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  • #2274354

    IT support staff.


    by paradox667 ·

    Hi all,

    I’m just writing to find out if there are any industry guidelines for the number of IT staff in a given environment.

    For this example:

    400 workstations
    12 servers
    70 3com switches
    1 router
    27 printers
    1500 users.
    2 IT staff (sharing 67.5 hours per week) – managing all of the above + helpdesk duties.

    I am in the position where I need to provide a recommendation to the staffing group at the site I work at, and am looking for hard evidence (other than the fact that both the IT people are developing twitches and balding) to support the fact that we are understaffed.

    Any suggestions where to look, who to talk to, or guidelines to follow?

    *please note this is not some huge company but a highschool*

    Cheers for any help.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2700184

      Search this site

      by thechas ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      I suggest that you search this site.

      There have been a number of discussions on this topic. Along with a couple of articles.

      Bottom line, there is no “fixed” “reliable” industry guideline.

      Each situation is unique.
      You need to determine for your situation what to measure to see if support is “adequate”.


      • #2708214

        Reply To: IT support staff.

        by aldoseri ·

        In reply to Search this site

        i guess you better think of Location Wise & the Fastest Resoulation time to serv your users.

        @ our orginizations 1 Support member Serv around 100 Users or sometimes 200 …

        it all depend on the load & how much your budget is going to handle (Staffing & the reset of the package)


    • #2720921

      IT Suport Staffing Ratio

      by dayit ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      Search tech republic for a pdf titled staffratio.pdf, contains all the info you need. it is an extract from a Gartner study. If you cannot find it write to me at

    • #2720910

      Tough call

      by racote ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      If you were a business I would say that you should have a
      staff of of about 12.
      2 Help desk generalist (determine if software or hardware)
      $30,000 each + benefits

      2 Escalation help desk
      $40 – 45,000 each + benfits

      2 Network (router and switch)
      $60,000 each + benefits

      2 Server
      $55,000 each + benefits

      2 Service and maintenance. High Schools require a lot of
      $35-40,000 each + benefits

      1 Network / Computer server Security FW, ITS, Anti-virus
      $60-75,0000 + benfits

      1 Manager
      75,000 – 85000 + benefits

      I know this is a tough sell, but it’s what’s needed for a first
      class operation to be actively managing and maintaining
      the systems. Whatever you do, please resist the urge to
      use students for anything that requires access above user.
      They are not evil. Just very curious.

    • #2702179

      General Rule of Thumb

      by walter-ppk ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      For support I use 50 Staff to 1 IT. That will need to flex as a company grows so 50-60 is the best. Make sure your not geting too close to 70.

      Larger firms tend to be more efficent and pamper less to users needs so figures of 100 to 1 and sometimes 150 to 1 can be common but they tend have long lead times for most tasks and dont provide a very responsive buisness.

      400 Workstations and 1500 users will mean you will need to add a weighting to take in to account the extra training type questions you will get over an extended user base – Stuff like – How do I set up Out of Office etc.

      Once you have worked that out you will then need to sort out your back-office staff.

      Management of the Servers [Im assuming Windows Here] with little investment in tools to reduce the mundane tasks is about 25 Servers to 1 IT Member. With the right tools and experiance you can get about 50 to 1.

      Management of the network is a tricky one – Do you have firewalls, VPN’s, remote workers etc. Based on your supplied info the Network Administration could handle that workload but you will need to keep an eye on what volume he/she has so you can add extra staff if required.

      Management of the department, board reports, liasing with Business heads, Business need research, Product Research, Support Management, Project and Change management, Documentation, Purchasing, Budget Management and general slack for Holiday cover means you will need at least 1 IT Manager.

      These ratios will provide a balanced but effective department. Get that message accross and your manager etc can then say what response times, expectations should be delivered and you can then taylor it accordingly. If they want to reduce that service level [I.e server uptime, response times to requests etc] then you can show that by altering the Support Ratio etc. The last thing about this method however is that it makes justifying budget for department and IT staff investment really easy – something which can be difficult. For example – You want some software to monitor event logs and server health. This is currently done manaually once a week and consumes 2 hours. The software costs ?3,000 and if invested in would increase his ratio of capacity from ’25 to 1′ to ’30 to 1′. The payback would be weeks and your department then has extra capacity [not doing a mundane task] to work on the nicer stuff. Works with training too.



