Do You Know the Difference Between "Break-Fix IT Services" and "Managed IT Services"?

Did you know that leaders have struggled with delegation since the beginning of leadership? Yes, it is one of the oldest leadership challenges known to humankind!  Exodus, the second book of the Bible, addresses this topic specifically in chapter 18. To summarize, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes to visit and sees all the wonderful ways that Moses is leading the Israelites. One observation was that Moses was helping so many of his people solve problems that it literally consumed his entire day. Not to mention the fact that people were standing around waiting for their turn with Moses all day! That doesn’t seem very productive, but what in the world does that have to do with Information Technology?

When Jethro observed this scenario, he gave Moses some very wise advice. Recognizing how unproductive and inefficient it was to have a single man as the only one capable of solving such issues for all of the people, Jethro recommended that Moses identify some other good men that he could teach the decrees and laws and then delegate some of the simpler issue resolution to those men. The more difficult issues would then be raised to Moses. This sounds like great advice, and the same advice is often given to leaders today; however, this issue still exists! Why? Because it takes resources (time, money, sweat equity) to get to the point where delegation is possible. What does all of this have to do with Information Technology? Quite simply, it’s the difference between “break-fix IT Services” and “managed IT Services”. With break-fix IT services, the leader (manager or business owner) must decide which issues to try to handle in-house and which ones to pay someone else to deal with. As you can imagine, this is incredibly inefficient! Essentially, the problems continue to exist, slowing or even halting productivity, until the leader has enough information to make a decision. With a good managed services team, the issues are resolved immediately with no decisions necessary and no additional cost. That prevents a bottle-neck at the top and everyone is much happier (that represents business value). Just as important, inefficiencies are eliminated, and productivity levels are maintained at a predictable cost.

If you would like more information on the differences between break-fix and managed services, please contact me right away.

Paul Meadows,