General discussion


Size of IT Staff

By trtjj ·
I am a fairly new IT director at this organization. I am designing a new infrastructure and I am adding services. I would like to know if anyone has references for IT department sizes. I had a proposal to hire a network admin and a Systems admin on top of the help desk person that I already have. The Executive staff is questioning my proposal and they feel all they need is another help desk person. They want me to manage all the services. We are an organization of 100 people. Our organization runs our own conferences and we are a membership based business. Besides the basic services of Email and Internet, we will be running Share point , communication server, Oracle, MS SQl for Great Plains, E-commerce, VoIP, Web conf and Wireless.

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IT Staffing

by kfellows In reply to Size of IT Staff

I think you have to have defined roles and tasks. If the call volume is low the Help Desk staff might be able to do backups and replace printer paper, but do you really want a Help Desk person building a production server or installing a network switch?

If you are small enough then a single person might be able to do both the Network and Systems Admin functions but eventually you are correct and will need two people. I suspect upper management is counting you as engineering staff when you should be managing the network and your systems. So I say maybe compromise and get one person now who can wear two hats.

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Please send paper

by lflandrau In reply to IT Staffing

Please send white paper on IT STaffing


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IT Staffing

by gario In reply to Size of IT Staff

So, if I read you correctly, you are a new IT Director with one help desk person, and Management wants you to run all services (workstations, servers, newtork, databases, website, and telecommunications). Once again, I see a company who expects a manager/director to be an administrator/engineer.

Ok, not knowing what your environment includes (how many servers, workstations, etc.), I would go after a Server/systems administrator at least. Possibly another help desk person and then possibly outsource network support if you have to.

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Be carefull

by Durbs In reply to Size of IT Staff

You need to be careful here. The correct size of an IT department is the number of people required to perform the agreed services to the agreed SLA's. Negotiate this well with management or else you will be in the firing line when services slip. Both your staff and the business management will appreciate this being planned correctly upfront.

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IT Staffing

by eli3050 In reply to Be carefull

Agreed. It depends what is the company's culture. Are they expecting a manager or hands-on technician with managerial skills. For one hundred people and up to 10 servers you may function well with two people. But your help desk person aka IT administrator, aka Network Administrator should savy and strong professionally.
Good luck and welcome to a lot of underappreciated work.

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by Bomber1JZ In reply to IT Staffing

At our company, we have the IT manager and myself (network admin) at our head office. We have 3 other sites (2 interstate and 1 OS) At these sites, we don't have IT staff except for engineers or draftees that help out when it comes to backups, installing software etc. (Often they do more harm than good. Surprise surprise)
Across all sites there are approximately 170 users and 15 Servers.
My question is, are we understaffed? Ideally it would be great to have a dedicated and trained IT person for each office, even if it was only part time. But I don't think that is on the cards for now
Intersting thing is, I have only been there 8 months, and the boss used to run the show by himself for years!!!

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Document Carefully

by pete1978 In reply to Be carefull

I agree fully. The question is SLA ... do they exist and, if so, is IT able to meet them? That is the question regarding the need for increasing (or decreasing) staff size unless other IT changes are happening (more on that later).

If the organization has SLAs, then the previous person with your responsibilities should have been keeping SLA documentation. Find that documentation. It may be your best defense that the positions are needed.

If the organization does not have SLAs, get them ASAP. But even before getting SLAs, start
keeping the SLA type of documentation ... it'll support your position on what SLA can be expected from IT.

Documentation is your best friend. It shows what your staff is doing, how long it takes, and the impact this has on the parent organization and much much more. There is a very real danger when NOT keeping documentation ... it could mean your job. Read the article found at

Sounds like you need to look at something like ITIL. It addresses service and support (via SLA) but also addresses "capacity management". If the organization is expanding IT services (adding more workstations, servers, services, etc.), then capacity management is what you want to address. It addresses the question "Can the IT group support the extended IT infrsstructure without sacrificing support for the current infrastructure?" This is a very important question if the organization plans to grow the IT infrastructure! But, too often, it is ignored.

Tons of review literature on ITIL on the net, but you may have to fork out a few $$$ to get more complete ITIL documents. After reviewing the literature on the net, you may decide it's worth the money.

Finally, remember that the higher admins are your boss. Support your position strongly, but not at the expense of your career. And if they force their position, keep your documentation. Later, when they ask why IT isn't providing the support they want, you can show that IT is working full time but that there are not enough people in the IT group to meet the organization's IT demands. Then ask for the additional positions again (without using "I told you so" unless they buck the idea again).

In this case, patience is a virtue.

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Size of Staff

by ninjabeaver In reply to Size of IT Staff


In the UK the recommended allocation is one IT staff member to every 40 PC's on site. For all the servers and extra services you are running I certainly don't feel your request is too much. Perhaps a compromise of a combined Network / Systems Admin and also an extra HelpDesk person might go down better. You could always train the Help Desk person upto the required level.

I will say that I know where you are coming from working as a school Network Manager. I've got seven servers and 500 + Laptops and PC's to deal with, plus 1500 'customers' (teaching staff, admin staff and pupils). There's only two of us running the site though.

Push for it, and possibly go the route of 'if blah blah goes down then it will cost you $$$' etc. That might work.

But, as I said, industry here recommends a 40 PC's to 1 Techie.

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Agree...but depends on environment

by ksutherland In reply to Size of Staff

I agree with my friend in the UK. However it depends on your environment. If all application run on the desktop the ratio could be as low as 25 to 1. If you are in a thin client (ie: Citrix) were all applications are running on the servers and the desktop environment are windows terminals and/or locked down PC the ration could be 40 to 1.

I once found a tool (I believe on this web site) that was and estimating tools to determine the size of IT staff based on the environment. It was good because my management was looking for industry best practices and this tool gave me the information they needed.

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by TonytheTiger In reply to Agree...but depends on en ...

We have all kinds of people using computers nowadays, from carpenters and auto mechanics to engineeers and attorneys, with greatly varying needs as well as levels of expertise. It can be challenging for a small staff. Today for example, after the long weekend, over 50 people had to have their passwords reset after they forgot them. Of course, that's not typical, but

I know there is a lot of pressure to limit costs, but I like to equate it to the local fire department... How many firemen would you want to show up if your building caught fire, knowing that you have to pay them anyway even if there wasn't a fire?

I'd say plan for a substantial fraction of the worst case, then be glad if it doesn't happen! I mean, they wouldn't balk at paying for fire insurance would they?

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