Mar 03 2020

How Small Businesses Can Get the IT Support They Need

With an IT skills gap and limited resources, getting support is crucial for small businesses.

Of all the challenges facing small businesses, staffing is among the most difficult. Finding someone with the right skill set who fits into a company culture while sharing in an organization’s mission can be a tough needle to thread for any open position, but it is particularly challenging for IT departments. 

The skills gap isn’t a myth. A survey from CareerBuilder found that 60 percent of U.S. employers have job openings that stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer, a problem HR managers say costs an average of $800,000 annually. The Centre for Economics and Business Research calculated that the skills gap costs American businesses $160 billion every year.

The problem can be compounded for small businesses, as they tend to have limited resources to lure qualified candidates to fill tech positions. To bridge that gap, organizations need to be able to access the support they need at a cost they can afford, even if they don’t have the internal staff to do it.

Roadblocks to Solving IT Staffing Problems

To ease these burdens, many small businesses have turned to managed services. Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service and Disaster Recovery as a Service are all models that have helped organizations get the latest out of IT without needing to support full-time staff. This IT outsourcing can put tools like data analytics, automation and enhanced security at their fingertips.

While these services can open doors, they don't always cover all of the bases. These solutions are cloud-powered, and while the vast majority of businesses are using the cloud for at least one application, many are using it in combination with legacy infrastructure to handle operations. Managed services can take care of a business’s cloud experience, but that leaves a potentially big hole for support for any processes that lie outside that environment.

Even organizations that do have help face a tough IT landscape, as the implementation, maintenance and upgrading of these systems can be quite time-consuming. Every minute a small IT team has to spend waiting for support from a service provider is time that’s not available for keeping daily operations running smoothly or tackling long-term plans to increase efficiency. 

MORE FROM BIZTECH: A guide to finding the right managed IT services partner.

Small Businesses Can Get System Support Right Now

Having someone else handle the support for your organization’s systems can lighten the load. A trusted third party can act on behalf of the business to streamline the relationship with the manufacturer, taking care of the experience end to end. A program like CDW Technology Support (CTS) can go a long way to freeing up an organization’s resources. 

The program, in partnership with Cisco, allows CDW to take full control of the customer experience. Instead of customers reaching out to Cisco directly for assistance, CDW does it on their behalf. Backed by experts with decades of experience, CDW is equipped to handle problems with level one, two and three technical support right away, only escalating to Cisco when it’s absolutely necessary. If it does get to that point, CTS customers receive priority treatment, getting their issues resolved faster. This doesn’t just apply to service — if hardware needs to be repaired or replaced, CDW will send their own engineers onsite to check out the problem.

Organizations that use Cisco have a lot to gain with CTS. The phone line is staffed 24/7 for customer support, providing help for issues big and small. Because CDW is a fully backed Cisco SMARTnet support partner, CTS customers won’t lose access to Cisco. Anything that’s part of a SMARTnet contract will also be provided by CTS, including software changes or other upgrades.

The simplicity of having this access in one invoice is great for small businesses trying to juggle various contracts and terms of service. Being able to outsource IT support for the infrastructure organizations already have in place can ease the burden on small businesses enough to let them focus on what’s important — growth.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #SmallBizIT hashtag.

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