Rees' Blog

Rees' Blog (3)

Friday, 26 May 2017 19:13


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Let’s be frank, on a good day, documentation sucks! But it is the key to saving you large amounts of money via support costs in the long run. Any “mature” IT company or IT worker will have this down, albeit begrudgingly.  As a business owner, I insist on documentation and yes, I struggle with getting it done as well. If I didn’t have a central place for all of network information, passwords, etc. I would go NUTS! Luckily we have a fantastic application for our support and documentation. With just a few clicks I can bring up a client, see all of their network information and any notes and proceed with whatever issue needs resolution. By the way, we can get to that anywhere we have connection to the internet!

Let me relate a couple of stories as to why documentation is so important. I was recently asked to migrate a company to a new service. They have no IT staff and the IT guy left long ago. I showed up ready to take on the world and asked for the login information for the services I was changing.  After a bit of wondering we determined that we didn’t have it. I returned two different occasions only to be met with the same challenges of missing configuration information or passwords. A few hour job turned into 6.

Item number two, a company waits until the last day to renew their SSL certificate…. Nightmare ensues. After struggling with trying to get login information that we needed we were finally able to get what we needed to get the certificate done, at 2:45 AM, we started at 10:30 PM. A little documentation and getting it done before the last day would have helped.

Now the good news is, for these two companies I now have all of the information I need.  For all of our other clients we have all of their documentation on hand, including old passwords, and we can spit those out any time we need to for our clients. Additionally, we create a repository somewhere on THEIR network so they always have it. Documentation is not something that a service provider should hold hostage. If yours does, RUN from them as fast as you can.

I can hear you now… “Rees, it sounds like you are whining and crying a little bit.” Maybe a little…. However, what I can tell you is this, you have to question WHY your IT provider doesn’t have that information at hand and why you don’t have a copy.  As a managed service provider, gathering ALL of your information and going over it with you is our first priority. Oh, and by the way, it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

In the end, proper documentation can mean the difference between making sure your services are up and running quickly, or ending up with a major headache and a large invoice at the end of a job.

Friday, 26 May 2017 19:12

The True Cost of IT

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Do you understand the true cost of IT?


To most companies the “cost of IT” is a dirty phrase. IT costs are often looked at in a poor light. This is almost always the case when companies have traditional break/fix agreements with their IT provider and every time a tech is onsite all the customer hears is the proverbial cash register ringing with every passing minute. That paradigm has shifted by those companies who hire Managed Service companies. In today’s office environment, IT is more necessary than ever. Today’s business is driven by technology, even the traditional cash register has been replaced in most cases by a computer-driven solution.

If you are a CEO, CFO, or owner of a small business, you are watching every nickel that gets spent, especially in this economy. You are constantly looking at the cost of each computer, server, network switch, firewall, software, and support cost. And you should! But the cost of IT goes beyond all of these things. Companies have to take into account efficiency and productivity of their employees, customer satisfaction, and your sales revenue. These are often items that don’t make the equation when we think about the cost of IT. The true cost of IT comes into play when your network goes down. This is when the real money starts to add up. This cost is in the form of lost productivity, and revenue. To the small business of ten people, having one person down is a 10% loss in productivity, five people down and you are running at half productivity. And that doesn’t even account for the time your employees waste on Facebook….

