How to Equip Your Business to Keep up When You’re Short-staffed
The pandemic was a sea change for IT. It completely changed the landscape and priorities. From being an exercise in cost management, the IT buck has become a matter of corporate survival. Strategic plans became survival plans, and new imperatives took priority. For many companies, remote working and e-commerce are the new normal.
In most cases, the IT infrastructure didn’t support remote access and work from home and couldn’t support a full-blown e-commerce web presence. In the new realities, the costs of new and upgraded equipment and human resources were often well beyond the organisation’s ability to fund.
In a few cases, the IT budget was under such pressure that staff cuts were needed. The day-to-day workload hadn’t diminished, and projects to make the transition to an e-commerce platform needed to be completed as quickly as possible.
Many organisations have looked to outsourcing to reduce or contain costs.
Outsourcing can be using temporary staff or moving operations to an onsite or offsite hosted server solution supplied by an outsourced service provider.
The disadvantage of temporary staff is that they are generally more expensive than employed staff. It may be that fewer are required, but cost savings may turn out to be marginal. Also, in some jurisdictions, it is unlawful to shed staff and then use temporary staff to carry out the same tasks.
Outsourcing has the following benefits
- Operational and Staff Benefits
By, in effect, handing over daily operations to the hosting service provider, suitable operations staff could be redeployed to the E-Commerce project. Expensive temporary staff to assist with that project are not needed. It may also be possible to redeploy staff that would otherwise be laid off to the hosting service provider.Staff who know existing operations are better at carrying out the BI tasks needed to review them. Thye will also be a key resource in drafting new operational procedures. These sub-projects are an ideal position to redeploy operations people.In some jurisdictions, Government reskilling grants are available to retrain staff in technical topics at little or no cost, improving the team’s overall skill levels and reducing the cost of the development project.
- Operational Management
Fixed infrastructure costs and cost planning can be much more accurate. Typically, IT operational budgets vary, and it could be challenging to find additional resources to meet unexpected demands.Capex elements can be moved to Opex. Opex can be funded from income and reduce the pressure on corporate finances. It would provide the benefit of instituting new internal operations without the pressure of managing a daily workload.You only pay for what you need at the time you need it. Temporary resources are just that and do not need to be a permanent addition to the infrastructure or personnel.The service provider is responsible for the infrastructure, thereby achieving the upgrades without purchasing it.The service provider also ensures that the organization is always up to date with the latest software releases and ensures that implementing them does not affect the overall service levels received.
If nothing else, knowing that daily operations are covered and at a fixed cost will give the company some comfort.
If outsourcing is not an option, perhaps for security concerns, then other options come into play. Staff reductions mean that automating current manual procedures becomes a necessity. Typical areas include daily and periodic backup and network management.
Software applications are available in both areas to allow for hands-off processing of both:
Automated backup requires specifying what needs to be backed up, when, and where to. The type of backup, complete or incremental is also part of the specification process.
Backup up to the cloud rather than a physical device means the backup can be completely unattended.
It is vital, though, the check regularly that backups are being taken, and that they are usable. There have been instances where a business has been caught out when they find that backups have either not been taken, or are useless.
Network Management can also be automated to a great extent. Again parameterised triggers can be used to alert staff of unusual or potentially damaging events.