How many IT professionals should you have?

by | Feb/4/2009

If you have “X number” of computers, how many IT professionals should you have?

CEO’s, CFO’s, Owners and other executives are always asking me that question. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some simple formula like, “you need one IT professional for every 50 users in your company?” The fact is that the formula is more complicated.

In many cases, IT departments are overworked and overstaffed. How could that be?  The way some organizations are configured, the IT department is so busy putting out fires they do not have time to devote to getting to the root causes of the problems to begin with.

One possible cause for this “only treat the symptoms” tactic is that the IT professional inherited a network that was a huge mess and has not had the ability to fix the problem.

In addition, for reasons we will address next time, IT professionals are often encouraged to just “put out the fires.”

If your department is not using the enterprise strategies and tools required, you may well be overstaffed. Before you can cut back on your IT staffing though, you will first need to have your IT professionals reorganize your network and their procedures to be more efficient. Some IT professionals do not even know where to begin. If they do have an idea where to begin, they may feel they are running as fast as they can just to keep up and there is no time to devote to solving the problem.

The good news for you is that you probably already own most of the tools and equipment you need to buy – it just needs to be used properly. That means you will save money. The good news for your IT professional is that, once the network is redesigned to be self sufficient, they can prove their value by taking on more of a strategic role in helping your company for the future.