cincinnati helpdesk options
Helpdesk Lite
December 14, 2021
allpro gold
Gold Monitoring Program
December 14, 2021

2022 Program Changes

market rates

This was supposed to be the pandemic recovery year! Business was supposed to get back to normal, things were supposed to be “like they were”. Things have been anything but normal. I don’t even know what normal is any more.

In any event, we are looking forward to next year with you and all the exciting things yet to come.

This will be a lengthy post so feel free to use the links to jump around to the sections that affect you.

Software Price Increases

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. Microsoft announced they will be increasing prices next year by 15-20%. They say they haven’t increased prices in years but have added more and more features. Not sure about the first part, but they have certainly added more features. Teams is free along with One drive.

Since Microsoft is one of the biggest software companies, other companies quickly followed suit, albeit with less fanfare. Overall, we are being notified of price increases of 10-15%.

An item increasing from $5 – $6 doesn’t look like much, but that is a 20% increase. If you purchase 100 of said product, that is another $100 a month. Multiply that by 3-4 products, and that is another $400 a month in additional costs.

So, that is where we are. Most software products are going up a buck per license. Depending on the size of your organization, that buck adds up quickly.

The real sticker shock is bundled products. Our gold monitoring plan is comprised of several different products. Altogether, this will double the cost of the gold package. As gold is one of our most popular packages, this affects a large chunk of clients.

As we have been speaking with clients about the increase, the #1 question has been, “What should we do?”. My suggestion is to upgrade to helpdesk light. Instead of paying double for gold, spend a little more and add support coverage for your team along with the 24/7 monitoring, patch management, managed updates, and antivirus.

A second option is to drop gold and purchase a block of support hours. Instead of paying monthly for monitoring and antivirus, spend that money on support instead. No one solution fits every business so please reach out if you’d like to discuss a custom solution.

The cost for Share Sync is increasing. This affects fewer clients as almost everyone has migrated to One Drive where 1TB of cloud storage is included (free) with their office subscription. Besides being free, One Drive is better for file sync and document collaboration. If you are still using Share Sync and would like to migrate to One Drive, let us know.

The cost for Pass Portal is increasing. Almost all clients have migrated from Pass Portal to Last Pass over the past year so this only affects a few. If you are still using Pass Portal and would like to migrate to Last Pass let us know.

Our website care plans are increasing. Website care plans are heavy on bundled products, so this increase is more than a few bucks.

Website Hosting Increases

CPanel is raising their licenses fees <again>. They have raised fees every year for the past two years. As a result, all hosting plans increase by $5.

Alarm and Low Voltage Changes

Very small ($2.50) increases to monthly fire and alarm monitoring. Most clients are in a one or two-year contract and are unaffected by this change.

The labor rate for low voltage will increase by %11, along with support increases.

IT Support increases

Everything costs more! People, benefits, utilities, supplies, services, you name it. Even the water delivery people sent me a price increase notification. The snacks we buy for the breakroom have gone up…

Our support costs are increasing to keep up with staffing and provide the excellent support you rely on. The base rate for IT support is not changing. An increase isn’t necessary as almost nobody pays the base rate even if we changed it. 85% of our regular clients are on a support plan, including a discount on the base support rate.

The increase is on our helpdesk plans. Different clients pay different amounts depending on their size, location(s), and environment, so we can’t just say “XYZ” percent, but overall increases will be between 6-12%.

Newer clients (last few years) will be on the 6% side, as we’ve adjusted pricing proposals over the years, while older clients whose helpdesk costs have been the same for years will be closer to 12%.

Costs that are going down!

The cost of VOIP taxes & fees is going down a bit. Increased billing automation along with tax changes have resulted in smaller bills for voice services.

While we are on the topic of voice services, you’ll notice VOIP, Elevate, Online Meeting, and Share Sync charges are missing from your Jan bills. Due to some legal changes, we can no longer “bill ahead” for the taxes associated with these services. We must bill after the billing period ends to be compliant tax-wise. With this change, you will receive your Jan voice bill in Feb.

