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Staffing Ratios Anyone?

By Director/IT ·
Does anyone have an industry respected source for desktop support technician staffing ratios. I currently have 2 technicians supporting 550 users (over half are engineers) giving me a 275:1 ratio. Some years back at a Gartner Group conference I thought the ideal ratio was 125:1. My CFO wants some "facts" about staffing ratios before approving my headcount request. I would like to hear what your technician ratios are too. Thanks for any and all help!

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Gartner Group Reports

by BFilmFan In reply to Staffing Ratios Anyone?

The industry standard staffing levels are reported by Gartner every year. Borrow the CFO's credit card as the report runs around $1500 (US) dollars.

They don't compile it for free. When he complains about the price, ask if he works for free.

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Interesting approach, but...

by Director/IT In reply to Gartner Group Reports

Thanks for the feedback and I suspected that I could get it from Gartner. I appreciate the advice about how to communicate this to my CFO but I think you have been consulting too long - LOL. Thanks again!!!

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Don't mind Bfilmfan

by Lost_one In reply to Interesting approach, but ...

He very rarely gives advice that is usable.

His post are more of a ego boost for himself, not so much about helping others.

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Very rearly?

by jbaker In reply to Don't mind Bfilmfan

That's funny...even though it was a typo (I am assuming)

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I haven't seen one lately

by jdmercha In reply to Staffing Ratios Anyone?

But I remember it being around 150:1. But a lot depends on what you do. We support 250 PC's, spread around five buildings with 2 people. But we also perform all admin tasks for three file servers and a web server. Plus we do database development and maintenance, as well as application support and user training. Not to mention planning, budgeting and purchasing.

If you have 2 techs dedicated only to maintaining 550 PC's they should be able to hadle it. Assuming all PC's are less than 4 years old. All PC's run the same OS. All PC's are in the same building. And they are not responsible for configuring new PC's, server administration or application support.

Otherwise you could use a third tech.

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It is a mess!

by Director/IT In reply to I haven't seen one lately

Thanks for the feedback. My desktop environment is a real mess as they are NOT all running the same OS (everything from 98 to XP - even some ME!!!!) All PC's are in the same building but they (techs) are responsible for new configs and application support. Biggest problem is the engineers who are very technical but do not really appreciate governance not follwing processes or procedures - unless they are their processes and procedures. Thank you again for the response.

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by jbaker In reply to It is a mess!

The first thing that I would try to do is to consolidate the evironment. One thing that I have going for me here is that I have only three generations of machines, and the machines in those generations are identical. For that reason, I can move, swap, repair and support the issues more easily.

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Best report so far...

by Uncle Marv In reply to Staffing Ratios Anyone?

The best free report that I have seen so far was developed for law firms and is called "ILTA's IT Staffing Survey" and it can be found on the Internationl Legal Technology Association. This site can be found at

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Staffing ratio rarely work effectively

by ray In reply to Staffing Ratios Anyone?

Good advice from JamesRL. Staffing ratio is not a very effective model in today's complex (not meaning necessarily big)opereations. When someone asks me what their staffing level should be I always say "depends". There are always uniquenesses to an operation that makes it different and changes the mix. JamesRL gave a good indication of what some of those considerations are. The next best thing to a staffing ratio in the Gross Staffing Model. This model can be easly created in a spreadsheet and the process and calculation is as follows:

1. Gather the Necessary Information
 Number of Incidents per year
 Average Handle Time including After Call work time
 Vacation, sick, holiday, breaks, training, projects, admin.

2. Determine Total Work Hours Required (TWHR) Per Year
 [Number of Incidents per year] x [Average Incident Handle Time] = TWHR per year

3. Determine Work Hours Available (WHA)
 [2080 Potential Work Hours (PWH)] - [Vacation, sick, holiday, breaks, training, projects, administrative time] = WHA

4. Determine Actual Work Hours Available (AWHA)
 Determine the Utilization rate you will use for your model.
o A good industry average for an IT service desk is 75%but should not exceed 80% or the group will be faced with issues of agent burnout.
 AWHA = Work Hours Available (WHA) X Utilization Rate (UR)

5. Determine Gross Staffing Level (GSL)
? [TWHR] / [AWHA] = GSL (number of staff required)

The problem here is that this model does not take service levels into account (arrival rate). To improve the accuracy you need to go to an Erlang-C based model. There are a number of those on the market, including ours ( however for smaller numbers I would go with the Gross Staffing Model(GSM). The GSM is flexable as well as it can be used for staffing for various tasks including: Email requests, desk side, etc.

These concepts are covered in the HDI certification training we deliver.

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Who do they believe ?

by bigbigboss In reply to Staffing Ratios Anyone?

You CFO is probably not an knowledgeable IT person. You should figure out which reports the CFO will believe. It is not one report you need. You need a bunch from so called industrial commonly accepted sources, like Gartner Group, preferably independent. If you can show your CFO several of these reports, all showing you need more staff, you've got it.

I managed an area with about 500 desktops. But they are all different kind of people - mechanics, accountants, engineers, graphic artists, supervisors, managers, drivers, tow truck operators.. I used 3 person to do it. And that includes hardware procurement, hardware installation, network installation, software development, help desk. The staffing cost was so high that I figured throwing away 3 year old computers instead of redeploying them saves me money.

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