What is a block time agreement? This method of IT contracting gives organizations the opportunity to purchase a “block of time” in advance for a discounted rate, rather than paying invoices for service on an as-needed basis. The block time agreement approach can be beneficial in some scenarios – as there is typically “no expiration date” on the service hours purchased and the time can be used toward any support service needed from an IT partner.
Block time agreements can also be beneficial to IT providers as they collect their payment upfront and eliminate worries about non-payment of invoices. But is this approach really the best long-term value for the ongoing security and effectiveness of your IT environment?
Here Are Some of the Reasons Why Block Time Agreements Don't Work:
Lack of True Strategic Partnership
Maybe you really like your current IT service guy and establishing a block time agreement with him seems to be a good value. Your staff has a good relationship with him and he understands your network. But what happens to all of that inherent knowledge and intellectual property when he gets promoted or leaves the company? A block time agreement is paying for time. Only time. NOT a relationship. And once that time is used up, you simply start over.
When you work with a true strategic partner for your IT needs, you have an ongoing relationship with a qualified firm that gets to KNOW your business, documents issues and facilitates a more proactive approach to your IT. This kind of partnership allows for increased responsiveness and ensures that systems are secure and ready for what’s next.
Block Time Agreements Work Against A Proactive Mindset
The nature of block time agreements lies in a “you only use the time when you need something” approach. This is what we in the IT industry refer to as the “break-fix” approach. When organizations only deal with problems as they occur, it results in inefficiency and bigger problems in the long-term. Consistently fixing problems as they arise and not dealing with the root cause also gets very pricey and so does the resulting downtime.
An IT partner with a proactive approach wants to understand WHY something went wrong and puts systems in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. They’ll also work with you to understand your business objectives and build a plan for continuing efficiency, security and enhanced functionality in the future. To truly leverage technology, help increase productivity and keep pace with your business growth, your infrastructure must be regularly maintained and monitored. Though at a quick glance it may seem like a managed services approach is the more costly option, it is actually serving to reduce risks and future costs.
If your organization is only paying for “time” and not a partnership, who is actually accountable when things go wrong? You may get quick service when you call your IT guy about a problem or downtime, but if your IT partner isn’t working beside you to understand your business, how it can best use technology, and continually mitigate risks, there is little to no value in that relationship.
When you can put the responsibility of the day-to-day management of your IT network in the hands of trusted experts, you can reduce future problems & expenses, create transparency and eliminate a lot of frustration and uncertainty for you and your team.
When considering whether block time agreements or a managed IT contract are the right choice for your organization, understanding the difference is critical. Block time agreements are not established to align infrastructure with strategies and vision and reduce risk. They are established to provide an economical way to put getting the best out of your IT environment on the back burner and save money. This is why block time agreements don’t work – not only do they result in increased risks and costs, but no mutually beneficial relationship is established and no one is truly accountable when systems break down.
A qualified managed IT partner has experience in all areas of IT and will work to improve your network’s security, reliability, performance, and productivity. They will also work with you to build a comprehensive long-term strategy that will support the mission and vision of your organization.