General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2275986

    IT Consultants or do it yourself???


    by trockii ·

    The company I am working for is trying to get caught up technically with the 21st Century. We are looking at a total upgrade of all hardware and software to include replacing all 20 workstations with XP Pro and adding 2 Windows 2003 servers. They are wanting VPNs in the owner’s and CEO’s houses as well as VPN to a location 2 hours away. The computers along with all the hardware come to $59,981 if I was to buy it from Dell. Then I would have to configure it and install it without assistance. I had a consulting company come in and consult myself along with the CEO on everything along with full support for installing and configuring EVERYTHING. Their quote came in at $60,702. The CEO asked if I could do it all and I think I have the knowledge, but have never done a complete IT refresh, just bits and pieces at a time. Is $800 worth NOT having the IT consulting company come in and do everything for me? I feel $800 is well worth the money to have the IT consulting company come in and take full responsiblity for this transition as well as they would be able to accomplish this task faster than myself (I would have to keep running the current network). The CEO just sees the dollar ammount. How can I get him to understand the importance of the consultants coming in to carry out the transition? Or should I take this project on and chalk it up for a learning experience? I am the only IT person for the companies two locations. Thanks


All Comments

  • Author
    • #3305141

      Time to plan with and supervise the consultants?

      by marco schumacher (at biznesslegion) ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I don’t have a specific answer as to which option is better, but I wanted to check whether you had accounted for your time to plan the specific work with the consultants (e.g., do they know where to get the data to port from old to new systems) and to supervise what they’re doing (to ensure that security is not compromised and that you get whatever information you need to run the new systems from the first minute).

      • #3304997


        by trockii ·

        In reply to Time to plan with and supervise the consultants?

        Yes I would be working right beside them during the install, supervising them. However we haven’t sat down with them to discuss anything further than just the initial planning/recommendation step. The CEO is dragging his feet about whether or not to have them do all the setup or if he wants me to do it.

        • #3314153

          Reply To: IT Consultants or do it yourself???

          by youraveragemanager ·

          In reply to Supervise

          What Value is Added for the Price Paid?

          Admit to the CEO that you can do a darn good job of it, but the profit center management needs to understand the risks they accept when you do a good job.

          They accept that you have not experienced these new PC components, the XP OS, or the brand and flavors of VPN, over your local and regional telecom providers. Each individual component brings its own set of unadvertised problems, and only found by experiencing the problem.

          Experiencing the new and unknown problem starts the process of resolution. When individual PC based problems are resolved, you may also need to deal with the problems that arise due to product component incompatibilities. In fact, these are most difficult thus time consuming to discern and resolve. In other words, the number of PCs and locations are obviously physically doable, but your job is more than arms and legs. You want to minimize the disruption and maximize the benefit of the change project.

          The $800 pays for additional arms and legs, and that alone decreases the time required to physically install. You will encounter problems (if any) sooner. The value to the organization is realized in the consultants hard won past experience. Someone else paid the price in time. They have actually done this before, encountered and solved the problems (you verify this) and this knowledge along with their experience along the lines of expected future problems can be passed onto you to benefit the company.

          If your problem resolution cycle on one issue takes 8 hours, can the profit centers afford the associated costs? You will not know how many issues will arise until implementation starts. You know that you can resolve all problems given time. There is no way for you to know how much time, but with everyone?s patience, we will meet the objective. If the management objective limits the implementation period (the time) then lets allocate the $800 to that time constraint so that particular objective is not at risk.

          Thus, your time is spent on managing, learning, and teaching, and all the other aspects that this change brings to light.

          By the way, will at least one of the consultants be there for at least one full work day following physical implementation? Have the users been trained-introduced to the new OS and desktop? Do they know who to call, and what tests they need to perform and when they are scheduled to do the tests (can also be a training exercise)? Have you recruited from the different groups and locations persons to serve as the key contacts? Will the consultants include a two-week administrator contact serving as your phone support?

          It goes to time and quality. What if we never use it and all goes very smoothly? Remember Y2K went smoothly for most of IT due to the efforts before 2000. When little or nothing failed at or after Y2K then there was strange disappointment, people asking did we spend more than we should have? Well, that is an odd response to meeting an objective. Perhaps if those that ask that type of question would care to test their aversion to risk they can remove the spare tire from the auto for a week. If they are not willing to do that then how can they rationalize risking the source of their income? $800 is analogous to the paying the cost of the small funny looking spare tire. I never thought about asking for removal before punching to save on costs. Nor do I remove my spare to create an odd risk aversion thrill.

          If they see no problem and assume the responsibility that they can tolerate the risk aversion thrill then by all means do save the $800 to cover the spilled drinks at the office holiday party.

          Please notice that any dollar amount can be plugged into this discussion to match the scale of any organization. Business is business, even the big boys will occasionally make poor decisions. But, it is your job to let advise them so that we can look back as we proceed down the decision path.

        • #3302743

          Excellent response

          by noliver ·

          In reply to Reply To: IT Consultants or do it yourself???

          One of the best I’ve ever read.

        • #3302734

          Excellent response!

          by kspaight ·

          In reply to Reply To: IT Consultants or do it yourself???

          Obviously YourAverageManager is no *average* manager! He/she has apparently been there, done that – and has the bruises to prove it.

          Let’s all pray that trockii is able to convince the CEO of the dangers of concentrating on the apparent bottom line without considering the less-obvious (at least to those who haven’t lived through the experience) impact of lost productivity, compromised security, lost data, and frustrated or angry users…

        • #3302692

          Excellent Response

          by j.williamsjr ·

          In reply to Excellent response!

          I notice that the $800 is about 1% of the overall cost. By having people who have already done this type of installation, it is well worth the money.
          you could blow $800 by having your system down 8 hrs, calling in a consulatant when something goes wrong.

        • #3290813

          Caveat to AverageManager’s Response

          by curlergirl ·

          In reply to Reply To: IT Consultants or do it yourself???

          Your question and AM’s excellent response sparked some questions in my mind. Being an independent consultant myself, I am pretty skeptical about what exactly this outside consultant is going to do for you for only $800 more than the hardware cost. I would urge you to examine closely, and make sure you have in writing, exactly what they are going to do for you for that price. Some questions I have:

          1. Is the hardware/software configuration the same or equivalent to the one you checked at Dell?
          2. Does their hardware come with the same/equivalent warranties and service to back up the quality of the equipment?
          3. In addition to the points brought up by AM, make sure you know EXACTLY what their price includes. For example, are they going to configure a standardized desktop, install any additional software that your users need (other than the basic OS), connect the machines to the network and make sure the networking components are working properly, etc., etc. You can probably think of more. The point is, you need to think of all the things that might need to be done to complete the installation and then find out what they will and will not include in their price. Some or all of the things I mentioned may be things you will do yourself anyway, but you just need to be sure you’re getting a fair price for what they are providing.

          I’m in general agreement with the answers above – $800 is a piddling amount compared to the work it takes to configure and install $60,000 worth of equipment. That’s why I’m a bit skeptical about what exactly they are going to do. I would be much surprised if their price includes more than pretty much delivering the equipment, setting it up and making sure it boots up.

          I wish you the best of luck on this project. No matter which way you go, it’s bound to be a good learning experience!

        • #3294407

          Could there be a misunderstanding?

          by tobbyb ·

          In reply to Caveat to AverageManager’s Response

          I find it difficult to believe any consultant will charge you 800 dollars for that amount of work. Or you got yourself one hell of a deal. Can you please reconfirm the figure?

        • #3303286

          First Class Response

          by acarigua ·

          In reply to Reply To: IT Consultants or do it yourself???

          I agree with this train of thought wholeheartedly and in fact employ this within our own dept. Well educated and experienced answer.

        • #3302696

          Do it yourself…..

          by jrisner ·

          In reply to Supervise

          You should do it yourself. If you want to ensure that the data is copied over correctly and that the systems are setup the way you want them then you should do it yourself. It will also prove to the company that you are worth your salt as an IT Person. Try checking out the automation features in setting up Windows XP and MS Office, Ghost is also very good for doing rollouts. I have seen several times were Consulting Companies will try to come in and put their people in place by selling the CFO on the fact that they can do it better, cheaper than having onsite staff. Show the company that you are an asset and that you will not run for help everytime there is a project.

        • #3302684


          by jrisner ·

          In reply to Do it yourself…..

          There shouldn’t be any downtime try doing the project in chunks. A few PCs at a time. You may want to setup a test bench. The approach I use is to Do a presetup on the machine where I setup all of the software that is needed. An image combined with RIS works really well for that. Then I copy the entire HDD of the old machine so I am sure not to lose any files. Then I locate the files in the old directories and copy them to the new directories. You may get the CFO to send you to a class thus improving your bottom line. A good class would be Advanced Computer Troubleshooting by Compumaster. It costs less than the $800 and will make you more valuable.

        • #3302656

          I agree – Do it yourself

          by thorntongale ·

          In reply to Do it yourself…..

          The consultants will do a passable job but they won’t do a highly personalized job. They will execute their standard playbook – they will come in with a hammer and everything to them will look like a nail.

          On the other hand, you will have a license to make large changes to the environment at the same time the new stuff is being installed. For example you will have a green field to finally install a proper backup system or design and enforce a standard operating environment in the office. These huge changes could never be contemplated before but now you have a license to slip them in as part of the larger project.

        • #3290881

          I disagree.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Do it yourself…..

          He needs probably two network flunkies, on rotating shifts so that one is on-call for eight hours before work and does four hours of duty in the morning, and the other does four hours of duty in the afternoon and is on-call for eight hours after close of business for the day, or something along those lines. Then, when major projects come up, he can have both his flunkies come in and help him do major system rollouts and the like.

          As long as he doesn’t have that kind of support, he needs to be able to call in consultants for these projects. In a production environment, you don’t want one single man doing this. The stakes are too high, and the vulnerabilities inherent in a one-man operation on that scale (as opposed to a small team with a leader) are too significant. It’s either consultants for a case like this, or make him a supervisor (and pay him accordingly).

        • #3290783

          Extra Help

          by jrisner ·

          In reply to I disagree.

          I agree that he needs extra help. But instead of using contractors there are other options. One option could be to bring in part-time help during the rollouts. Another could be to recruit the help from within the organization for an extra set of hands. I have seen on multiple occasions were consultants have driven away full-time staff by courting the CFO, by stating that for the amount of his salary or lower that they can have X number of men available to the company on call. Being a former contractor I am always weary of this situation.

