[SATLUG] OT: Ratio of IT Staff to Employees

Ernest De Leon edeleonjr at gmail.com
Sun Jan 13 02:45:28 CST 2008

I have worked in shops where the ratio was 50:1 and shops where the ratio
was 750:1.  It all depends on the size and needs of your business.  I can
tell you that any business with only 1 full time IT person better be 50 or
less people.  How many servers are you supporting?  How many operating
systems?  How many desktops?  Is your concern that you need more desktop
support or more back end server admins?  Do you have a lot of backups?  All
of these things will contribute to your cause.  A lot of the consulting I do
in the bay area deals with companies that are short on IT staff.  Sometimes
the problem stems from the fact that the overall IT budget is too small, but
supplemental budgets (outside contractor pay or legal counsel for example)
often come out of a different 'pool' of money.  Sometimes, this the only
flexibility and IT manager has, and they hire consultants.  Being that you
are a multi-site business, I would say that you should at least have 2-3
full time staff to allow for travel to remote sites.  Furthermore, you
should have dedicated front end support for the desktops and dedicated back
end support for the servers.  It doesn't hurt to have consultants handle all
of the new projects (that's mainly what I do) so long as the knowledge
transfer thorough and written into the contract.  This frees up admins to
work on day to day functions while the consultants handle the rest.  Usually
IT managers hire consultants that are well versed in the areas that the new
projects will be in.  This allows the project to be completed faster and
takes up less internal man hours.  To give you a fair assessment of how many
staff your organization should have, I would need to know the answers to the
above questions.  Some additional answers that would be helpful are:  are
you using active directory?  are you supporting virtualization (e.g.
VMWare)?  What additional technologies are you using (i.e. SAN/NAS, Switched
Fibre, iSCSI,)?  What management software do you have in place (i.e. SCOM,
Foglight)?  Are you supporting a large infrastructure of any kind (be it web
server farm, DB farm, etc.)?  Do you actively support or interact with
developers?  What type of maintenance agreements do you have in place on
your hardware, or are you responsible for replacing parts, etc.?  Each and
every one of these above items takes up time and influences your overall
productivity.  I have done countless IT personnel assessments over the years
and am quite convincing when I present the results to IT managers or CIOs.
The bottom line is that often IT is seen as a sunk cost and not a driver of
innovation.  The key is to bridge management's understanding of the role IT
plays now and what it will play in the future.  IT is supposed to increase
productivity and efficiency, not the reverse.  Hindering your IT department
in any way (to include under-staffing) is undermining the very reason you
have IT to begin with.

There is a post on my blog at edeleonjr.blogspot.com dealing with Business
Intersecting or Merging with IT.  It deals with the part where IT management
makes the case for value in IT.  It may help you with what you are trying to
do.  If all else fails, contact me off list and we can arrange a discussion
for the next time I am in SA.


On Jan 13, 2008 12:24 AM, Eric Haugen <erichaugen at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am trying to convince my boss that he needs to hire possibly 2-3 new IT
> staff members since the current situation is that I am the only full time
> IT
> person on the payroll.  We have contracted with an outside IT firm  for a
> guy to work on some large projects and act as the department coordinator.
> Current employee to IT ratio would make that about 140:1  This would not
> be
> so bad if we were all in 1 building but we have 9 building on the main
> campus and 7 remote locations.
> That being said what is the ratios in you your businesses?
> Are there any articles I can use as ammo for my argument to hire some more
> help?
> So far I have come up with these
> http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=784840
> http://news.zdnet.com/2422-13569_22-155252.html
> http://news.zdnet.com/html/z/wb/6099383.html
> Thanks for your help,
> Eric Haugen
> --
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