Why Savvy MSP Salespeople Target “Involuntary IT Managers”

Over the summer, we heard from our customer Jason Danner that he likes to target “involuntary IT managers” (IITMs) — people who get stuck doing a significant amount of IT tasks that aren’t a part of their normal job description.

Author: NinjaRMM’s Andrew Rosenblum
Author: NinjaRMM's Andrew Rosenblum

“They’re in an office without an actual IT manager,” says Danner, who runs Aerorock MSP.  “They’re someone who might be young, or is just good with computers, and gets IT tasks delegated to them.  We often will pitch these involuntary IT managers and get their buy-in for what we do.”

Since most IITMs feel a bit overmatched by their extra duties, and are open to having MSPs take over their duties, we wondered if we could build on Danner’s savvy technique by researching how common the phenomenon is and how much it costs employers.

Who is getting stuck with these IT tasks?

NinjaRMM recently surveyed 500 office workers from across the United States and learned that 47% (235) perform some IT tasks outside of their normal job duties.

47% of Office Workers Do IT Tasks Beyond Normal Job Duties

Of the 235 office works that do extraneous IT tasks, 159 (68%) fit the description of an Involuntary IT Manager (IITM) because they regularly perform at least 2 hours a week of IT tasks that aren’t part of their normal job description.

This means that overall, 32% of office workers are IITMs.

Among workers with extra IT duties, 68% spend at least 2 hours per week

How much time do IITMs spend on IT tasks?

The data collected showed that these Involuntary IT Managers are spending anywhere from 8 to over 80 hours per month on IT related tasks. Based on the distribution of responses, the median IITM in our survey worked nearly 18 hours a month (4.46 hours per week) on unofficial duties.

The median of 4.46 hours a week means that IITMs are spending slightly less time on their duties than in a 2013 survey put out by Microsoft and AIM, which found that IITMs lost 6 hours of productivity per week due to unpredictable IT duties.  After surveying 538 IITMs in small businesses from five different countries, the Microsoft/AIM team estimated that companies lost over $24 billion per year worth of productivity by trying to manage their own IT by dumping it on someone already on staff.

How much do these IITMs cost?

There is a broad range in how much employers are paying their IITMs.  The 159 IITMs in our survey of 500 office workers report salary ranges anywhere from “less than $25,000” to ”more than $150,000.” Based on the distribution of respondents, the median earner in our survey of IITMs makes over $56,000 per year — and that doesn’t include benefits or the “opportunity costs” of taking the employee away from his or her real job for hours each week. In addition to overhead, employee benefits, and opportunity costs, these IITMs are not even truly qualified to do the job of an IT professional.

In addition to the sheer cost, the IITMs find the work challenging, stressful, and something they would like to turn over to others.  59% of IITMs don’t feel fully qualified for the work, and a large majority (56%) find the job at least moderately stressful. 57% also worry that the unofficial IT tasks are taking them away from their real jobs.

Key Findings

So what does this mean for managed service providers? The good news is that 66% of IITMs are open to hiring a third-party IT contractor.  In other words, these are people who want to hear from MSPs to have them take the work off their hands.

We’ve also included additional key insights about the IITM that MSPs can show prospects.

  1. Having an untrained part-time IT manager is bad for the health of office IT infrastructure
  2. IITMs don’t save a company money when compared to hiring a third party IT contractor
  3. Most IITMs are not fully qualified to do corporate IT work
  4. Unofficial IT duties take the employee away from his or her area of expertise, and so are essentially robbing the team of resources.

To see all of the key insights from Ninja’s IITM survey, please download the full report (.pdf).

Andrew Rosenblum is the Community Manager at NinjaRMM; his past work has appeared in Popular Science, the MIT Technology Review, Wired, Neo.Life, and other publications. Read more NinjaRMM blogs here.

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NinjaRMM develops a security-centric remote monitoring and management platform, designed to simplify the complex work day of MSPs and Solution Providers. Guest blogs from the NinjaRMM team provide business, sales and technology guidance to MSPs.