        • #3303243

          Definitely worth doing yourself

          by frenchylondon2 ·

          In reply to Do it yourself…..

          as it has been suggested if you are the IT guy, it would be ideal to prove to them that you can manage it; I would recommend a simulation at home with a Client-Server configuration, and maybe 2 Servers if you can – the Server2003 and Windows XP shuld be available as Trial editions on the MS site.
          I think the main point here is not the $800 but whether you want to grab the opportunity of showing your mates who is in charge of the IT. :)If you dont try you will never know…Anyway I would definitely do it myself…Good luck

      • #3302600

        Get the consultants in!

        by pere ·

        In reply to Time to plan with and supervise the consultants?

        Why not work with the consultants, that way the work gets done on time and you work with them and learn at the same time. You oversee the project which and still have time to perform your daily tasks.

        • #3290839

          You may want the extra brainpower at your disposal!

          by c.eltringham ·

          In reply to Get the consultants in!

          Small firms almost always look at IT as overhead. It is in your best interest to convince the pocketbook to open up for the extra 800.00. Stress business continuity concerns, etc.

          Believe me, you want at least 1 other person helping you! Especially if you are managing the entire infrastructure by yourself.

          Good luck!


    • #3304956


      by gralfus ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Bring it back to terms the CEO will understand. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of this project is a lot more than the stated costs. If you take on the project yourself, and get stuck at any point, what will the cost of downtime be? If it takes longer than projected (and it will), what will the cost be of not meeting deadlines?

      Conversely, if the contractor is hired you will more likely meet your deadlines and have the job done by experienced professionals, and have them to consult with if problems arise. And if they don’t meet the stated timeline, there can be legal recourse. He should see the wisdom in using the consultant (though they tend to go over budget also, make sure you have a cap on the money).

      In my humble opinion, I wouldn’t change everything all at once. I would do it in chunks and verify that the chunks are working before moving on.

      • #3304939


        by trockii ·

        In reply to TCO

        Thanks for the advice. I can definitely use any and all advice being as I am only 25 with only 3 years administration experience. By no means do I claim to know it all. That’s why I have Tech Republic as my homepage. Great source of knowledge. This is my first big hurdle to deal with. I am certified in Windows 2000 administration. Hopefully 2003 Server will fit into my repertoire rather smoothly.

        • #3314296

          go with the consultants — it’s a no brainer

          by ·

          In reply to Thanks

          Hi — I am an IT director of a multi-departmental site with two other staff members to help me (collectivly we have about 40 years of experience in the IT field;we also have plenty of Departmental help. Nonetheless, I would definitely go with the “consultants” option — the $800 delta is peanuts when you consider the pluses of having extra eyes/hands/expertise available especially when you consider the long term positive advantages of providing your company with a parallel support mechanism

          You will obviously need to work with them, and I agree with a prior posting that the job should be broken into chunks — especially when working with additional outside parties.

          (okay — the blunt way of responding is to simply say that your boss is out to lunch if he/she thinks $800 in the instance that you describe should be a deciding factor) — and I would think that if you are only 25 with 3yrs experience you are definitely NOT qualified to take this on alone — heck — no one should take on any IT project alone:)

        • #3314256

          I agree

          by trockii ·

          In reply to go with the consultants — it’s a no brainer

          I explained it to the general manager and he signed off on it. The computers and everything else is ordered. Should be here within 3 weeks.

    • #3315081

      Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

      by jeff_spock ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Ahh, nothing like a nice clich? first thing in the morning.

      1. How many days will it take you?
      2. What is your annual, fully loaded cost to the company per work day? (You can use 220 days/year, and fully loaded cost is usually around 1.2-1.4 times your salary.)
      3. Does the product of these two numbers work out to more than $800? If so, the vendor is cheaper, not to mention the opportunity cost of the tasks you are not getting done.

      That’s one approach. Another is to view the TCO from the point of view of hardware/software guarantees and replacements, or after-sales support (typically you can get something like three months of support for free). These also have a value, in hard and soft dollars.

      Good luck!

      • #3314254


        by trockii ·

        In reply to Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

        I was guess-timating at it taking me about a full month to get the whole network up and running at full capacity, IF i don’t hit any big snags. I am the only one here and when a problem arises I have to stop the new and work with the old.

    • #3315080

      $800 is not a lot – is this for real?

      by nemesis”t”warlock ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I cannot believe for a second that this consultancy operation will want to configure ALL of your equipment for you for $800. Dell is direct hardware, I assume perhaps you are not getting Dell kit from these guys and is that where their margin comes from and perhaps not getting Dell kit is why your CIO is unsure? If it is exactly the same kit, then they are being unrealistic and you should look very carefully at what they are promising or you might end up with future consulting charges. That cost just sounds to me like a charge for them unpacking the boxes for you!

      • #3314250

        Here’s the breakdown

        by trockii ·

        In reply to $800 is not a lot – is this for real?

        For me to purchase directly from all the equipment $59,981.55. The consulting company buys strictly from dell and gets a 10% discount. Equipment for them costs $54,907.90. For them to install, configure, and test everything adds another $5795.00 equaling $60,702.90. There’s the numbers. The consulting company has already agreed if need be to just let us buy the equipment through them and then let me set it all up. The CEO has seen all the numbers. He has decided to let me use the consulting company.

        • #3314086

          Missed your reply

          by hammaren9 ·

          In reply to Here’s the breakdown

          Sounds like they are pushing the Dell white box stuff. I would find out, if it matters to you.

      • #3314090

        You’ve got that right

        by hammaren9 ·

        In reply to $800 is not a lot – is this for real?

        As a integrator and Dell reseller, I would be very surprised if this is Dell. If so, they are blowing smoke. The margins on Dimensions are almost non-existent versus going direct, and Optplexes are not much better. Servers a little better than that. Based on experience, figure on $300 per PC setup time, and $2-3K for the server, assuming no application setup. This means install, configure, apply all patches, antivirus, adware filtering, and anything else that doesn;t come up until you get in there and find out what is really going on.

        Ask them for a install quote only, and you’ll know. The fact is, that if they screw up, you will be in the gunsight, along with the consultants.

        • #3302788

          Dell Whiteboxes?

          by graeme ·

          In reply to You’ve got that right

          It’s splitting hairs – but it is also not…..

          Firstly there is nothing wrong with Dell Whiteboxes (actually the usual Dell Gray) – we resell them all the time – they are pretty close in intent to Optiplexs.

          But there are a couple of points about them that can lead to confusion:

          1. They are NOT Dell machines and Dell say so. By that I mean – what is in the box are Dell components, built on Dell’s line and HARDWARE warranted by Dell through the reseller – but there is no Dell badge on the box. (See below regarding warranty)

          2. If the consultant is selling you a Dell white box they are specifically not supposed to sell them as “Dell” in name, advertising or contract. It is in their contract with Dell. Personally we just tell the client that OUR machines are private label machnies built for us by Dell. But our spec sheets, literature and contracts never mention Dell.

          If the consultant is bulk buying then they may be getting more than 10% which is where they make their margin. Depends on their, volume, the state of the lunar cycle, whether or not the Red Sox won the world series and on occassional pricing mistakes that show up on their Dell web page channel – which when they happen we take maximum advantage of.

          Crucially a difference with Dell white boxes is the terms of the warranty – the warranty is performed by the consultant – not a Dell tech. Dell provide the consultant the parts – but the consultant does the work (which is why they make their margin). Dell’s standard parts warranty is a year and they will sell the consultant a two or three year extension. What are YOU getting from the consultant and what is their promised turn around time?

          And all that said – in our experience Dell Whiteboxes have a statistically unmeasurable failure rate – meaning we have swopped out one hard drive in 300+ boxes over two years. We ate the cost of the labor to do it and the tiome to run the client’s re-install disks and backup recovery.

        • #3302750

          We’re getting dells

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Dell Whiteboxes?

          Everything we are getting is Dell. The consulting company has purchased over $2.5 Million from Dell, that’s where the discount comes in.

        • #3302708

          Good move…

          by featherman ·

          In reply to We’re getting dells

          I think you are making the correct move (or your CEO is making…)!

          Much better to have someone else in to do the grunt work, and Dell machines (with one or two notable exceptions) are at least as reliable as the average commercially available system, and better than some…

          Good move, and good luck. The one thing you must do is (as mentioned previously in the discussion) make sure you know the status of the rollout, including any issues (anticipated or otherwise), on at least a daily basis, if not every 1/2 day. That way, if something starts going south, you have the opportinity to not only “CYA”, but to implement “plan B” (you DO have a “plan B”, right?) – to insure minimal on no interruption to existing business functionality.

        • #3290882

          yeah . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Good move…

          If possible, the rollout should be phased in on isolated network segments first, then to the primary network, before the systems that are being replaced are removed entirely. This, unfortunately, is rarely possible.

          Do what you can to ensure no interruption in network uptime.

      • #3302748

        Warlock’s Right

        by trsnell ·

        In reply to $800 is not a lot – is this for real?

        Agreed, $ 800.00 for what? If the gear is not clearly itemized and to be tier-1 brand, you’re going to get no name clones. Only addition to make is that the consultancy is responsible for the people doing the deployment. HR is their problem. Often these guys pick up people at the bus station for $ 25.00/hr or less and hand them a screw driver. Went through the same thing with a major consultancy some time ago and had to do all of the follow-up and damage control myself.

        • #3302481

          very narrow

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Warlock’s Right

          There are bad consultancies out there. There are also good consultancies. I hapen to work for one of the latter.

          Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever run across one so bad that they actually did the equivalent ot picking up some guy at the bus station and handing him a screwdriver. Besides, if you do that, you don’t have to pay him $25/hr.

    • #3315076

      Here you go!

      by register ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I think this is a pretty simple decision IF your career is IT administration/management, do it yourself. To find a GOOD consultant is hit or miss (1 out of 100) and YOU would naturally take more pride in your work being that?s it?s your environment. The other thing is, it?s only 20 workstations and VPN?s are very, very easy if you take a few minutes to understand them and read the manuals for whatever equipment you decide to use.

      Here are a few suggestions for this install:

      Ghost Corporate Edition-You create a master (system) image(s) and simply deploy them directly over the network. Let?s say you only needed on image, to make a good image it take about 6-8 hours to install the os, apps, etc. After this is completed it takes all of 20 minutes to configure ghost and if you wanted to get fancy use the PXE function. It will take about 90-120 minute to deploy the other 19 systems which will be identical. Make sure you use and understand scripting and ghostwalker. So if you are a fast learner you could have all 20 systems up and running in 12 hours. You can also use ghost to image existing systems to keep up2date backups and it can even deploy applications. This is one app worth learning.

      Norton Corporate Edition Anti-Virus (I don?t care for other solutions personally)-This is an important thing many people miss, CONFIGURE your exclusions. A log file CAN NOT become infected so don?t scan files which are not susceptible. Examples are bmp, bkf, bak, db, dbf, pf, evt, edb, log, stm, mdb, mdf, ldb, ldf, gif, tif, tiff, htm, etc, etc

      Netsupport-This is used for remote administration and I feel it?s the best solution on the market. If you have SMS that is fine also but Netsupport is just AWESOME. You can even support your mobile users with the gateway function.

      Small Business Server-If you happen to be using small business server rather than using the VPN for file sharing/transfer use the Remote Web Desktop feature. Please be aware I believe this option is ONLY available with SBS. Also, don?t fight the wizards, SBS is made this for a purpose and if you deviate or attempt to manually configure you will end up with more headaches.

      If you are willing to take a little time and learn this would be an ideal situation and deployment automation is a lot of fun J Now, if you didn?t want to do the job yourself STILL, just talk the consutant down 800 bucks and your boss will have nothing to argue with. You might appear a bit more expendable though J Whichever way you go, best of luck.

      James Hornack

      • #3314294

        Additional Thoughts

        by bfilmfan ·

        In reply to Here you go!

        Other than the costs of the hardware and software into the project budget cost, it should not be a major enterprise updating 2 servers and 20 workstations.

        The only place that he might run into trouble is if he is installing an Active Directory forest and Exchange. The major issue I’ve seen in this area is installation, configuration and migration can be quite cumbersome and error-ridden if you’ve never done it yourself.

        And I think you should make a logo of your statement of not fighting the SBS wizards. Manually configuring SBS is almost always a guaranteed disaster.One look through the technical forums here will quickly confirm it.

        Also when setting up the anti-virus scanner, be sure to exclude the Active Directory’s NTDS.DIT. I recently had a client call me that the virus scanner (client installed) had found alerted on a virus “in something called a ntds-something-or-other on the AD server. It quarantined it and now nothing works.” …Several hours later, the client had a properly configured anti-virus solution and was learning how to do an Active Directory Recovery. (Grin)

        Another thought for the questioner, is to look at some of the articles here on managing projects and develop ideas on the bast way to handle this upgrade.

        • #3314245

          No upgrades

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Additional Thoughts

          The company infastructure is Linux based. I have NO experience with Linux or Unix for that matter. The company knew this when they hired me. Right now there’s 6 different operating systems from 95-xp along with 2 different linux systems (Mandrake and Red Hat). No active directory in place. Red Hat server in place. Email is handled off site due to only 35 people needing email. Can’t justify spending all that money on Exchange for 35 people.

        • #3302774

          Justify the Expense

          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to No upgrades

          I know firms a great deal smaller than yours that justify email based on the fact they have to comply with various laws like HIPAA and SOX. It doesn’t appear that this is the case here.

          And I’d recommend you pick up a copy of VMware and one of the “learn to Unix” books. A little practice with a virtual Unix server and you’d be up to speed fairly quickly.

        • #3302746

          Too late

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Justify the Expense

          I am certified in Windows 2000 Administration. All my experience is in Windows. I have already purchased the new machines with Windows XP along with the servers with 2003 server. Nothing against Unix or Linux, but I know windows and that’s why i was hired.

        • #3302661


          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to Too late

          Do you plan to have the Windows servers as stand alones or you also planning on setting up Active Directory also?

          And the learning Linux comment was based on the influx of Linux and Unix into client environments. Plus it never hurts to be multi-OS-lingual.

        • #3302609

          Active directory

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Servers

          Yeah active directory will be implemented along with group policy. I love setting up policies. So easy to manage things that way rather than file permissions.

        • #3302765

          Holy carp. (ventilated fish?)

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to No upgrades

          If this is a Linux-based network, you’re in luck. If you learn to manage Linux servers, the actual administration activity is absurdly easy. Managing Unix servers (Linux included) can be among the easiest jobs in the world.

          You’ve just got to learn how to work Linux.

          If you’re going to be learning Linux, you absolutely must join a LUG (Linux User Group) mailing list. Even though they’re populated by people that basically joined up because they like Linux, as opposed to being populated by people paid to provide support, LUGs provide technical support of a quality that Microsoft and other corporate vendors can only dream of, and it’s all free.

          Heh. Yours is the sort of job I love, it seems.

      • #3290751

        file exclusions

        by saintjohnhawke ·

        In reply to Here you go!

        Pull the database files out of that exclusion list.
        Three words – Binary Long Object.

        Just because noone has done it effectively yet doesn’t mean it’s not coming.

    • #3314344

      True Cost

      by terry_wright ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Unless they are clairvoyant the conslutants will take up more than a little of your time in the preparation for the migration. However the true cost of you performing all the tasks associated with a move of this type will only become apparent to your CEO should your current systems develop problems whilst you are looking elsewhere. He needs to be made aware of the impact on the overall business of your not being able to support the current setup because you’re involved in delivery of the new environment. How much money does he lose if you cant ship any goods for a day or cant send out any bills?

      • #3314242


        by trockii ·

        In reply to True Cost

        I don’t know exactly, but enough that they want me to come in on Saturday and Sunday to do any installs because they can’t have any network gliches during business hours.

    • #3314338

      Is it really only $800?

      by awfernald ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      A lot of questions pop into my mind reading this question. Some would need more clarification, others to provoke some thought:

      1. Does the $61k figure for the consulting company include the hardware? If so, then what hardware are they planning on using, and why is it going to be so much cheaper than stock Dell systems?

      2. Will the consulting company be providing on-site support after the installation? or is that your responsibility? If it’s your responsibility, then are they going to make sure you have all the information available (i.e. warranty/tech service phone #/documented hardware specs, etc….)

      3. Is there an alternative method? i.e. purchasing Dell, then hiring a temp worker to do the install/config under your management OR to perform your current duties while YOU do the install/config.

      4. Do the consultants know all the details about your company and the way it does business?

      5. Even if you hire the consultants, how much of your time will still be spent “teaching” the consultants how you want it done? how does this compare to the amount of time you would spend doing it yourself?

      6. What would the cost differential be if the consultancy did the XP Pro workstations, and you built the new Windows 2003 servers?

      7. Who is responsible for the migration plan from your current servers to the new servers? and who is responsible for making sure that it works (probably you)? and are all parties involved in the planning/oversight expert enough in Win ’03 technology to ensure the largest chance of success on the migration.

      8. I have a lot more questions, however, it’s 5 AM here, and been a long night, so if you have any more questions/comments, please post them here or send me an e-mail.

      • #3314233

        Try to answer all the questions

        by trockii ·

        In reply to Is it really only $800?

        I have already broken down the money matters, but here is it again. For me to purchase directly from all the equipment $59,981.55. The consulting company buys strictly from dell and gets a 10% discount. Equipment for them costs $54,907.90. For them to install, configure, and test everything adds another $5795.00 equaling $60,702.90. There’s the numbers. The consulting company has already agreed if need be to just let us buy the equipment through them and then let me set it all up. The CEO has seen all the numbers. He has decided to let me use the consulting company.

        2)I am getting Dell gold service. Any support will be same day 4 hour support.

        3)The only two options are ME or consulting company.

        4)Yes they have sat down with me and the owners twice and talked about what we need and want.

        5)Well I am new to the full spectrum of Network administration. From reading posts on here and consulting company’s recommendations I think i will have a nice working network.

        6)Not gonna happen. I don’t want to try to build anything myself. I can build a computer myself, but I want the server to have a maintance plan along with support other than myself if something goes wrong.

        7)We currenly have only one Red Hat server. We hired a software company to write the data to SQL.
        I am the ONLY IT person in the company.

        Feel free to email me or post. as you can see I try to reply to all the questions and posts.

    • #3314335

      You get what you pay for!

      by digerati ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I consider this statement every time I make a purchase, among many other things. At a bare minimum as a consultant, I would charge $100 per computer, 250$ per server plus at least one day at $95/hr. on top of the cost of the equipment. So you must really consider what you are getting for the supposed extra $800. If it is not drastically inferior equipment, then there are hidden costs or the consultant is looking for a full time job.

      If I was you and I liked my job, I would take the bull by the horns, pull up my sleeves an get out the books.

      • #3314230

        I understand what you’re saying

        by trockii ·

        In reply to You get what you pay for!

        The consulting company gets a 10% discount through dell. Their labor charges are $5795.00, but the 10% discount takes care of that on the TOTAL cost.

    • #3314324

      Do it your self with some outside help!!!

      by papap30 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      What you need to do is to:
      1 – Standarize the PC/Laptops models to one.
      2 – Create a full installation manually per PC
      3 – Create an image using any software available (I recommend Ghost)
      4 – Hire some techies in order to help you to install the images on the PCs

      This will save you much money and let your CEO understand that you are ready to help him save some money


      • #3314291

        Think strategically, act tactically

        by amcol ·

        In reply to Do it your self with some outside help!!!

        Some quick thoughts:

        1. I agree with the posts concerning getting what you pay for. I don’t think you fully understand what the consultants have proposed (what you’ve described makes no sense) and you need to do that before making an informed decision. Your CEO has come to the same conclusion, which is one reason why you’re getting questioned about this. Get every detail of the consultant’s proposal nailed down to a fine degree of specificity, in writing, before you do anything else…including costs, tasks, timeframes, scope, roles and responsibilities, etc. You’ll be surprised at how much different the reality will turn out to be, and your CEO will appreciate your diligence and sense of financial responsibility.

        2. The $800 differential isn’t the issue to your CEO. That’s an inconsequential sum. He’s testing you, and the best way to respond is by agreeing to step up and do it yourself. If you hire the consultant, why does your CEO need you? With your environment (20 or so users) you have a relatively small, contained situation that you should be able to handle yourself. Construct an achievable project plan, communicate relentlessly to management and the user community, get whatever education you need to pull this off (quickly), then execute. You’ll come out the other side with invaluable experience and a solid position in your company. Have the confidence in yourself that you can do this.

