, it's the rate of requests (i.e. tickets/projects) that should drive the equation.  These are a much better indicator of workload than number of users and/or devices per user.

12
· · ·
ChrisN315
Cayenne
OP
ChrisN315 This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

(chuckles in 1:500)
As a one-man-show, I have about 30 users, a handful of servers and network switches, and the rest are IP cameras and wifi APs.
It's a challenge to keep an eye on everything... I'm still searching for the perfect monitoring solution... but if everything is fine tuned and well maintained, it's manageable.
I will say that I currently spend most of my time fixing cameras and wifi connections.

I would speculate that more users would necessarily generate more tickets and that it's not device to IT ratio that matters as much as a user to IT ratio.

Your mileage may vary.

10
· · ·
Troy5270
Thai Pepper
OP
Troy5270 This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

I will throw another wrinkle into this conversation. I am a 1 person IT department with a 3rd party IT support team. I know this is not the ideal world for most however the things that I am not good at they are. I am thankful they are there even though I didn't like it in the beginning. I was the first IT person here, and this is the third 3rd party support team the company has had. I handle the first line of help desk. If I have the time I handle it, if not I can hand it off. I am mostly ERP, Software, Phones and any scripting. I am NOT nor will I kind myself or anyone else with this statement. "I am NOT a network person". I know some stuff. I know what to ask. If I had to do that also I would post on here much more than I do. I have my hands full with all the other things that I need to do. Somedays I wish there was at least one more IT person here. Justifying myself AND the 3rd party is not easy sometimes. Especially when it is something that I cannot do as quickly or as well as the support team. Isn't that the case for most of us anyway? 

Just thought I would put in my 2 cents.

8
· · ·
Larry Shanahan
Datil
OP
Larry Shanahan This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

ChrisN315 wrote:

I'm still searching for the perfect monitoring solution...

Post it here when you find it.  :-)

7
· · ·
troberts2
Datil
OP
troberts2 This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

DavidLW wrote:

You are right - it's extremely difficult to make that call. I have seen very justifiable numbers from 1:50 through to 1:150, and even outside of this range.
You need to justify why you have the number of people you have - and why you might want more. Cloud technology is driving down the number of server engineers, but increasing the number of business analysts. IoT means you need more devops to get machinery connected to the Internet.

Definitely agree, we go with support staff to user count and normally a 'keeps you health and sane' amount is a 1:100 ratio ..... less than that and you have extra time for projects, but more than that, you start seeing the cracks in the edges unless you have a 3rd party helping out like an MSP .... and the 1:100 is normally for direct end user support ... if you have other staff who do not interact with the end users, maybe a dev or two that's great, but the 1:100 is direct end user support.

Also, remember, you are also NOT the training dept, you provide the tools for employees, it should be up to the end user to self educate (give them wikis, how-to's, instructions etc they can do self learning) or pass off to the training dept as well. My normal rule of thumb is "once you get past the login page, please reach out to the application support rep in the company (we call them the SME - Subject Matter Expert) for more information on how to use it" and we go on from there, as I don't need to know more than the basics of yes it opens, here's some sub menus etc, but please check with the trainer or SME on this for more. Some apps are intricate and may take hours or days to train someone in .... that's not your job, you install, configure for basic use and pass on to the next issue/ticket.

4
· · ·
Kaveh3000
Sonora
OP
Kaveh3000
1st Post

Agreed, ratios vary widely across industries, company cultures, environment complexity, user technical ability, etc. Unfortunately, there isn't a golden ratio for IT staffing. Even two very similar companies can have vastly different ratios. As an example, my company has a ratio of 1 IT to 100 users but our leading competitor with the same number of offices, in the same cities, with the same number of employees has a ratio of 2.5 IT to 100 users.

0
· · ·
Larry Shanahan
Datil
OP
Larry Shanahan This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Interesting article on the subject here.

1
· · ·
tfl
Mace
OP
tfl This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

It so depends on the company, their culture, and a lot of other factors.

My starting point is 1:100 = a support person per every hundred employees then adjust based on usage. 

0
· · ·
The_Gr8_1337
Chipotle
OP
The_Gr8_1337 This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

I don't think it's fair to ratio based on devices alone. You also have to take amount and level of users into account. Myself and another IT team member may support 300 devices each, but I support all of the infrastructure and the other team member supports endpoints, that's not really fair (#users).

Ok, so let's split up devices and users equally. I'm going to take Purchasing, Accounting, and R&D, other guy gets Sales, Customer Service, and QA. My users have a basic understanding of technology, but the users you get can barely spell PC. Still not fair...

I think this is what a lot of companies miss with these ratio calculations. It's not a "plug the numbers into the equation" type of formula.

0
· · ·
TB33T
Thai Pepper
OP
TB33T

Current job the ratio is 1:100 per person. It fits our organization well. We're busy everyday so we fit that mold.

Previous job the ratio was 1:700 per device. I managed a charter school that had that many devices. It was a lot to manage but I had fun doing it.

2
· · ·
IanAdams
Chipotle
OP
IanAdams This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Hahaha.  Someone wants IT to be fair.  That's funny.  I work in a hospital with well over 1000 full-time employees, almost as many part-time, an asset list of over 10K items on the network, and we have three full-time techs and three of us at the upper-level (network, systems, security) who also do tech work and we provide 24/7 coverage.  No holidays off, no weekends off, always on call.  Pretty sure fair is off the table for the vast majority of people in IT.

8
· · ·
UnifiedTechs
Serrano
OP
UnifiedTechs This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Unified Technology Solutions is an IT service provider.

