As an IT business owner that has spent the last 14 months searching, trying and failing to hire qualified technicians, I know the pain of building a fully staffed small IT firm first hand. Even if you’ve been successful at hiring a quality crop of work-a-day IT staff there are still gaps. You fall into one of those gaps when a SQL or Exchange server goes sideways, group policy doesn’t behave the way you expected, the server migration project gets stuck or DFS just isn’t syncing like it should. No one likes to admit that they have gaps in their ability to cover every possible issue that their client might come up with, but we’ve all got them.
To help full those gaps, Third Tier will let you open a ticket on demand and work with which ever one of our staff picks up the ticket. A little over 400 IT firms open such tickets with us last year. But now we’re also offering what is in essence micro-staffing. Hire a super highly qualified staff member and only work them 10 hours a quarter or 10 hours a month. That’s micro-staffing. We’re calling it My Third Tier.
Here’s what Channelnomics has to say about what Third Tier is offering:
The channel and the entire IT industry are in a talent drought. Vendors and solution providers alike can’t find the right people to perform the tasks they need at the right time. Even when they find the “right guy” for the job, they usually can’t afford to place him or her in a full-time position. The shortage has vendors and solution providers competing for talent – the vendors, with their deep pockets, usually win.
Perhaps there isn’t a tech talent shortage. Perhaps it’s just a utilization and capacity issue no different than a poor performing data center before being consolidated through virtualization. Perhaps infrastructure virtualization could provide the model for resolving the talent plague affecting the channel.
What got me thinking about this was an email I got from Amy Babinchak, a principle of Third Tier, a solution provider who now offers IT outsourcing support to other solution providers. Her firm is changing its service model, fractionalizing the services provided to clients to make them more digestible, affordable and available.
The Third Tier packaging gives solution providers two options: monthly and quarterly support – each $1,400. In each package, solution providers receive up to 10 hours of on-demand support services per time period. The quarterly plan charges $175 per hour for any additional time required; the monthly plan’s hourly charge is $140.
“We decided to add the fractional hiring option because our customers asked for it. In IT, speed to resolution makes money, and the more two IT people work together the faster they can resolve a problem. Relationships are important too. The more you work together, the better you work together. And where else can you hire a $150,000 a year guy in an increment as small as 10 hours a quarter? We’re giving IT firms an opportunity to add expertise to their firms that they otherwise couldn’t afford,” Babinchak told Channelnomics.