        • #3314223

          My fault

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Think strategically, act tactically

          When I did the original post I didn’t have documentation from the consulting company. I just had a money figure. They visited us again and sat down with the owners, CEO, and myself. They gave us a 15 page document explaining all the equipment needed, why it was needed, and cost. They gave us side by side price comparision of them doing it or going it alone. The CEO was happy with this. He asked me to verify their prices by going to dell and buying all the same items. All worked out like the consultants had showed us.

          I do have confidence, but didn’t want to try to do this by myself. I am used to have other people I can depend on for other ideas (military experiences).

      • #3314228


        by trockii ·

        In reply to Do it your self with some outside help!!!

        Thanks for the info, but anyone that knows about computer charges between $75-$135/hour to do anything. So that’s out of the question. I already planned on buying 20 of the same machines this year and within the next 2 years replacing the remaining 15.

    • #3314281

      Your CEO is an Idiot

      by redragtoabull ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      If its really a matter of $800, that is. This seems like a very small amount for the work you are describing. Could you accomplish this in 8 hours? 16? 32? Even if you had done this start to finish before, $800 is a steal, and honestly, I think there must be something more to the equation.

      But having said that… Take the money and run or rather sieze the opportunity to build your resume on your boss’ dollar. What a great project for you! There is nothing better than getting paid to get valuable experience! But… as they say… underpromise and over deliver. Make sure your boss is very clear about your concerns upfront (AKA CYA). Especially when it comes to supporting your current production systems. There is no shame (and much deserved respect) in honesty.

      Besides, maybe your boss has more faith in you than you do and truly wants you to have the opportunity to grow professionally!

      Good luck with the project!

      Will Mechem
      Member Services Director
      MLG Cooperative Consulting

      • #3314239

        The full measure of your choice

        by rnmpleasant ·

        In reply to Your CEO is an Idiot

        On the surface this seems to be a ?hands down? decision to go with the consultants but, what you are faced with is the challenge each of us has had to address in our careers (or will have to). Economically speaking, it is possible that the consultants have a volume buying plan that gets them the same hardware for much less than you could acquire directly (thus allowing them to offer just $800 more for the total package). However, it is also possible that they have short bid this as a loss leader (presumably to expand the work order or gain additional business from other projects). Last it is possible that they have given you an ?apples to oranges? choice (very common) where the devil is in the details. In any case, you owe it to your self to do your homework. Likely your CEO either has had past bad experiences with this option or he is simply seeing the short economics ($800 saved could be your raise or bonus or?). The last statement is important because of the relatively small size of your shop (assumed by the size of the purchase). You should develop a practice of building a matrix to lay out the choices side by side. A simple spreadsheet would do. It should feature all the choices you have on the left vertical margin with items of interest along the top. Some of the questions you need to lay out are: Total cost of option (quotes you have); what do each specifically provide (you are looking for make model and builds of the hardware/software); time or length of time this choice will take; risks and contingencies (if you do it and a production failure occurs, you will stop your migration efforts); etc. You get the drift but make sure you have a column for the unit bundled cost (per server and per desktop) with the associated labor built in (other messages have told you the internal labor ratio cost to use for your time) . Having managed several people like you in the past, I can relate to your situation. You should always build this matrix prior to getting any options in the future, then plug in the values, so that you have an objective manner to make a recommendation (or decisions when it becomes your responsibility to do so). Keep in mind that consultants are not out to help or hurt you but out to make money (yours). They will also use talent that is inexpensive as possible (quite possibly using people who know less about the subject than you). It is your duty to make sure only the money required to be expended is, not a penny more. This matrix approach will show that sometimes internally done work is cheaper and better while other times it is not. One key here is that you will likely find the consultants to be reluctant to actually lay out their option exactly as you wish (stick to your guns). Another issue is about your CEO and why he seems to have quickly chosen you to do the work. You should speak to him to get more information. It is possible that he just made a quick decision but probably there are reasons for his inclination and you should try to identify what these are. It will help you grow and become more aligned with him once you figure out what makes him tick. Last, remember that no matter what the choice ends up being, it is a positive for you. Either you will gain the experience of doing it yourself (no doubt making some mistakes along the way) or you will gain the experience of managing a vendor (and the troubles that option inevitably provides).

        • #3314185

          I did what you said

          by trockii ·

          In reply to The full measure of your choice

          I made a spreadsheet of comparing our needs with what was recommended as well as time needed to implement. Everything the consulting company is doing is what I want so there shouldn’t be any surprises.

      • #3314209

        Time frame

        by trockii ·

        In reply to Your CEO is an Idiot

        I described the task to the CEO as taking me a month- month 1/2 to accomplish. The consulting company has written down 46 hours for them to complete the task. That’s 6 guys from the consulting company working.

        • #3302463

          Think Long term Value

          by hermit47 ·

          In reply to Time frame

          Consider that you will need to do all the support on that system when it is up and running. If you purchase from a vendor like Dell, they will only support hardware for the life of the warranties. They will charge for software support, no warranty available for that, and you will need to get used to Win XP and server 2k3 on your own with little advise from the vendor at all.
          With the consultancy, you will be working with them from the ground up. You will get the benefit of their experience, and will have the opportunity see the details of how the security of the system is set up with them, before the roll out. Tech sent by Dell for set up would be third party, which means there will not be much time spent in planning the infrastructure; and no time spent informing you of how it is set up.
          From what you’ve said in the opening, it seems your boss has a lot of faith in your abilities. If you have been working alone in your IT dept and have been able to keep your system running and secure. Purchasing from vendors may be the best for you and your boss. But if you came into an already established system, the consultancy may be most cost effective in the long run.

    • #3314267

      Contract Help

      by dgraser ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      If I were in your position, I would approach the CEO with this project as a learning opportunity for you, instead of just contract help for something I’m sure he feels he’s paying your for already. If you learn from them now, you will be able to really assess the viability of you doing it on your own in the future. At less than 1.5% of the purchase price, it is fairly cheap insurance for his $60K investment as well.

    • #3314240

      A Nice Opportunity…

      by ctrstrike ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Wow $800. That’s unheardof and frankly I’d be a little concerned about the quote.

      On the other hand I think this is a wonderful opportunity for you. Do your homework, advise your boss that you’d like to tackle this one, and seize the opportunity. If he knows up front of your concerns but also has the confidence and comfort of knowing that it’s being performed by his own people you’ll be doubly rewarded when its been completed. The bosses praise and your own satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment for a job well done!

      Good luck and keep us informed of how things progress.

      • #3314197

        Look before you leap…

        by praetorpal ·

        In reply to A Nice Opportunity…

        Migrating to 2003 from windows 2000 is not supposed to be as intuitive as from NT to 2000; there is a definite learning curve. If you have not tried it already, do you think that this is the time to bet on your abilities?

        You have not mentioned security in any way. The most breached VPN’s are misconfigured ones; are you ready to take responsibility for that, as well as security of the network, which is pretty well a sitting duck since it is XP,(even with SP2). You are gambling a lot of your future career here if you asked me.

        • #3314173

          All has been considered.

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Look before you leap…

          All has been considered and that’s why we decided to go with the consulting company that my brother-in-law works at. He’s a sales manager there. We are trying to keep from a conflict of interest so I have been dealing with others rather than him. They set up VPNs for banks, so security is their expertise. Computers, servers, and switches along with all software needed has been ordered. All that’s left is to sit and wait for it to come in.

        • #3316388

          relatives ? conflict of interest ?

          by michaeltsen ·

          In reply to All has been considered.

          This reply may be similar to my other stands.

          The real ‘conflict of interest’ occurs when you yourself do not trust your own proffesionalism.

          Conflict of interest will occur no matter who you are dealing with but when your own greed level surpass your proffesionalism.

          Capitalizing your current contact to pursue a successful business or career is an important aspect. Unfortunately most of us who work for other people tends to avoid ‘potential’ of causing conflict of interest and therefore miss an opportunity to grow stratgically.

      • #3314177

        Consultants it is

        by trockii ·

        In reply to A Nice Opportunity…

        The owners, CEO, and myself sat down and talked. They want this to go as smooth and quickly as possible. They are tired of the Linux network not functioning correctly. They are tired of recieving emails and not being able to open them because they don’t have that windows application that the sender used. That’s why they hired me. To bring them into the 21st century IT wise. I have only been here one month and they are getting new computers with 17 inch flat panel monitors. They are happy. They don’t want to use Red Hat or windows 95 anymore.

    • #3314134

      no brainer…

      by gateso ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???


      Based upon an $800 difference, IF the integration/consultant is good (reference checks, vendor certifications), their services are conceptually worth 5-10x that delta.

      Gates Ouimette

    • #3314115

      Caution! Caution! Caution!

      by newby7718 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      It has been my experience that the IT consultants will not only do the job, but will take over your job too. If you are able, do it yourself!

      • #3316394

        sad for you …

        by michaeltsen ·

        In reply to Caution! Caution! Caution!

        what u were saying is just that u got the wrong consultant. The rule of thumb to engage a ‘consultant’ is either to do a ‘temporary’ job or to make sure ‘permanent’ staff can do their job better. Anything devias from those principals are not consultant, but CONman.


      • #3302728

        Why are you there?

        by david_from_q ·

        In reply to Caution! Caution! Caution!

        I’m sure the boss assumes that you are there to do the job. It’s valuable experience for you. I have gained experience through doing just what you have an opportunity to do. I agree on the consultants. You need to see what the boss sees. If the boss can use consultants to get the job done, why does he need you? They will also try to leave the impression that they can do the job better, faster and more economical. That’s what they’re in business for. Be wary and consider the opportunity you’ve been given. God bless.

    • #3316444

      Get what you are paying for.

      by seau4prez17074 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Rocky, I have no doubt that you have a great deal of knowledge in this area, but $800 is nothing when you consider the potential issues that you may run into. Bringing in consultants will help you for a number of reasons. First, if you are like most IT people, you are happy to check your mail, let alone do an entire rollouts and your job. Second, I have been involved in numerous rollouts and no matter how prepared you think you are, you are going to run inot unforseen issues. Having consultants will provide you another resource to avoid long delays. I have been in the field for over five years and sometimes it’s best to admit and acknowledge your own limitations. This sounds like one of these instances.


    • #3316392

      Hey, don’t forget its business too …

      by michaeltsen ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Trock II, too bad I read this late. Actually you just need to give me a call, then I can help you to cut a deal so that you will pay less than if buying direct from Dell. So instead of +$800, your CEO may see -$100. If your company is making profit already, I will help you cut another deal to expense off this engagement instead of Asset acquisition. This way, your CEO will be damn happy in his numbers and you will still get full support from your outsource experts. 😉

      We IT folks need to remember everything else is business too … see in your boss shoes and you will find its easy to fill his appetide and your own.