Our planning numbers are around 250 to 300 workstations per tech depending on skill level and such, though we are currently 2 of us are managing just under 750 workstations the past few months as we are down to only 2 techs due to whats going on but hope to be back up to 3 very soon. We don't count printers, phones, etc separately as they grow about equally to PCs.

0
· · ·
Marvinthedepressedrobot
Thai Pepper
OP
Marvinthedepressedrobot This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

I think whatever model that was being used is probably out dated. Also you should never count I.T. managers as I.T. staff as any time for I.T. related work can get eaten up by meetings. If your I.T. staff can only handle putting out fires and not focus on improvements on the network or making sure standard work gets done then that I.T. staff needs additional people. Also if you are a hospital and outsource your entire I.T. department to an overseas staffing agency which in turn poaches the people it gains by hiring your people then turns around and offers them jobs in other states at other companies. You might want to think about prioritizing your operating needs better.

0
· · ·
Peter (Spiceworks)
OP
Peter (Spiceworks) This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

For what it's worth, we tried to get an answer to this question by running an in depth survey, and unfortunately, the answer was "it really just depends on your situation" ... as our survey responses were a bit all over the place.

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1288573-it-staffing-survey-tech-work-hours-analyzed-finding-a...

The only real way we could measure whether a company would need to hire more IT staff was how busy each member was in the IT department, on average. There are some interesting comments in that thread as well, if you want to check it out.

6
· · ·
nathancollins
Anaheim
OP
nathancollins This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

PAV i.t. Services is an IT service provider.

I represent one of those pesky external IT service providers. It is good to review your commentary from an end user basis and  Troy5270 I most definitely feel your pain as the fit between IT provider and customer is important for both parties.

From our perspective, we have a mix of the usual... telephone / email / network and device monitoring technologies and everything we do is based on tickets that they all generate. In reality these tickets shake down to a number per initial call handler and then level 2 / specialisations etc... all based on history as well as experience and with an eye at all times on maintaining our contracted SLA's. We focus mostly on the time taken to get a support operative onto the ticket as well as to attain our SLA's to resolve these tickets. Our aim is to always go above 95% and we don't simply do this by setting sloppy SLA's  that can be achieved ;-) 

We are at over 6000 tickets in any given month now with a 3rd of these tickets being generated by monitoring using a mix of Auvik Networks Inc.​ for network technologies and Datto Inc.​ AEM for compute infrastructure and edge devices. We find these technologies work very well for us and are very scalable. Datto also helps with customer OS and application patching services so a big head ache on you guys is also reduced at the same time as monitoring is performed. Check these technologies out ChrisN315

Edited Jul 2, 2020 at 15:28 UTC
0
· · ·
Adam-H
Thai Pepper
OP
Adam-H This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

I can jump on the "it depends" bandwagon. Environment complexity will have a bearing, but the most important part, in my mind, is the organization definition of IT Support Staff. For example, some organizations have an End User Computing group which is solely tasked with the end user experience. Is the networking group considered support? What about developers? There are so many factors involved.

0
· · ·
alancoolhand
Anaheim
OP
alancoolhand This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

one man IT here, 100 clients.

variety of hardware assigned to users, and buying strategy is another important variable.

Do you buy workstations/thin clients/laptop in bulk, or is everyone  with a different configuration (brand/model) etc.

-having a standard setup which can be easily restored from network images can help a lot
-romaing user profiles also help a lot (when you have to restore, no need to backup personal stuff beforehand) etc.

when I was in the lab in college, we had roaming profiles, and all workstations in the same lab (200 plus) were identical. something broke? Just network restore from image.parts are interchangeable. in these conditions managing 200 users is easy. If you can't script stuff, can't standardize images,can't remote everything multiple vendors involved etc, even managing just 50 users can become a nightmare.

1
· · ·
Kyle3748
Serrano
OP
Kyle3748

We are a shop of two. We manage a WAN, multiple school districts, state and fed day care facilities, all the associated micro compute including mobile devices. With enough automation things can be relatively quiet but when it rains it pours. The generalist roles seem to be shrinking out there in the corporate world if I am understanding the trends correctly but here in education, we still wear a number of hats and I like it. I get many opportunities to mess with new things and that keeps me from getting bored. Hell, I am building an LTE network right now, that's new! I don't mind so much being eyeballs deep.

0
· · ·
CarlosTech
Cayenne
OP
CarlosTech

We're a reletavely small business.. total about 100 users. there are 2 of us myself and my junior, from our business needs it's a redundancy point of view. should something happen to me or i'm off sick my junior would be able to do 80% of task without having to rely on me. He then has escalation points in the form of supplier supoprt contracts and reseller support etc. should he get stuck on something.

Theoretically we only need 1 engineer .. However for the business the risk does not reap the reward of a single point of failure. Plus it's good to mentor and steer someone in the role to be good at what they do!

2
· · ·
Berto007
Thai Pepper
OP
Berto007 This person is a Verified Professional
This person is a verified professional.
Verify your account to enable IT peers to see that you are a professional.

Peter (Spiceworks) wrote:

For what it's worth, we tried to get an answer to this question by running an in depth survey, and unfortunately, the answer was "it really just depends on your situation" ... as our survey responses were a bit all over the place.

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1288573-it-staffing-survey-tech-work-hours-analyzed-finding-a...

The only real way we could measure whether a company would need to hire more IT staff was how busy each member was in the IT department, on average. There are some interesting comments in that thread as well, if you want to check it out.

Peter,

I was about to tag you and recommend a survey. Thank you for sharing this. I wonder if a simple poll would be more relatable. 

Company size, IT size, Out sourced IT %, End user device count, Mobile device count. Servers, switches, cameras, and other network device counts.

Maybe include what industry the company is. 

0
Oops, something's wrong below.