Nov 10 2010

Planning for the Future

Small and midsize businesses face many challenges in today’s economic climate. Deciding whether to wait out the tough times and invest in resources when the climate is sunnier or to invest now to save money down the road is the business leader’s “chicken or the egg” dilemma.

The wild card when making this decision can be technology. At Answers.com, a Q&A website, server performance is a must. Director of Operations Dan Marriott recommends solid-state drives in the data center for businesses with large input/output requirements that handle a lot of traffic at their database tier and are hitting performance bottlenecks.

“On paper, it may look expensive, but when you consider we replaced three servers with one card, we gained immediate ROI,” Marriott says.

Executives at Proximo Spirits, an alcohol distributor, were looking for ways to streamline IT practices and make operations more efficient. So they turned to hosting services for the company’s server and storage needs.

As Proximo’s staff increases, so, too, does its need for more data center resources. Using a hosting service, rather than expanding its data center, has been more affordable and simplifies management, says Christian Ayala, the company’s IT manager.

For more examples of how businesses are seeing ROI using technology, read “Game Changers.”

Frighteningly Good Results

A ticket or merchandise theft can be a source of pure terror for any small business.

When it happened to Kersey Valley, a North Carolina–based outdoor entertainment facility with a haunted farm, company leaders invested in a point-of-sale (POS) system to protect the integrity of their ticketing process.

About five years ago, a delivery person stole $33,000 worth of tickets to Kersey Valley’s Spookywoods attraction, which scalpers then resold in the parking lot. “That season, I said, ‘I don’t care what it costs. We’re going to get some way to validate these tickets and stop this fraud,’” recalls owner Tony Wohlgemuth.

The POS has done that and then some, Wohlgemuth says. Today, the POS supports not only the ticketing operation for Kersey Valley, but also the storefronts and snack shacks that serve the farm’s many attractions.

To see Kersey Valley’s POS in action, check out our video at BizTechMagazine.com/video/KerseyValleyPOS. For more about the company’s IT operations, read “Fright Night.”

Ryan Petersen

Matthew Gilson