    • #3315795

      How much does your time cost

      by nath-uk ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      If the consultants gave you an idea of the effort required to deliver the refresh you can equate that time to a dollar value for your time, plus the cost of providing support cover in your absence, I’m sure this will be more than $800. Provide a comparison of the cost of you supervising and you will see the cost of this much lower than getting involved yourself. At the end of the day though, you have to decide what you want to focus on, do you want to get your hands dirty on a rollout or do you want to expand your project management/supervisory skills????

    • #3315794

      Make a real difference

      by bob_steel ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Tell your boss you can save $40k by throwing windows out and install Linux in its stead – how about you go halves and pocket $20k each. That would make a difference to the size of your christmas turkey.

      • #3302745

        I already have Linux

        by trockii ·

        In reply to Make a real difference

        We currently have Linux network. It was never configured properly and management is tired of it, so they fired the Linux admin and hired me to take over and convert to Windows.

        • #3302740

          I see

          by bob_steel ·

          In reply to I already have Linux

          Sorry Trockii – I should have read all the posts fully. Good luck with the project. I don’t know what the rule is called – but it always takes longer and costs more than you’ve estimated.


        • #3302480


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I already have Linux

          Well, that was the wrong approach. I wonder why someone would blame the servers for the actions of a stupid admin. That’s like giving up a given brand of car because your mechanic never bothered to replace the tired and you had a blowout after 110,000 miles.

    • #3315793

      Go For the Consultants

      by bchirwa ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I would do it myself if the bill involved is too high, but when you consider the figure $800, it is really a good bargain. First of all, the associated risks remain with the consultants. Should anything hit a snag, you just have to contact them. Another benefit you get is that you will refresh yourself by being around as they work. Another benefit is that you will have successfully implemented the project at the end of the day.


      • #3302786

        I agree

        by kim spence-jones ·

        In reply to Go For the Consultants

        1. Getting ones head round new kit ALWAYS takes time. More time than you first imagine, in my experience. $800 of hand-holding is cheap, imho.

        2. Making a minor misjudgement about how to configure things, at an early stage, can often have significant time implications when you realise it has to be changed, later (or worse, you decide to live with it for ever …). Someone who has been there before will stand more chance of heading off such mistakes.


    • #3315790

      Risk Management

      by haylocks ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Your DEO might just be cuter than some of the replies indicate. Part of his job is to assess risk to the bottom line and the assets of the company. It’s easier and cheaper for him to fire you for getting it wrong, than sue contractors for not getting it right.

      However, one plan might be to write an implementation plan, annotating every single piece of technology involved and your familiarity with it and the training required to ensure that you are completely up to speed. Then cost it out. Then get some Project management software (or an Excel time management template from somewhere) and plot out the project. Add to the weaponry your own risk assessment of things which stand a good chance of not going right first time [eg system changeover time](remember Murphy’s Law) and then take those three documents to the CEO and discuss them in detail.

      You have then done two things (at least)

      1/ If he refuses to authorise the $800 extra, you have an “I told you so” document

      2/ You have fully informed him of the risks associated with doing it yourself and have therefore protected your self.

      You have also probably in your research for the document, uncovered things you hadn’t thought of before.

      You might also have alerted your CEO to the fact that these things are not necessarily as simple as he thinks. If this exercise in tact genuinely persuades him to your way of thinking, then there’ll be two of you behind the project!

      Good luck!

    • #3302799

      Time factor

      by imran ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Since you are the only one, try to talk to your CEO about the time it would take to get the job done, which to me is cost again.
      Any reasonable person wuld understand you would have to spend more time installing rather than having a team of pros do it, in a shoter time.
      We all know that CEO’s like numbers!!!! You give them numbers, estimate the down time with cost for each upgrade, then compare it with the pros.
      Might work!!!

      Imran Lakdawala

    • #3302792

      Inexpensive training

      by goehms ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???


      I say that you are correct. OJT is good, but having the consultant come in makes sense because it brings needed experience to bear, provides accountability without overstressing your skills, and at the price diffference means an excellent opportunity for you to get some collaborative training, preparing you to handle the set of tasks involved in fututure upgrades.

    • #3302783


      by it_crazy ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Go with the consultants. 800 dollars is a mere pitance when it comes to the time and stress that you will go through trying to do it yourself. Get another vendor such as HP/Compaq to give you a quote. They might just be a little bit cheaper which will make your boss happpy. The main thing is to keep on top of what the consultants are doing. Supervise the project as best you can. That way you will be learning and be able to give the boss regular updates. If he can see that you are really on top of things it might have an effect on your paycheck. Good luck with your updates.

    • #3302777

      Do it yourself or NOT

      by mtucker ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Having been the corporate IS Guy by myself and having a staff to do these things you need to look at more than the $$.

      What type of hardware warranty do you get with the consultants compared to Dell. If you are getting the 3yr NBD with OS Support from dell and only one year hardware from the others, do it yourself. Consier thehardware quality and warranty.

      Dell does have a system config program that if you send them a master they will image the systems for you.

      Tell you boss for the number of hours you will spend that consultants are worth it. Do a break down so he can see how long it takes to setup a system and explain how much it takes away from your normal duties.

      Good luck

    • #3302762

      The CEO needs to get real!

      by breirden ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      The CEO is thinking small if he thinks the $800 savings is in his favor. Remind the CEO that technology is your business, thinking big is his business. Hire the consultant.

    • #3302761

      $800 and he would question that???

      by jbrare ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I begin to wonder about the CEO. Could he possibly value your time so litte, or honestly believe that you have nothing to do? Setting up the home systems, updating both hardware and software, VPN’s, transferring the data and their responsbility for compatibility to the new OS, plus the Server 2003 issues, this is the original “NO BRAINER”. They take on all of the problems, you can still maintain your systems and support your employees, and please take this on faith; the consultants will need you involved to complete this conversion. To have this all done for $800 is the deal of the century. If your CEO has trouble with this, have him call any tech or IT person and ask them.

    • #3302760


      by mgrady52 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Consultants typically have hit most of the pitfalls that cause serious delays in upgrades and transitions. This experience can more than pay for itself in delays of continued service. Also what happens to your daily “to dos” while you are working on the upgrades? This is a good time for you to get caught up on implementing “best practices” and improving backup procedures, etc.

    • #3302751

      Gain the experience

      by brudab ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      1) Consultants will do the job more efficiently.
      2) You can help out or just supervise, but you MUST be involved in some way, because they can’t leave you with no knowledge of what they did.
      3) You will make countless errors on your own.
      4) Need more reasons? I got a bag full. 🙂

    • #3302744

      If you only “think” you have the knowledge, you’re not ready.

      by hheightman ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      It sounds like you are inclined toward using the consultant. I believe that this is the better course. I agree with other respondants that it would be a good learning experience to do the project yourself but I also agree that there are risks involved. Even relatively small systems like this can yield unwelcome surprises and if you only “think” you have the knowledge, you’re not ready.

      Two questions for your CEO:

      1. Who’s going to cover your routine responsibilities while you are building this new system? Which takes priority? If you have to do it all, either the new system or the existing one has to be put on hold when problems arise.

      2. How much down time does it take to eat up $800.00? If you have 20 people depending on the system, one hour of down time means a minimum of 20 hours of non-productive payroll costs. Are you ready for that responsibility when (not if) it happens?

      Work with the consultants. Learn from them. Ask lots of “what if” questions. Supplement their documentation with your own. Make it a learning experience with minimal risk to you and your employer.

    • #3302741

      Use a risk-management strategy w/ the mgmt

      by joekool24601 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      In a $60,000 expenditure, there is bound to be some flex space. Various risks include fluctuating market prices, as well as troubleshooting time for components that arrive faulty, and the list goes on. These are unknowns that you could bring to the management’s attention. Perhaps you could negotiate with your consultant- I’m sure any consultant would rather make $60K thank lose it over $800. Good luck!

    • #3302736

      Time for Thought

      by tekdoc ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      As you’ve read, there is more to this decision than $800. If the CEO wants to save $800, let him find out what the true costs are for upgrading all systems. I’ll list points off the top of my head, and you should carefully consider the outcome(s).

      1. Buy one system from consultant and one from Dell. Look at the components very carefully, compare specs. What is the warranty? This may be the biggest gotcha.

      2. Set up each machine with your local settings. This gives you a better idea of the time required to get a functioning workstation.

      3. Perform background check on the consultant (Dell, local business, internet.)

      4. Try to break the rollout into smaller pieces.

      5. Find competent knowledgeable help. I just worked for 4 days at a local corp., helping the IT manager roll out 6 new systems and upgrade 8 older Dells to XP. Their add’l labor cost will be $1200 for the 4 days. The strategic part of this for the manager was that I was his equal in most repsects, and would treat each machine as he wished.

      6. Image the best setup and get the hardware you need to quickly setup new workstations, or restore the spyware-infested machines you’ll have in a month or so.

      7. Look out for the sharks. They are lurking just below your warm corporate waters. If this is a hardware consultant, they are playing with numbers and specs, hoping to hook you into yearly maintenance. If this is a true shark, their teeth are aimed at more than hardware support. They will show your CEO many ways to SAVE dollars. You become part of their food chain. One of the prime selling points they will give him is that their established company will be there for him in the future. Read into this whatever you can.

      The bottom line is that you need help, not a consultant. Whether you need a go-fer or an independent like myself is something to decide. Keep the strategic knowledge in your company. No matter what you are sold, there is knowledge from this project that will have an immeasurable effect on the company in years to come. For instance, replacing all machines is a bad idea IMO. Transitioning is better; the project can be served in small portions, and no one has too much to eat. And about those servers, don’t get locked into the MS strategy 100%. There are many ways to use older machines and provide some services from those.

      • #3302717

        More info

        by trockii ·

        In reply to Time for Thought

        These “old” machines you refer to were all hand built by the old IT consultant to “save money”. 6 different operating systems on a network with only 35 computers. Most machines have either 32 or 64MB ram.

        • #3290884


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to More info

          That’s completely hosed up. That guy needed to be fired.

      • #3302478

        Actually, regarding the consultant:

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Time for Thought

        Hire a knowledgeable independent consultant as a new full-time employee under you. Many consultants are suffering because of the anemic status of the IT industry right now.