So let’s take a look at some hard numbers to paint a vivid picture about the true cost of IT. If you are a ten person company with a forty hour work week, an annual sales revenue of $2,000,000.00 and have two people who are hard down for three hours, you just lost $577.00 in revenue. Then you have to add the money you lost on payroll, etc. A total outage for three hours would cost you $2,885.00 in lost revenue, and that’s no scare tactic, just simple math. In most cases, companies don’t even have to have a hard down event to have an impact on your revenue. All it takes is your network not running at its optimum, which is the case for most companies, to have a major impact on your revenue ( Here’s the formula for you to figure your costs for yourself: Lost Revenue = (GR/TH) X I X H. GR= Gross Yearly Revenue, TH= Total yearly business hours, I = Percentage of impact, H= Hours of the outage.) Now, on top of that, add your payment to your IT company/person. If we use the cost of IT from the S.F. Bay Area average that’s an addition of $125.00\hr in support costs. In our many years’ experience, we have found that the typical ten person office with one server will have an average break/fix bill of $2,300.00 monthly barring any major issues that require additional work. That would give you an average yearly IT cost of $27,600.00. When asking our clients during our initial interview, they report an average of five service interruptions a year lasting three hours. That’s an addition of $1,875.00 per year, putting their IT payments at $29,475.00 yearly. So let’s put these numbers together. If you take our average of five outages for three hours at $2885.00 in lost revenue, that’s a loss of $14,425.00. When we add the payments to the IT Company we get a total of $43,900.00 as your total cost of IT. Conversely, the average Managed Service bill for the same customer is $1,697.50 a month, or $20,370.00 a year, flat. Because of the nature of Managed Services, down time is either eliminated or greatly reduced to provider based outages such as ATT or other vendors. On average our customers see a total of 4.5 hours of downtime a YEAR. If we take our Managed Service cost and add it to the lost revenue, we come up with a total cost for IT of $24,696.93. That’s a savings of 44% yearly.


In the traditional break/fix agreement both the customer and the provider are on the losing side. The customer because they end up getting charged by the minute for their service, and the IT provider has no real incentive to make sure your network is running optimum because that’s how they make their money. And the provider loses because they are looked at negatively as a money pit, sometimes deservedly so.

Once companies and service providers mature in how they view IT services and the value that GOOD IT brings, moving away from the traditional break/fix model makes sense, and the move to Managed Services is elementary. A seasoned Managed Service Provider will provide a few packages for their clients, the most valued one being the “Unlimited” or “Platinum” package. While some providers still put boundaries around their Unlimited package, others (like IS Works) offer a true unlimited package for one flat rate. The benefit of Managed Services is seen by both the customer and provider. It’s in the provider’s best interest to keep the customers network running smoothly, with minimal downtime. The customer receives the benefit of the provider working hard to prevent service outages and has plans in place to restore service quickly in the event that an outage cannot be prevented.


Once you’ve plugged in your numbers and see the TRUE cost of your IT, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide a Network Health audit for all of your computers and servers; a $497.00 value, at no cost to you. Call now (408)369-4323

Friday, 26 May 2017 18:33

About Rees


Rees Roberts
President and CEO
Corporate West Computer Systems, Inc.


Rees Roberts is an enthusiastic, high-energy technology buff.  There is little he enjoys more than working with machines and discovering exactly what he can make them do, and he has been doing that since 1998.

As President and CEO of CorpWest, Rees works closely with his partner in crime, V.P. Chris Harris, in steering the Company and clients to success.  As President of CorpWest Rees is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company, but his main focus is on customer relations, sales and marketing. As a part of the system design team for the company, Rees helps research, develop, oversee and implement client solutions alongside the highly-trained team at CorpWest. Rees currently holds various certifications from manufacturers such as Cisco, Veritas and Symantec.

Prior to joining CorpWest, Rees spent thirteen years running IS Works, Inc. as President. As President of IS Works, Rees led many successful projects for companies such as The Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Ultratech, Serus Corporation, Alacritech, and many more. While at IS Works, his professional insight and experience was valued by many industry players like Cisco, Microsoft, Trend Micro, and Symantec. When presented with the opportunity to join CorpWest, it was a natural progression in his career.

Prior to working for IS Works, Rees consulted for a variety of corporations, such as Travelocity Business, The Gap, Franklin Templeton Investments, Exodus Communications, ArthroCare, and ILogistix.  His responsibilities ranged from domain administration to enterprise-wide security and rollouts of desktop platforms.

Before his career as an IT consultant, Rees spent several years as a tour manager and sound engineer for international jazz superstars and popular rock bands such as Stanley Jordan, Smashmouth and Papa Roach to name a few.  Although this was a very exciting career, Rees’ interest in technology has brought him where he is today.  Being completely self taught in technology, Rees’ excellence in his field is driven by his desire to make things work.  Due to his tenacity, whether or not he knows the solution readily, Rees will find a way to make it happen.


Rees lives in the Sacramento area with his amazing wife and three son’s . He is active in serving the community around him through organizations like, and enjoys activities such as Playing Guitar, Oakland Raiders, reading, BBQ and, of course, tinkering.