      • #3310202

        good luck on that one

        by sleepless in wa ·

        In reply to General Rule of Thumb

        I just came from an US public school environment. For them 50 to 1 would be a pipedream. 500 to 1 is more like it. Hopefully our mother country has more money than her colonies. Best of luck.

      • #3318024

        hungry for more

        by jmorr ·

        In reply to General Rule of Thumb

        hey john,

        i like this alot, can you give me more? in addition to IT, i also have shipping/receiving, facilities, corporate services and logistics, can you help me out in those areas too? I’ve searched and you’re the only one giving sound advise,

        best regards,


    • #2702176

      Small college in London

      by martinsepion ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      We have one IT Manager (me) and one Network Manager and a Technician in a small college in London. Our infrastructure is as follows;

      2 networks (teaching & admin)
      8 servers 200 workstations 50 laptops 35 printers and networked photocopiers
      a few graphics tablets, digital projectors, smartboards, wireless network, handheld/tablet PC’s etc.

      We get by with a ratio of 1:100 technicians to computers but I will be putting in a request for more support staff as our network grows. In the past I used to work on 1:50 but with active directory and the improved stability of Windows 2003 server and windows XP (over windows NT Windows 95/98)I think 1:100 is reasonable. I reckon I can provide a good level of service and support to the users and the organisation with this level of staff.

      • #2702158

        Snap (virtually)

        by philip.coakes ·

        In reply to Small college in London

        Independent College in SW England

        We have one Network (read all IT) Manager (me) and one Technical Manager (main responsibility is hardware maintenance) and a Technician in an Independent College in the South West of England. We all do helpdesk, and break & fix when required.

        Our infrastructure is a single network combining our administrative & curriculum delivery. We have 2 NetWare Servers, 2 Windows Application Servers, 1 Unix Server, 250 workstations/laptops & about 60 printers, and about 800 users. We also have a smattering of projectors & interactive whiteboards.

        Three years ago it was one full time, and one part time technician. However, we have moved our delivery model way beyond the simple helpdesk & system maintenance that was required back then. Most of my time is taken up with project managing development work, as we add new services and facilities to the network, as well as developing the kind of things that a business would take for granted, such as Web Services & Disaster Recovery planning etc.

        The key to being allowed to expand the IT Support team, has been being able to ?sell? the benefits of a value added IT infrastructure to the Senior Management. When they see the IT as an enabler, rather than a cost to be absorbed by the business, the attitude to provision changes dramatically.

        How did we do it? Rather than whinging about the lack of resource, we sold them the benefits of increased resource allowing the College to have Web Access to data & email from home; a ?dedicated? resource to develop their departmental Intranet pages for them; a team with time for training in new technologies etc. When the Head and the Senior Management are on board (and maybe even think its their own idea) then we have been able to make significant progress.

        We now provide a very good level of service (don’t you love it when you can resolve a users problem inside of 30 minutes), and the staff know we are approachable to develop new systems & services for thier benefit. We are a “can-do” department, and the whole school knows it!

      • #3312131

        cooperating with you

        by danielz58 ·

        In reply to Small college in London

        i am Daniel Zaharia, a computer specialist from Romania. i want to set up a small busines in london as a self employed.i look to cooperate with you. name of my company is ” Zaharia computers service”. i worked for my family computer busines for 3years,in romania.i been in london before six mounths. thank you

    • #2702079

      Same question!! HELP!

      by tmbell ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      I am a dept of 1 right now (24×7 support) and handle all aspects of IT from Desktop on up including phone system and building security. I have mulitple locations: Corporate office has 70 pcs and phones, 8 servers, 3 switches, 1 router, A Nortel phone system and dvr for security cameras.
      I have other offices connecting with terminal server and also support their systems.
      How do I justify headcount?? I know I need help, but how do I convince upper management who sees me as a ‘cost’ center instead of a ‘profit’center.

      • #2724134

        Measure & Track

        by tomjedrz ·

        In reply to Same question!! HELP!

        First – you ARE a cost center, unless you generate revenue. The issue is what kind of value the cost brings to the organization.

        You have to demonstrate what the additional resources will enable, and the shortcomings of the current staffing situation. Will things get done faster? What is the benefit of that? Will things get done that are not getting done now? Are they things that are needed? The answers seem obvious to you, but they are not to management.