    • #3302733

      Are we being asked to bite off more than we can chew

      by pjhagersr_work ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Beside the self image of I think I can(I’m that good), which is not the major issue here. I think the major thing is is can I maintain the level of up time and quality in the current system plus do all the new project with all its little deamons that pop up with a project like this. The outside contractor being responsible for the project means the company has two heads to solve the problems and for 800 bucks that’s a pretty good insurance policy. The other thing is that all the eggs are not all in one basket, so if someone is sick or whatever the job still can get done in a timely manner. Also the time line for completion doesnt say if the infrastructure is being up graded. If it is it may be time to discuss Voice over IP Telephone and data especially from the remote sites. The cost savings of changing over can save the company enough ROI dollars to pay for the whole up grade in the first six months and put the remaing dollars in the bottom line the first year.

    • #3302732

      Another option.

      by chazgallagher ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I would like to offer another view point to your situation. You said you only have three years experience. You boss would like to cut costs. I recommend that you offer your boss a third option. First, get a quote on the hardware and software as if you were to do it all yourself. Then contact some IT staffing agencies and get a quote for a contact IT professional who would have the knownledge and abilty to do the job. Submit that as a third option even if it is more money. The benefit to you would be in working along side someone and learning which improves your skills and worth to the company. Submit that option with a letter showing all three options with the benefits to each and which of the three is your recommendation and why. Your boss may decide to go with the consultants or Dell. At the very least it shows your boss that your are a team player by looking for other possible solutions.

      • #3302715

        Yeah let’s hire my replacement

        by trockii ·

        In reply to Another option.

        IT staffing agency to get someone that can do what I can’t? Are you nuts??? That surely would seal the deal and end my employment.

        • #3302707


          by mikefromco ·

          In reply to Yeah let’s hire my replacement

          I gotta agree with Rocky on this one.
          For one of my clients, I am the sole IT consultant for 10-20 hours per week for 27 users.
          My entire budget for my services and outsourced hardware is less than the salary cost alone of the full-time IT person they had before.
          Your consultant, in this case, is really more of a VAR, which is what they should be.


        • #3302695

          I am that guy

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Yep

          I am the guy that replaced the consultant. Based on what he charged it was cheaper to hire me full time than pay him part time. Consultants here charge between $75-$135/hour. So based on your info of ave 15 hours a week…pay would be between $1125-$2025/week more than I am getting paid.

        • #3290883

          seriously screwed

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I am that guy

          Your CEO is screwing you on the pay scale. You should be making $25 or $30 for what you’re doing. Didn’t you say you had three years of solid experience? That’s not a whole lot, but it’s enough to put you over $20, certainly, no matter where in the States you are. At least, it is for one man running a network of the size of yours.

    • #3302731

      Consultant’s good option

      by mikefromco ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      The $800 is really a non-issue as long as you are getting the same equipment. Though I realize the consultant’s price is based on different cost, you’re basically looking at less than $40 each to install and setup each unit from your companys point of view.
      You don’t have to deal with potential DOA’s, or anything else for that matter. Since it’s still Dell hardware, the warranty isn’t the issue it would normally be even if the consultant leaves town. And you can keep doing your job while the units are installed. The $800 will be paid for in the difference in implementation time alone.


      • #3302690

        Consultant’s “I don’t think so !!! “

        by mstoumba ·

        In reply to Consultant’s good option

        There is know way he can do ti for $800 unless he is makeing a bunch of money on the backend. What you are going to get for the $800 is the machine pulled out of the box and plugged in. KNOW APPS, KNOW PATCH WORK, NO PRINTERS , KNOW TESTING OF THE COMPUTERS WITH THE OLD APPS , KNOW ATTACHING TO THE SERVER. WHAT ARE YOU GETING FOR YOUR MONEY? I assume that you have tested this desktop configuration with your server ? How long ? Step back and look at what you are doing. I guessing you need to spend this money this year so go ahead and do so . Then take a work station and configure it to be your standard network desktop computer and give it to your worst user from hell and see if they can break it. Go slow ! Have you considered your server migration, and how to do that ? There is know way this can be done for $800. I think someone is not thinking clearly.

        • #3302525

          Thread had message about that

          by mikefromco ·

          In reply to Consultant’s “I don’t think so !!! “

          There’s a post from Rocky that said the company doing the work gets a 10% cut from Dell, so the real profit to the company is closer to $6000.
          Even in my most desparate times a few years ago, I wouldn’t do a setup for $40 each 🙂

        • #3290880

          no kidding

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Thread had message about that

          There’s an eight hundred dollar difference in the costs, not an eight hundred dollar profit margin. Any vaguely professional consultant will never indicate the actual profit margin for his work like that.

          I personally made $300 about three months ago as part of a two-man team doing a total network upgrade in an office with six workstations, one server box, two black-box server appliances, and three network printers. To make only $40 on something as significant as what this thread is discussing would be worse than starvation wages.

    • #3302726

      Consultant…No question

      by peter ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Consultant all the way!!

    • #3302723

      Project Selection

      by suryava ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I think your CEO has a point. Or may be not. I think you can take this opportunity as a Project Manager (atleast for some time) and evaluate the two alternatives. You would identify some evaluation criteria such as Risk associated with lack of experience for you, vs the experience of the contractors. What kind of computers would the contractors bring in. Even if they are going to be “behind” them, consider that if they were of inferior quality, how about the downtime waitinf for them to appear and fix them. Depending on your situation, you may include other criteria. Then associate a score with each factor and compare the total score for each alternative.

      Other methods could include calculating the Net Present Value method. Consider when would you be paying the Contractors vs DELL. The cost of the contracors bill with respect to when it is due to them, considering the rate of return of the money invested at different points of time.

      This kind of comparison not only is reliable, but also puts you and your CEO, into thinking about the two alternatives.

      Hope that helps.

    • #3302722

      Less Disruption of Normal Operations

      by mfrith1 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      What does the measely 800 bucks buy? Full responsibility for the Installation, Startup, and Integration of new equipment into the work environment. Little or no disruption to current operations. If you haven’t done multiple VPNs before then you could really have some problems especially with long distance VPN. You will have enough to do just helping the new install along and overseeing the integration. Let the consulting firm have the headaches. You and the boss will be happier and better off in the long run. Tell the CEO The actual cost of you doing it will be much higher by about $2,000. I’ve done it both ways. I’ll take the consultants every time.

    • #3302719

      Ain’t Worth the Responsiblity and Risk

      by admin ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      $800 ain’t worth the the risk and responsibility of doing the job in house. Simply have the consultants rework the bid. $800 is barely over 1% of the total stated cons bid. If the consultant can bid the job for $60,000, it can be done in house a lot less than an $800 difference. The CEO AND the consultant will get full value at $59,981. You will have you hands full just continuing you regular duties as well as managing the consultants and the change over.

      It is not even a question of which way to go and you and the CEO should not be conversing $800 but rather the timely and successful completion of the task.

    • #3302709

      are you kidding

      by bygriff ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      If your making $6.50 an hour $800.00 wouldn’t even cover it. If a consulting firm actually said they would do it for that its a screeming price. But try to hold them to it and make sure all the i’s have dots and the t’s are crossed. Things not covered in contract and so on. Please take my word for it and take the $800.00 out of your pocket if you have to. I know from exoerience.

      • #3302675

        Do as much work yourself as possible

        by mstretz ·

        In reply to are you kidding

        If it were me, I would do the work myself. As a tech that works on 400 computers, I can tell you twenety computers is nothing, providing your company gives you a realistic deadline. The experience you will gain by building this company’s network yourself will be invaluable during the rest of your career (both with this company, and the next one).

        On the other hand, if you can hire consultants to help, you will get done quicker, no doubt. I really think you will not learn as much though. Plus you will have put yourself in the very awkward position of showing your company that someone from the outside can come in and do your job for $800. That does NOT look good for you.

        • #3302659


          by fhammett ·

          In reply to Do as much work yourself as possible

          You have a great opportunity here to add to your knowledge base. What happens 6 months from now when additional changes are required? By doing it yourself you will ready and able.

          If you’re not sure you can handle this project, than learn all you can from the consultants. Once they leave someone needs to train and support the users. Make sure you’re ready.

    • #3302682

      Consider capitilization

      by vscruggs ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Double check with your accountant, but that $800 can probably be capitalized. Assuming your hardware is depreciated over 3 years, the $800 becomes $22 per month – a small price to pay for the expertise of someone who has been there before. Also, the consultant should be helping you sell the value of their services.

    • #3302673

      Your CEO is Micromanaging

      by noo-yawker ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Assuming the integrator really knows their stuff, $800 to do the work and be responsible for it is a bargain. At less than 2% of your cost for the equipment alone it’s a no-brainer.

      Figure the value of your time and the learning curve, and it will be more expensive directly and indirectly as it may take you longer which means there’s also business cost (and risk)in the delay in not having the new system up and usable by everyone sooner.

      The time you’re working on this project means you’re also unavailable for other projects or problem-solving. If you have to stop this integration project to fight fires, then it gets delayed even more.

      The sight of those boxes of equipment sitting in a closet instead of being used will cause more than $800 worth of bad feelings.

      The bigger issue is that a CEO who’s shelling out $59K and then quibbles over an extra $800 for service has problems in judgement.

    • #3302667

      Request Lower Bid

      by calliel ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      If you want the IT consulting company to do the work, and the equipment they are providing is comparable, why not ask your CEO if he would consider having an outside firm complete the refresh to free up your time, if the cost to do it all was the same as Dell’s quote for only supplying the equipment. If he agrees, go to the IT consulting company and ask if they would lower their quote by $721. For a $60,000 contract they just might do it.

    • #3302658

      Pay for it yourself and take a few days off

      by mgritz ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Hmm, if it were me, I would pay the $800 myself and take a vacation with a cell phone and mai-tai, call in a few times, show how it came in on time, on budget and make it up on my end of year bonus.

      Thanks for add a few bucks to the dell bid. Always works for me. Help your CEO make the decision, if it’s $800.00 that important to him, heck, add a a couple larger monitors or an upgrade or two and dell would be a few buck more.

      Thank write some fancy partnering thing and give your boss the credit, next time, he’ll listen the first time.


    • #3302653

      Do it yourself

      by pka ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I don’t like the high bid. They are offering to do a lot of work for very little money. It is hard to under bid Dell at all, let alone with a lot of labor added to it. Be careful of what are are buying.

