The $15,000 in "cumulative savings" I referred to will probably cost more in the long term. In the router case, the issue did cost them more in the end. I had to bill them for an unscheduled emergency call, troubleshoot what was going wrong, then I had to take out the $50 router and walk around and reboot every terminal. In this instance, they did save the $250 initially quoted ($200 if you count the $50 they gave the bartender's nephew) but ended up paying $400 and the money spent prior was also wasted (because the hardware is now just collecting dust on a shelf).
This is what the customer thinks (almost uniformly):
Every time I have to call this guy, it costs me $150, if I can do it myself, it costs me $0 (or $25-50 for cousin IT to do it).
For small-midsize organizations, you're dealing with perhaps a couple or so contractors charging you $50k or more for IT services, still cheaper than hiring a dedicated IT. So one of the HR people "knows about computers" and becomes the "IT guy", they don't have to "pay" the contractors anymore for small stuff because "that guy from HR" knows about computers, right? That "IT guy" can probably "save" the organization $15k over a year, which he obviously makes very clear to his superiors which is technically true, they don't have to call the contractor nearly as often because "that guy from HR" knows about computers.
That is, until things go wrong. Then suddenly, the $15,000 savings last year becomes a mandatory $50,000 PCI or HIPAA (or whatever your regulation is) audit or a huge fine from Microsoft or Adobe. The issues still have to be fixed because the number of 'fixes' accumulates and you're dealing with an extra 100 systems that have never been updated, no patch management etc. That could easily cost $15,000 if not more depending on licensing costs.