The upside is slightly less cost for voice services. The downside, two AllPro bills each month. Interestingly, most clients with VOIP are on autopay which means no more work on their end. If you are still writing checks each month, use our cutting-edge client portal to make your life easier.

Other 2022 changes

You’ll notice invoices look different. We’ve switched to a more automated billing system. We have been using the same manual billing system for 15 years! We have finally embraced change. Maybe embrace isn’t the best word, but we’ve upgraded. This upgrade also includes automatic overdue invoice reminders.

If you are on autopay, invoices will be paid automatically as usual. No need to respond to every invoice and say “We are on Autopay”.

We’ve prefixed the name of many products to Cloud – Something. As more and more software becomes “Cloud Delivered” vendors are updating their product names. We’re jumping on the bandwagon to minimize product confusion amongst staff and clients.

Per-user support model

We are switching from a per device to a per-user support model (PUM). There will be no more bills that list the costs per server and cost per computer, it will simply be a cost per employee who is covered by support.

When the pandemic first hit and many switched to working from home, many clients saw a 75% monthly cost increase as we began supporting more and more devices, but not necessarily more users. Needless to say, this did not make anyone happy. As a compromise, we allowed users to have 2 devices and reduced the support cost of the second device.

Turns out this works better for everyone! We’d like to make this a permeant change. Here is an example;

A client has 2 servers and 13 computers. Let’s say they currently pay (150×2) + (65×13) for a total of $1145. Since they only have 10 people, they would pay 125×10 for a total of $1250 on the PUM.

But wait! They are paying more! Yes and No. On the PUM, all 10 employees could have desktops and laptops and their bill would stay the same. On the per-device model, their bill would increase by $650 if everyone had a laptop (20 total devices).

But wait! Not everyone will get laptops and work at home. We assumed people would (eventually) go back to the office and never WFH (work from home) again. That ship has sailed. Almost every business now allows employees to WFH at least a few days a week. Based on recent conversations with business owners, this will be a permanent change.

As more and more employees work under the hybrid WFH model, the number of computers a business owns will continue to increase. We quickly learned that employees’ home computers were not up to the WFH task. Business owners had to buy laptops for most WFH staff.

A year later, businesses are still maintaining more computers than ever. Under the PUM, costs for supporting more computers will rise more slowly or outright decrease.

But wait, there’s more!

The upgrade includes more than just free support for WFH computers. We are now providing critical support features for your entire organization. Here are some things that you may currently pay for that will now be included in the PUM;

  • Every machine and user receives our basic security plan that includes spam filtering and Gen 3 AI antivirus.
  • Every organization now gets dark web monitoring for all employees.
  • Every workstation gets unlimited document backups.
  • Every server gets full local image backups.

Why? Because it is absolutely necessary!

2021 was the year of the hacker. Hacking and data breaches are in the news every week. There is one of the biggest compromises Java has ever seen going on this very week, Surprisingly, in 2021, most organizations wanted to do nothing more to protect themselves.

We can no longer allow managed clients to refuse basic security features like the ones above. 10 years ago we forced every client to get Antivirus. This is just like that…

PUM FAQS

Q) None of our team will ever work from home, can we stay on the per-device plan? A) No. Your support cost will likely only increase on the PUM by the same 6-12% in keeping with our general support plan increases for 2022.

Q) Will the PUM cover employees’ personal machines? A) No. Personal machines have too many issues to qualify for an unlimited support plan. We will continue to support personal equipment under the non-covered equipment provision of your service plan.

Q) When will this go into effect? A) Q2 of 2022.

Q) I did the math. This “change” will increase my bill by 10%. That is to be expected, however, check your math. Remember the part about the additional included features of PUM? Remember to calculate the cost of the security plan, backups, spam filtering, etc. as well.

We are combining our 2022 support plan increase with the switch to Per user billing. You will start to see most of these software and support increases on your Feb bills. The Microsoft increases are scheduled around Feb – March. You’ll see those increase when they happen.

Thank You!

I know it is cliché, but without you, there would be no us. Your continued trust in me and my team is what keeps us going. We are here to serve.

Price changes are never welcome. I believe these changes will keep your organization more secure and ensure we can continue to provide the level of support you’ve always known. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions.