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PC Technician's work load

By tmcclure ·
As the agency I work for grows, so do the number of PC's. I've added to my staff over the years but am now at a point where I am wondering how many computers can one technician support?

We support about 250 PC, located in 9 locations as far awayas 50 miles. All of our support is inhouse. All of the PC's are Windows 95, 98,2000,XP.

So my question is, how many PC's do your techicians support, What is a realistic number? And what tools do you use to make it easier?

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It depends

by timwalsh In reply to PC Technician's work load

Seems like this (or a similar) question pops up about once a week. It?s a hard one for many IT managers to grapple with. On the one hand, you obviously don?t want bunches of people sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen. On the other hand you don?t want the network walls to come crashing down when 1 of your only 2 outstanding techs is on vacation.

Unfortunately, there is no single, good answer that anyone can give you other than ?it depends.? You will certainly see some numbers that other people have read or heard about, but those numbers tend to be averages industry wide, or for a certain business sector.

Okay, you say. What does it depend on?

Some the things to take into account:
Age and complexity of the hardware
Age and complexity of the software
Presence or lack of proprietary hardware or software
Level of computer knowledge of users
Number of locations to support

What do your techs? current workloads look like?

The older or more proprietary the hardware, the more support is needed. The same goes for software. And the big one, the less comfortable users are with (or knowledgeable about) technology, the greater your support task.

Some possible solutions to easing the work load:

Try and determine what percentage of your tech's time is dedicated to solving "how do I..." types of problems. If the same questions or types of questions keep popping up, it may be worth the effort to create some sort of user education program.

Depending on if (or how) your out sites are clustered, it may be worthwhile to dedicate a tech to several clustered sites and possibly base him at one of those sites instead of your primary site.

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It depends (II)

by timwalsh In reply to It depends

Use remote control software. If you have Win2K servers at locations other than your primary site, the built-in Terminal Services (TS) Remote Administration mode works great as long as the server will boot into Windows. The TS client will install on any Windows client.
For your WinXP workstations, you have 2 built-in tools available. First, there is Remote Desktop. This allows you to log in to a completely different session than the currently logged-on user (just like Win2K TS). In fact the same client can be used for both.
Remote Assistance works only between 2 WinXP computers. This allows one user to essentially log-on to the SAME session as the currently logged on user. This works great when trying to show someone how to do something. A tech can perform a procedure and the user can watch what is going on. Likewise a tech can watch someone explain a problem on screen to verify if the user is doing things correctly.
VNC is a FREEWARE remote control program that will allow you to remote control any Windows PC from any other Windows PC (probably your best solution for controlling Workstations other than WinXP. It isn't quite as easy as TS(it has a slow screen refresh cycle), but its probably your only free solution(purchasing PC AnyWhere or some of the other third-party remote control software would probably get pricey for 250 computers).

Good luck in finding the solution that works best for your organization.

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250 PCs is not too many, but...

by ghstinshll In reply to PC Technician's work load

Tim covered some of these already, but here's my take. How are you utilizing your current technology to maximize your tech's productivity?

Some keys to focus in on are: (Streamlining)

Are your computers all fitting into a "Less than 5" standard hardware configuration? If not, begin budgeting for this. Put in your next year, and eatch some headaches go away. Purchase solid business machines from a reputable vendor (Compaq, hhmmm) every Year, replacing 1/3 of your hardware each year, this will make your tech purchasing a little more consistent. You can stretch it out further if you need to once you have the cycle rolling.

Norton Ghost: Once you have a plan set up for hardware standards, think about software standards. Do all your systems have the exact same software requirements? If so, then you have it easy. Use Symantec Ghost to create "core load" ghost images of the computers to ease re-build times if something goes wrong. Make sure users aren't storing business critical data on their hard drives, for that risk alone... Make sure you have redundant drives in your servers, and backups, etc... You probably already have this, but if not, thenyou have to know this.

As for Support concerns: Do you have a call tracking database? If not, MS Access can be a great tool for this. Send your tech to a couple of classes on Access, and ask him to design a DB for call tracking. Once you have that in place, and the tech logs ALL OF THEIR CALLS, then you will have a tool to move forward to....

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250 PCs is not too many II...

by ghstinshll In reply to 250 PCs is not too many, ...

Knowledge Base and FAQ's: Have your tech build a web page for your office that your users can access that will allow your users to go there first before calling him to try a few "common fixes" for things he does repetitively. The more your users use it, the smarter they'll become, and then the more advanced his documentatio ncan become--leading to a more advanced set of users.

Education: Train your users. Does your tech have time to train your users? Can you use New Horizons for some of this? Make sure the training facility is reputable as well.

These are all projects that can and will save your company big money if all implemented well.

I may have more to follow, but this is good enough with th basics to start out with.

Feel free to email me at to ask more questions or pot here in the discussion.

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