Measuring the effectiveness of your IT provider is essential for ensuring that your registered investment advisory (RIA) or financial advisory firm is getting the most out of your partnership. By tracking key IT benchmarks, you can assess your provider’s performance and identify areas for improvement. You can also use this information as a basis for comparison when considering other potential providers.
Here are some common IT benchmarks that you can use:
Ticket response and resolution times
These are perhaps the most important factors to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of your IT provider. How quickly do they respond to your requests for support or assistance? Are they able to resolve issues in a timely manner?
A good IT provider should have a well-defined process for handling and prioritizing tickets, as well as a system in place to track response and resolution times.
The average ticket response time for common IT issues is around 1–2 hours, while critical or urgent issues should ideally be responded to within 15–30 minutes. As for resolution times, they can vary depending on the complexity of the issue, but a good benchmark is to have most issues resolved within 24–48 hours. Any delays or prolonged response and resolution times could indicate a lack of efficiency or resources on the part of your IT provider.
As an example, at RIA WorkSpace, we classify all tickets based on severity and each severity has its own target response rate.
- Emergency response service tickets are logged within 5 minutes with a 30-minute response time. These are for critical problems where your ability to conduct business has stopped (e.g., a server, a network, or an application is down).
- Fast response service tickets are logged within 5 minutes with a 30-minute response time. These are for situations where an individual user is unable to conduct business (e.g., the user cannot log into their computer or access their email).
- Quick response service tickets are logged within 30 minutes with a 1-hour response time. These are for urgent problems where service is seriously degraded but you can continue to operate for a short time (e.g., very slow network performance or an app function is down).
- Normal response service tickets are logged within 1 hour and our response time is within one business day. These are for situations where an employee can still work but is not as productive (e.g., a user has a slow computer or cannot print to multiple printers).
Number of tickets per month
In addition to response and resolution times, the number of tickets your IT provider handles each month is also a good benchmark to measure their effectiveness. A high number of tickets could suggest ongoing issues or recurring problems that are not being properly addressed by your provider.
The ideal number of tickets per month can vary depending on the size and complexity of your business. For small RIA or financial advisory firms with fewer than 10 employees, an average of 10–15 tickets per month is considered normal. However, for larger firms with more extensive IT needs, this number can be significantly higher.
Onboarding time for new employees
The speed and efficiency of your IT provider in onboarding new employees is another important benchmark to consider. A good IT partner should have a streamlined process in place for adding new users, setting up devices and software, and providing training or support as needed. Delays or complications in this process can disrupt productivity.
The benchmark for onboarding time varies depending on the complexity of your firm and the number of employees being onboarded, but a good timeframe to aim for is 1–2 days. This allows new employees to quickly get up to speed with your firm’s tech stack and start contributing to the company.
Ideally, onboarding should not result in any downtime for your existing employees or business operations. However, if there are any issues or delays, your IT provider should have a contingency plan in place to minimize disruptions and ensure a smooth transition for new hires.
Uptime and availability
Finally, the uptime and availability of your IT systems are crucial benchmarks that can directly impact your business operations. Downtime or system failures can result in lost productivity, data loss, and potential security risks. A good IT provider should have systems and processes that ensure high levels of uptime, as well as a backup and disaster recovery plan in case of any unexpected events.
The industry standard for uptime is 99.9%, meaning your IT systems are expected to be available 99.9% of the time. This translates to roughly 40 minutes of downtime per month, which should ideally only occur during scheduled maintenance or upgrades. If you experience more frequent or prolonged periods of downtime, it may be time to reassess your IT provider.
In addition to the core benchmarks mentioned above, assessing your IT provider’s customer satisfaction and experience working with RIAs are valuable aspects to consider.
Some IT companies may provide data from Smileback reports to indicate how happy their current customers are. Smileback reports gather feedback and ratings from clients, offering a real-world assessment of the IT provider’s performance and the satisfaction levels of their clients. Positive Smileback reports can be a strong indicator of a reliable and customer-focused IT provider.
History of meeting industry-specific needs
While not a benchmark in the traditional sense, the IT provider’s experience in meeting industry-specific needs is an important consideration. Ideally, clients should partner with an IT provider that has five or more current or past clients within the RIA sector. This demonstrates a track record of understanding the unique challenges and technology requirements of RIAs, ensuring that the IT provider can offer tailored solutions that align with industry standards and compliance regulations.
In addition to these benchmarks and other considerations, it is also important to regularly review and communicate with your IT provider about their performance and any areas that may need improvement. By setting clear expectations and using the above to measure their effectiveness, you can ensure that your IT provider is delivering the best possible support and services for your RIA or financial advisory firm.
If you feel that your current IT provider is not meeting your needs, you can always explore other options and try to find the best fit for your firm. We at RIA WorkSpace are dedicated to providing top-notch IT support and solutions tailored specifically for RIA firms, so feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. Let’s work together to ensure your technology needs are being met effectively and efficiently.