    • #3302650

      Use your CEO’s language

      by mary.hoerr ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Your CEO needs to know the costs of both approaches to make a decision. The most common mistake IT people make is not counting the cost of their own time.
      1. Calculate roughly how long it will take you to do this. Even if you get the operating system installed with the new machines, you will have network services, standard applications, and applications unique to certain sets of users to install. Estimate approx 2 hours per machine if you are ghosting, up to 8 hours per machine if you are not. If you have not set up a ghost system to broadcast images to multiple systems, estimate the time to learn, install and configure such a system (2 hrs to 8 hrs?).
      2. Now compare this time to the time you require for your other tasks. How much time do you spend on network maintenance tasks? Troubleshooting? Are there other projects you are responsible for – database maintenance, creating templates, etc?
      3. Estimate the cost to the company in network down time (number of employees x down time hours). Estimate the cost to the company when a specific employee is unable to work because you take a day longer (or more) to resolve a troubleshooting issue. Estimate the cost to the company if a critical database goes down. You should know this anyway — you should KNOW the value to the company of your work, which is what these figures show.
      4. You might bring up the increase in time required for troubleshooting, as other people have suggested, but this is hard to quantify. Even if you have the consultants take care of the transition, this number is likely to go up because many (all?) of your end-users will be unfamiliar with some aspects of the upgrade. By all means let your CEO know this will be a cost of the transition, with or without consultants.
      5. Now let your CEO make the trade-offs. You have a finite amount of time. If you take on this project, either network stability will suffer (see cost of network downtime) or your other projects will suffer. Your CEO may very well decide your other projects can be put on hold. If so, go ahead and do it, and add to your experience and value to the company.

    • #3302638

      Protection is where you find it.

      by stuart_lesnett ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I haven’t heard anything about the end-user community. Reviewing the collection of different equipment and OS’s being changed someone is going to have their hands full handling the user community. Secondly VPN is nice but communication is COM and nothing every works the first time. You finally mentioned lost productivity of the end-user community and covering that expense is nothing to the initial $800 difference. Your portion of the consolidation to MS is going to be a large enough problem. Take the consulting company but be sure someone understands what you’re getting ( I’m not especially talking about hardware) and make sure it’s a fix price contract. This type of contract does place all burden on you. The IT department must plan-plan-plan well because any change will cost you extra. Try to convice your CEO NOT to eat the entire elephant at one time, the phased approach is best for maintaining continuity of service.

      Good Luck

    • #3302637

      be more mercenary

      by dasc0917 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      From the CEO?s point of view trockii should be heralded as a true company man to the n-th degree. He is absolutely correct in his assessment of the situation and the value of bringing on the consulting staff. Not that he will necessarily be able to convince the CEO of that. He is, however, missing the big picture from a strictly mercenary point of view. I?ve come to the belief that we?re here to take care of ourselves first and the company only to whatever extent it benefits us.

      I?ve been trying to find a programming or development position for quite some time. It seems that no matter how many different areas I have experience in, companies generally want more. Trockii may be happy in a small company now but sooner or later it?s going to be to his benefit to be able to tell someone, an interviewer perhaps, that he did this job.

    • #3302626

      hire the consultants

      by scott.ward ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Not sure how the consultants are able to perform the work at such a low price above the cost of the hardware. They must resell Dell products. Bottom line – this is a simple decision – it will take you several days to get all of the hardware in and loaded with your company software and then deploy all of the hardware accross the company. Do you have the physical space? The consultants will probably load the hardware at their site and bring it to your site and deploy it in 1 or 2 days with minimal business interuption. It is well worth the $800 and you can hold them accountable for their work. Hire the consultants.

      • #3302470

        another possibility

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to hire the consultants

        The consultancy might be using something like Nobilis hardware, which is higher quality and often cheaper than Dell.

    • #3302604

      Why Not

      by shess57 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Why not talk to the consulting company and ask them to do it for $800 less then you get what you want and the boss gets what he wants?
      And if the consulting company won’t come down then I would question whether or not I want them doing it anyway…..

    • #3302603

      Consultants were given the contract

      by trockii ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I did a bunch of things that was suggested. I sat down and wrote how much time it would take me to do the rollout myself. I factored in the current network and any issues that arise I would have to stop the rollout for. I compared that to the consulting company using 6 people and 46 hour quote to get the job done compared to my 3-4 week time frame. I compared all 6 of them’s knowledge and experience vs my 3 years. The CEO looked and said OK. FINALLY!!!! The company is feed up with the current systems limitations and it’s starting to affect production and sales. The computers and servers have been ordered. Arrival time is a week before Christmas. We are planning to begin the rollout the first week in Jan. Thanks EVERYONE for your input. It definitely helped this newbie.

      • #3302575

        Good luck

        by usdoj ·

        In reply to Consultants were given the contract

        My only concern for you now is that since your employer has seen how effective it is to outsource his IT tasks and has seen that there ARE other people out there who are more capable than you….

        Good Luck.

        • #3302554

          My job is safe

          by trockii ·

          In reply to Good luck

          My job used to be a consultant’s job. He lost it because he charged between $75-$100/ hour. I only asked for $19/hour. So I am a bargin in his eyes. Plus I know what I am doing unlike the consultant. I think that’s why he was unwilling to go with the consultants. It wasn’t a matter of $800. it was a matter of not getting burnt by a consultant again.

        • #3290893

          one point

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Good luck

          Never underestimate the importance of an IT overseer for outsourced jobs that is on your payroll.

          Of course, while it may be cost-effective and generally effective in other ways as well to use a consultancy for this task, it would NOT be cost-effective to keep them on-site every day. For that, you need an in-house IT admin.

    • #3302590

      True $ value

      by jpcote ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I would tell him it would take x number of hours multiplied by your wage & that number is more than the difference in the bid. Not only that, but it would take you away from your other duties. Even if you make $25/hour and at +2 hours/per machine & @+8 hours/server, 2 hours/VPN, and 4 hours travel time, I’m sure you’ll come up with a greater number than $800.

      • #3302501

        Cost benefit analysis

        by aziraphale ·

        In reply to True $ value

        I agree. an objective comparison of the value of your time & services vs that of the consultants’ would put things in perspective for your boss.

        it would also help to clarify what the $800 actually covers — might seem like a good deal at the start, but the hidden costs just might creep up on you. good luck!

    • #3302581

      Go for IT Consultant

      by atholl ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I work at a school were I am the only IT person looking after 5 servers and 350 workstations.
      We did an upgrade 2 years ago all new servers and new software (NT4 to Win2K srver). We had our supplier come in and do all the insatllations of both the hardware and software.
      The problem is that there is always something that will go wrong because of so many variables. If your CEO does not see the value of spending $800.00 more, then I am afraid he should not be CEO of a company. Our consultant took images of all our servers and did an update in a test enviornment which you cannot do. This was to iron out any problems (and there were) before the actual live update. If you are the only IT person at this company my advise is, DO NOT do the upgrade yourself.

      • #3302456


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Go for IT Consultant

        You’ve currently got the best OS that Microsoft ever produced, atholl (discounting the hand that Microsoft had in OS/2, that is). Now that you know Win2k support is getting EOLed in six months, this is the perfect time to start migrating at least some of your network to non-Windows platforms. While I don’t know your particular preferences in technologies, you should be aware that XP is a net loss in stability and security from Win2k, and that its “increased functionality” isn’t significant enough to warrant the losses.

        Win2k was the first Windows OS to responsibly apply the Win32 specification to an NT kernel architecture. While Win2k still suffers the more publicly known flaws of modern Windows system design, the behind the scenes architecture issues were greatly improved in Win2k over any previous Windows OS.

        WinXP ganked that all up by adding in additional Win9x features that had been abandoned in Win2k due to known stability and security issues. The big security improvement in SP2 that everyone has been trumpeting about, meanwhile, consists mostly of A) fluff, like the Windows Firewall (more of a danger than a security solution) and B) “patches” that remove the extra misfeatures that were layered on top of Win2k. In other words, it’s a 200+ MB rewrite of Windows XP that undoes any dubious benefits it had over XP because of the fact that the security risks were eventually deemed too great to maintain. Unfortunately, that didn’t really solve the issue: WinXP still has all the secondary supporting code in it that was used to interface with and manage the now-patched code. This lingering cruft leaves a larger resource footprint, more ponderously bloated system (in addition to the extra GUI eye candy’s effect on bloat) with greater complexity, leading to greater stability and security issues.

        There just isn’t really anything better about XP, as compared with 2k, and that’s not even considering how the EULA has changed since Win2k SP2. With Win2k SP3, clauses were added to the EULA that essentially removed legal control of your own hardware and software from your hands and placed it in Microsoft’s.

        In any case, it looks like Windows is going to be all downhill from here. Microsoft is doing with Longhorn what it did with Cairo in the ’90s: it’s indefinitely “delaying” all the really needed features in favor of working on incorporating the misfeatures that will only lead to greater stability and security issues. The planned closer integration between web functionality and the core OS in Longhorn is the biggest culprit, in terms of threats to the future potential of Windows. It’s all in the name of market dominance, of course.

        I didn’t mean to ramble on this long. My point is that, if you’re inclined to consider other options now, six months in advance is the right time to start phasing in non-Windows systems, primarily with something Unixy as servers. You might also think about replacing some Windows desktops with MacOS X and/or Linux desktop systems. Certainly, you’re going to have to keep some Windows systems around for desktops, I’m sure — and you’ll almost certainly have to keep up with the Joneses, as it were, with the Windows upgrade cycle. The more you can minimize your dependence on Microsoft, though, the better. Vendor lock-in can be a terrible burden.

    • #3302569

      $800. Cost vs. Success

      by miller-zauner ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Having over four decades of exposures and experiences on both sides of consulting my vote is spend the $800.
      The value add you get for this amount is your ability to continue running day to day operations, your change management vendor alliance control on all the adverbal stuff that they will have to jump through and most of all a well written service level agreement between your team and their team that can be written with penalities just in case they don’t meet your standards as well as you can.
      This gives both your management just cause for the $800. and shows them how much more value add you bring to them in not only keep things going; but, able to orchestate the future at the same time.

    • #3302561

      You need help…

      by geldernick ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Obviously, you need the help. With that little price difference, I am wondering whether the consulting company is the best one to choose. In any event, your management has a poor decision making process. Try to sell them on the costs the will be produced if it is done poorly. Impacts on business, lost business and employee production time if the new system fails. I would use these costs to argue for a competitive alternative analysis, select the right consulting company wiht a successful, verified history and work with them to acquire the skills during the whole planning and delivery process. Pick up all of the new skills. Then look of a new job where the management has the skill to make good decisions.

