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How To Justify A WAM Subscription?

How to Justify a WAM Subscription

As an IT professional, your employer pays for your knowledge and expertise so it’s important to spend your time wisely.

While keeping up with WSUS maintenance is crucial, it can eat up a lot of your time. For many companies, a subscription to WAM is actually the most cost-effective method to automate WSUS maintenance.

Let’s take a look at the numbers from the eyes of an employer.

What Is Your Time Worth?

First, you need to find out how much you cost your employer per hour. If you get paid by the hour, you already have your answer.

If you are salaried, to find out how much your time is worth per hour, take your yearly salary and divide it by 1950 (the magic number in North America and possibly other parts of the world). This will give you your hourly rate, taking into account weekends, paid days off (any amount), vacation time (any amount), and statutory holidays (any amount).

Here are some examples of yearly salaries and their hourly equivalents.

$30,000/Year ÷ 1950 = $15.38/Hour
$40,000/Year ÷ 1950 = $20.51/Hour
$50,000/Year ÷ 1950 = $25.64/Hour
$60,000/Year ÷ 1950 = $30.77/Hour
$70,000/Year ÷ 1950 = $35.90/Hour

Now that we have some example figures, let’s see how this applies.

Are You Doing WSUS Maintenance Now?

If you are doing some maintenance on WSUS presently, GOOD FOR YOU! (I mean it!) This means that you already have spent some time:

  • investigating what should be done,
  • learning how to get it done,
  • and running it routinely (I hope).

However, you probably could be doing more:

  • Are your maintenance procedures manual?
  • Are they automated?
  • Do they encompass all of the maintenance?

There must be a reason why you’re looking into WAM. How much time do you think it would take you to find, learn, and implement the features you’re looking for?

If you’re not doing WSUS Maintenance, how much time do you think it would take you to learn, and implement the maintenance that Microsoft recommends (a 15+ page document when printed).

Then ask yourself how much time will you spend automating it. Also, think about how much time will be spent TROUBLESHOOTING future issues with WSUS, computer updates, and windows update errors (because only doing the bare minimum maintenance doesn’t remove all of the issues).

How Many Hours And At What Cost?

Now that you have your hourly value, take that and multiply it by the amount of hours you’ve guesstimated you’ll spend on WSUS. If you have surpassed $60USD, you’ve already paid for a year’s subscription of WSUS Automated Maintenance.©

Let’s see some examples.

Business Case 1

Let’s assume you make $30,000 a year, which works out to $15.38 per hour, and it’s going to take you 6 hours to read and get the maintenance done and automated. Well, your time cost would be $92.28 to the company, already more than a license of WAM for a year.

However, 6 months from now, WSUS starts giving out errors, client computers are giving out errors, and now you need to spend another 3-5 hours troubleshooting these errors, researching online, trying different solutions in hopes to solve your problem. You’ve just cost the company another $46.14-$76.90 for a total cost of $138.42-$169.18 – ALMOST a 3 year subscription to WAM for a single server, and this is ONLY YEAR 1.

Business Case 2

You’re a seasoned IT Pro with 5 years experience, and you’re making $60,000 per year. This means that you make $30.77 per hour. You already know WSUS and have worked with it in the past, and you’re proficient at troubleshooting, and even understanding the ins-and-outs of IIS.

You estimate you can get it all done in 2 hours TOPS. You’ve already paid for a year’s subscription of WAM, but just barely. It equates to about equal right now. In 10 months, WSUS has some issues. You decide after troubleshooting it for 30 minutes, that it’s better to reinstall WSUS and start fresh, than to try to troubleshoot it further.

Because you’re a seasoned IT Pro, you can get WSUS reinstalled and reconfigured in about an hour. Since you already have the maintenance automated, all of that is still done, but there are certain things you now have to remember to do to WSUS because you just reinstalled it. It takes you 15 minutes to do that because you had to find and refer to documentation of what to do, and re-visit how to do it. But hey, you’re done, and up and running again.

Your total cost of ownership is 3.75 hours of invested time, costing the company $115.39 in your salary. Not only is this just shy of a 2 year subscription with WAM, even though this is ONLY within your first year, but wouldn’t your time be better served somewhere else on a different project?

IT has a never-ending project and support list and you just spent the equivalent of 1/2 a day in total hours working on WSUS. Could you not have used that 1/2 day better?

Business Case 3

You are tasked with learning WSUS. The business is expecting you to spend time learning how to configure, manage, and maintain WSUS. You’re an intermediate IT Pro and are making $45,000 per year. This means your hourly wage is $23.08.

You’ve spent 10-15 hours reading up on WSUS (hopefully from our site primarily), asking questions on forums like Spiceworks and TechNet, and of course Googling or searching using another search engine. You think you got it all worked out for the configuration and managing within your environment and you’re proud of your work. The company is paying you to learn about this. This is great!

A year later, you’ve got 40 hours invested in WSUS, including the maintenance that you’ve automated. The company has paid you a total of $923.20 over the course of that year for working on WSUS and you have it setup nicely, you know the ins-and-outs of the troubleshooting why computers are getting errors, but then you get a job offer with a different company for more money. You’ve now increased your salary by $10,000 and are making $55,000 at your new company.

2 things:

  1. Your old company lost the knowledge you gained by you leaving the company; this happens and is expected. Their new IT person now has to spend time troubleshooting WSUS and decides to scrap it and reinstall because it’s easier. Instead of reinstalling on the same VM, they spins up a new VM, installs WSUS from scratch, and moves on with their life; until trouble hits. They didn’t know that WSUS maintenance had to happen, they didn’t know WHAT maintenance had to happen, when, and why. Now they are spending time re-doing everything you just did, at the cost of more time, and money to the company. If they had a subscription to WAM, they would be able to install the software and quickly get back to where they were in the beginning, all backed by knowledgeable support.
  2. Your new company pays you more, has more locations, and has 5 WSUS servers with 1 upstream and 4 replica downstream systems. You have the experience behind you so you set out to setup the proper maintenance and spend 5 hours to get all 5 WSUS servers automated. You just cost the company $141.05 in your salary. For an extra $40, you could have licensed WAM for a year for all 5 servers, spent about 5 minutes installing and configuring WAM, and 2 more minutes deploying it to the other 4 sites using a deployment tool like PDQ Deploy or ConfigMgr. Now the maintenance is setup and is backed by knowledgeable support in case in the future, you leave the company.

In Conclusion

Whether you are an IT pro or just starting out, it’s almost ALWAYS more cost-effective for an employer to pay the yearly WAM subscription to automate WSUS maintenance and leave you free to work on more important tasks.

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