        You need to keep track of the time you spend on the various activities (hw support, sw support, network admin, projects, requests, etc).

        You also need to keep track of the requests, whether you are able to accomplish them or not, and how long they take. If you don’t have a helpdesk system, get one – is an open source one that runs on IIS.

        If you are compensating for the staffing problem by working obscene hours, you are giving a gift to the organization. Cutting your hours may not be a valid business reason to add staff. You should probably cut your hours back to reasonable BEFORE starting to make noise about needing to add a person.

        As an aside … if you want the new person to work for you, you will also need to demonstrate that you can manage someone else. Getting organized, tracking time and requests, and cogently justifying another person will demonstrate that as well.

    • #2702078

      more issues

      by jm22 ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      more things to consider that increase the complexity of your job and therefore drive up the cost:
      * any special applications you need expertise on? IIS? internal web sites to support?
      * are all the workstations identical in hardware and/or system/applications? are students and/or teachers allowed to load their own stuff [indicriminantly] on random computers?

      My take [having managed 5 servers/200 mixed PC & MAC] is you ought to have one hardware type for caring for hte printers, network, odd hardware problem; 1 tech to support every 50 or so workstations; different techs need a specialty in server, IIS, email server, apps, etc.

    • #2724124

      Think another way . . .

      by tomjedrz ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      I’ll bet that the district HR or some education trade journal has statistics about school district staffing.

      I suggest you change your thinking … instead of trying to recommend based on standard ratios, look at what is getting done, what is not getting done, and the problems with the current staffing situation. Measure satisfaction among the users. Measure how long things take. If you don’t have time to measure, make guesses or assumptions. Then make recommendations based on addressing the issues that come to light.

    • #3306976

      Risk/mitigation planning

      by entwine ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      One of the best ways to quantify staffing levels for minimum level of IT support staff is to complete a risk/mitigation plan.
      Identify groups or classes of problems and typical duties (log checks and so on), then associate a business risk value and mitigation value to each.
      Once the values have been assigned, grade the groups of problems and mitigation by priority and associate average resolution times.
      Equipped with this newly acquired arsenal you can develop a rich set of statistics which can help you plan (present and future) staffing levels versus fix response times, incorporate the use of deviation plans (for such things as upgrades/patches).
      This of course is just one approach and not a definitive guide; nonetheless it is a good starting point. The key to such techniques is the upkeep, once started, management will become dependant upon the stat’s you produce as they will soon realise that you are quantifying and justifying IT spend against business continuity which translates very nicely into boardroom communications.

    • #3310274

      You’re over staffed!

      by nzjade ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      At most high schools there is only one with a teaching staff member or 2 to assist and that is only because IT in that invironment is seen only as an extension of wood or metal work … old school management thinking.

      The positive is that younger management does recognise IT support and budget for staff.
      Thus in todays environment schools are a business and must be viewed with that thinking supporting the academic environment in the very lucrative and highly competitive education environment.

      You can approach your diliema by promoting your schools quality learning that is vigorously supported by IT however, to maintain its competitive edge and further increase your institutions standing requires increase in there support base with IT on a par with the teaching staff.
      Though the other controlling fact is the schools budget. Unless a proposal is forwarded it cannot be bugeted for.

      This is very broad … hope it hleps

    • #3314996

      Be grateful

      by kylex ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      Be happy! hehe

      I work at a School Distict in Eastern Canada.

      My assigned duties (similar to my co workers)

      9 Schools
      800 Clients
      9 Servers
      3500 Users
      9 Routers
      10 Managed Switched
      20 (Unmanaged)Switches
      Lost count of printers (But there are over 60 networked)

      I work 36.25 hrs a week. Salary. FT-Perm.

      Our Dept has 3 Tech, 1 Manager, 1 Clerk

      No, we can’t keep up….. and we can’t bail cause there are no jobs in Atlantic Canada to go to.


    • #3314691

      IT support staff

      by mark.johnson ·

      In reply to IT support staff.

      I am managing;
      1381 users
      957 workstations
      259 network printers
      12 servers
      47 switches
      3 routers
      1 Pix 515
      1 Layer 3 fibre switch
      in 5 facilities
      all by myself working 50 hours a week on average.

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