In recent years, the average company in the United States has been able to significantly upgrade the quality of their in-house IT personnel. Coincidentally, since the economic crises of 2008, increased productivity demands see IT departments being asked to do more with less than ever before. However, despite these parallel improvements, there comes a point where personnel and budgetary restrictions prevent IT departments from taking on more responsibility for fear of endangering the company’s IT infrastructure. What is a CIO supposed to do? Are there areas where cost-effective supplemental skill positions can be handled differently?
Let’s use a company’s telephone solution as an example. What are the most effective angles to take to get the best cost/benefit?
Get an Experienced Professional Service Provider
Depending on how fast your company is growing, you might not need full blown, full-time internal support for your phone system. Unless there is constant change with personnel or the facilities, it might be more economical to use an MSP (managed service provider) with experience installing systems for a companies similar to yours. Some MSPs or VARs offer additional support options post-install that can tweak the system as needed and ensure any system updates are done in a timely manner. By choosing a seasoned company, you minimize the need for expensive in-house staff that will demand benefits, might need additional training and will lean towards being generalists rather than experts in one area. Note that when we talk about these types of services providers, we aren’t speaking about one of the phone companies “expert installers”.
The downside for these kinds of service providers is vetting them for quality of service. Recommendations from a VAR’s current and former clients can be useful but can be very subjective. You may only hear from long-time satisfied customers whose infrastructure doesn’t look anything like yours. A dissatisfied client might make a lot of noise but have little in common with your company as well. Review sites make this even harder because of bogus reviews or lack of reviews altogether. In the end, you have to make the best judgement based on the information you have. Not very comforting.
If your company has sufficient financial resources, hiring or contracting additional staff to handle telephone systems is an option. The first consideration will be whether or not this is a dedicated position or a staff member that will handle multiple systems with the telephone system being a part of a bigger workload. It is safe to say that unless the company is fairly large and the phone system very complex, the new staff member will perform multiple functions with the phone system being one part.
Question 2: will the staff be temporary, part-time or full-time perm? Is this new hire worth the benefits and on-boarding costs that the company and department will incur?
Screening applicants for these positions can be difficult in certain parts of the country away from larger metropolitan areas. This can add up to stiff relocation packages, paid training programs and more to get a qualiied staff member. There is no hard and fast rule here. The main thing to be aware of is balancing IT staff budget and telephone system performance requirements. If you company really relies on a high performing telephone system, trying to get by with a short staff is not an option.
Use Both Where Appropriate
With planning, companies can utilize in-house staff to be primary points of contact for outside resources. At that point you are getting the most value out of in-house staff while having access to experienced professional IT pros. The internal contact acts more as a knowledgeable project manager who can maintain a system once the more detailed, technical parts of the project are completed.
At CTD, our customers have the option of working the way they want. Whether you choose in-house or VAR models or a combination to create your ideal communications system, CTD can help guide and support projects. Our in-house support staff, in particular, can be a huge differentiating factor for your business. We have expert installation and troubleshooting support just a phone call away to resolve the toughest issues.
Take a minute to contact CTD or call one of our sales professionals and find out how Computer Telephony Distributing can be a difference-maker for you.