      • #3302555

        here is your added value

        by rrosca ·

        In reply to You need help…

        Obvioulsy your CEO is not looking at this very clearly.

        If you can get the consultants in for less than 1% of the total cost then it’s a no brainer. Do it because:

        A: it shifts the responsability to the pros.
        B: The company will enjoy less downtime because the consultants will have the experience and the manpower
        C: You’re going to get a lot of exposure and garner knowledge by picking their brain
        D: Your CEO will come off smelling like roses if the conversion goes off without a hitch.
        E: if somethings goes wrong within the first month or so, you can always coax the consultants back to fix whatever problems crop up.
        F: If your business is like mine, then a single image for all your desktops is probably not going to work. My marketing staff needs different software than my CAD Monkeys and my accountants need different software than my Marketing Monkeys.
        That takes time.

        Quite frankly, at that price it’s a terrible mistake not to bring them in. Its’ worth it just for the manpower alone.

    • #3302536

      OJT May be the best learning curve

      by usedman ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      We have 180 users that 3 of us take care of. We just migrated to a new Exchange server, and have been working on it for the last week getting setting changes made on each users workstation. Your CEO has to realize to save money may interrupt business until you get finished. Which is better, spending money or losing money not being able to do business at full capacity?

    • #3302513

      Advise CEO of Pros & Cons

      by go4gold ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Advice: Prepare a memo to CEO… and advise him/her of the pros and cons of both options. Give him/her a breakdown of the time and financial implications with respect to each option.
      Note: Your situation is not uncommon… too many times, CEOs simply do not understand and need to be brought up to speed on the details of the workplace. Good luck!

    • #3302512

      Network Upgrade

      by jporter32 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???


      Don’t do all that work yourself. You know how things can go wrong. I suggest, you be firm with the CEO, tell him it is too much work for one person. Don’t put yourself in a postion to get fired. Guess who gets blamed if there is a problem(s)? Send him a detailed E mail explaining that the $800.00 is definately worth the money. YOu can ssist the IT company to learn and help get it odne faster, but do not do it yourself. Just my 2C’s

      Besxt of luck, keep me posted,


    • #3302511

      The Cost of learning…

      by net_prof ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I have been on both sides of this fence, as a manager and as a consultant. I have almost 25 years in IT.

      The first question you need to answer is can you do this yourself?? The second question is $800 worth your job??

      The $800 difference is about 1% difference between the two values you mentioned. However the extra $800 can mean the difference between your job and your career. Many an inexperienced IT professional has tried what you are trying to do by theirselves, only to have to 1. either redo it several times to get it correct and end up costing a lot more in your time than $800 or 2. get fired or lost a long-term opportunity because it ended up so screwed up that the company lost faith with you and your abilities.

      The extra $800 goes a long ways to having accountability and the extra skill sets to successfully complete this project. I also agree with the prior post about the extra hands to get this accomplished quicker – heck the reduced period of completion should be worth the $800 alone. This will allow you to manage the install, build your project management skills and make you look good AND have a (hopefully) reliable company to fall back on and get additional tech support should something happen along the way.


    • #3302504

      Gve it a go

      by markholmes24 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      On one hand, it’s worth getting the consultants in if it’s only $800 it’s a small price to pay to cover your ass. On the other hand, 20 workstations and 2 servers isn’t exactly out of this world – you should be able to build the boxes using Ghost and whilst server setup can be tricky in certain situations (are you using Exchange and AD?), it isn’t impossible by any means. If you do the job yourself, you will know exactly how everything is set up and it wll all be done as you want it. Also you will learn a lot along the way. Finally, you can manage the risk by doing it in stages, you should be able to set up the servers and a few of workstations and test it all before you go live. Once your happy that all is as it should be you can change over to the new system. Hardest thing may be user education allow plenty of time for this.

    • #3290869

      Yours is to get the job done

      by azizul1 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Went through half the posts and I think I have a good understanding of your major issues. Cutting it short, it appears you’ve done your homework and justified the $800 extra for the consultants.

      Although it will be exciting to handle the project yourself and gain the learning experience while at it, it will be too costly in time etc as you have other things to do and no assistant. As the single person there, your responsibility is to get the job done – not necessarily to do the job yourself. Good consultants will bring with them a wealth of experience which you could and should tap into.

      Whenever feasible and possible, get contractors/consultants to get a job done and pick their experience. That way, single-handedly you could manage a few projects at the same time rather than trying to wrestle each one of them yourself.

      If the CEO expects everything to be done in-house than he should have hired additional IT staff. Otherwise, I think he’s content with just you managing contractors/consultants so that the company can focus on hiring and managing staff that are directly related to the company’s core business. That is your worth to the company.


    • #3290829


      by rbenitez17 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???


      As a Professional IT consultant in Boston, Massachusetts I strongly recommend you to explain to the company CEO that spending an extra $800 will turn out to be a safe, productible and wise decision. With you not having no experience on such a master project, if things don’t go smooth as planned it will really hurt the companies productivity and even reputation. I have my own IT consulting company and I have seen small companies destroy their businesses because with similar situations as you face today. Plus, how does he expect you to take care of the office end-users request while working on this project without an IT staff of at least two?

      If the decision is for you to handle this by yourself I which you the best of luck. If I can be of any help feel free to e-mail me.


    • #3290667

      It’ll cost more than 800$ ;>

      by admin ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      One waay or the other or even some different ones, when it works it’ll cost more.

      Still, you have to focus on getting your job done the best way, written and unwritten job description wise and sometimes a consultants the way to go.

      Don’t plan on it really only being 800.00$ though, even if the CEO needs to think that is what happened.

    • #3290599

      Dive in and learn!

      by totbenru ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      All of these may seem to be a daunting task: Lots of servers, lots of configurations, VPNs and so on. But you will be missing out on one heck of a learning experience that will make you a total network administrator (plus the fact that having consultants may deprive you of absolute control over your network and security). Like you, Im the only overall IT adminstrator of 6 companies! We have 4 separate networks connected by wireless bridges and VPNs connecting 70 computers + 6 servers. Before i hired 2 assistants (hardware technician & software admin) I did most of the work (and I mean everything!).

      We do not have a single branded PC. We buy only the parts and assemble them ourselves. On the average it only costs us USD500/PC(with XP Pro,Office…) Hardware and software installation is pretty much routine once you get used to it. If you do it right the first time, these units typically last a year before you have to reformat them again. The bulk of your work will then be on maintenance (updating anti viruses, checking connections etc).

      What really helps me in this kind of job is the constant research, practice (and lotsa net admin buddies who i steal ideas from). My boss has gotten to know me real well coz of the connectivity we have (and so will you!). Just take the plunge! There is no better way to learn than to have practical experience.

    • #3303458

      your $ amount is missing something

      by aixguru ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      In your request you state the price of the hardware only for do it yourself. You also need to include your own time & salary. And also the cost involved in how long it would take to do the upgrade as you are doing it yourself.

      This gotcha may have been discussed already, but I thought I would mention it.

      I have a feeling if you do a true cost analysis for do it yourself you will find that the consultants are actually cheaper.

      Nobody ever thinks of their own time and effort when doing these kinds of things.

      • #3303379

        Goes Both Ways…

        by admin ·

        In reply to your $ amount is missing something

        Add the dollar amount of your time in KLnowledge Transfer and Project Management with the Consultant too….

        I agree though, make a good business decision based on what it really costs either way.


    • #3303436

      Just add 1.2%

      by maxa ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Geesh, I can’t believe this. For a mere extra 1.2% you can get a consultant to help you out and you still can do your day-to-day tasks! Come on, it’s 60,000 order! What kind of CEO is that?

      Sounds like mine… to tell you the truth.

    • #3303381

      Reply To: IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      Sounds like you need a Project Management Plan.

    • #3304211

      Original poster takes your advice!

      by Jay Garmon ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      The original poster of this thread, trockii, has started a followup thread detailing his resolution of the issue.

      Thanks for letting us know how things turned out!

    • #3300022

      Raise Time

      by it24 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      If you have the knowledge DO IT YOURSELF, document what you accomplished and use it to ask for a raise!!

    • #3313863

      CEO doesn’t know what he’s doing

      by rexworld ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      As usually happens, it sounds like the CEO doesn’t really know what he’s doing. But he does control the purse strings so you’re going to have to find a way to make him understand.

    • #3291954

      Do It Yourself

      by walesman ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???


      If you setup the servers first which will not impact the users. Then build a master image for the PC’s and in the image attach the Pc’s to the new domain. Then deploy the new PC’s a few at a time. Setup a trust between the original servers and the new ones and use robocopy to copy the data from your original servers (assuming they are Microsoft boxes). You can use a program called print mig from Microsoft to migrate printers from server to server.

      I would recomand a VPN appliance rather then setup one of the servers to carry this out.

    • #3247896

      Is this a joke question?

      by zt3000 ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      You think you are going to put this together as well as an IT consulting company?? Heh!
      Dell is only selling the hardware, not converting, installing, listening to complaints, etc.
      Especially since your boss thinks $800 might be saved. He’s nuts.
      If this quote had of been for $2,000 above Dell, it still would have been a steal.
      The IT consulting will make sure it works the first time, every time.

      • #3248320

        Something is odd

        by craig herberg ·

        In reply to Is this a joke question?

        If the contract includes the same Dell equipment, the consultant will likely get ~$1200 on the equipment itself, bringing their total to $2000. That is awfully cheap. On the other hand, if the contract does not include equipment — oooooops!
        Or possibly cheap white box computers. . .

    • #3261833


      by epait ·

      In reply to IT Consultants or do it yourself???

      I too had the same problem 2 years ago. We wentt from two Lans 75 miles apart Novell 5.0 to a LAN/WAN enviroment via T1 upgrading to MS 2000 including Terminal server, Groupwise to Exchange and from our hosted corporate website to hosting our own via IIS web server. Being that I run a network for a CPA office and am the only IT person we compromised on a local vendor that I worked along with and did as much as I could alone. I moved alot of the info between servers at night. We also installed a Sonicwall firewall and I had to learn to configure VPN clients. I learned alot coming over as CNE but had nevr touched MS. I also ended up imaging all 98 PCs to XP Pro by purchasing and learning Ghost. My take is get the help…but compromise on price on the things you can do or assit the contrator with. To this day that is how we handle things…

      Good luck,

Viewing 71 reply threads