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How to Untangle: A Shrinking IT Team and Growing IT Complexity

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As technology continues to deliver solutions that enhance business value and help organizations stay competitive, many IT groups struggle with a paradox that is hard to satisfactorily resolve: an IT team minus sufficient staff and budget, multiplied by increasing layers of complexity and network needs.

As business communication systems have been steadily transitioning to IP, many IT groups are now overseeing and supporting the company’s telecommunications system in addition to its regular network duties.

When your IT team is reduced in size, the last thing you want—and the last thing your business needs—is to increase the complexity of your communications system at the same time.

Even if you have sufficient staff and budget resources, there’s still no good fiscal reason to have a needlessly complicated system.

The good news is that the economy seems to be improving, and many leading analysts anticipate solid IT spending growth in 2010.

The not-so-great news is that IT spending will remain below its 2008 level for the next four years, and hiring new staff typically doesn’t happen until the later stages of a recovery.

Therefore, even if you do get additional hardware, software or services, there’s a good chance you’ll have to manage them with fewer people, at least for a while.

Fortunately, whether you need to upgrade your system, transition to a new platform altogether, or boost your efficiency, you can start with a few simple steps to help determine the best course of action.

  • Establish your critical criteria for your communications system.
  • Inventory what IT equipment/features you already have and where the obvious gaps are. How many employees must you support, and what do they consider their most critical communications needs?
  • Assess your available internal and outsourced resources. How many people are needed to maintain your current system or will be needed for a new one you’re evaluating?
  • Consider your branch locations. How many branch offices are there? These offices often do not have on-site IT support, making this a potential source of high expenditures.
  • Take into account the long-term growth plans for the business. If they include expansion into new cities, states or countries, you should evaluate the scalability of the communications system and whether it can both serve as a stop-gap and evolve into a more permanent solution.
  • Evaluate your upgrade needs. How frequently does your system require upgrades? What are your current vendors’ policies on upgrades for existing customers—discounted rates, free, costly?
  • Analyze the Total Cost of Ownership. Use vendor-neutral tools to calculate the true costs of each solution you are considering.

If you’d like to learn more about how ShoreTel in particular can help untangle the challenge of your shrinking IT team and growing IT complexity, please contact your local ShoreTel reseller.