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Tired of dealing with unplanned IT network problems?

November 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm PST

Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right network technical support plan that can save you time, money and customers.

As a business owner, your top priorities are to grow  your business, increase your employees’ efficiency, and serve your customers better. On top of that, small and medium-sized businesses like yours are looking to leverage a sophisticated IT network without dedicated or limited IT staff to support these goals. If this sounds like your business, you understand how increasingly reliant your company has become on your network.

As you realize the impact your network has on your success, you may also recognize the need to maintain the health of your network so that it’s always on and available for employees to connect, collaborate, and communicate with colleagues and customers alike. Network downtime can cost your business plenty in decreased productivity, tarnished reputation, and lost revenue. According to Infonetics Research, unplanned network downtime costs companies an average of 3.6% of their revenue every year. And this doesn’t even include potential damage to your reputation. In addition, dealing with unplanned IT network problems can also be very demanding on your IT staff, and time consuming.

There is a solution: If you want to reduce business-halting network downtime and stop reactively responding to IT network problems, consider purchasing a technical support plan or services from your solution provider, which can help you save time and money. A support plan gives you access to expert technical support engineers who can quickly resolve network issues, minimizing the time your network is down. Faster problem resolution and a more stable network also means your employees can stay productive. Finally, services offered by your solution provider may include additional services such as ongoing remote monitoring for proactive network management, helping to anticipate issues before they affect your business.

So before you make your decision regarding the plan that’s right for you, consider these factors when deciding which support plan best meets your needs.

  • Technical support.  For companies looking to support new technologies while saving time and money on ongoing maintenance, a technical support plan may be the solution. These plans often provide such features as phone and online support, software updates, and hardware replacement if needed, like the Cisco Small Business Support Service. Some technical support plans like Cisco SMARTnet also offer more direct, anytime (24x7) access to support engineers to quickly resolve any network issues that may occur. Talk to your Cisco partner who can help to evaluate your current and near-future needs and determine which option is best for you.
  • Proactive IT service. Like large businesses, many smaller companies rely  heavily on their network as a strategic advantage to serve customers, suppliers, and vendors around-the-clock—the network is their business. However, these companies often don’t have the in-house IT resources necessary to implement new technologies, let alone provide round-the-clock monitoring and rapid resolution should a problem arise. If this sounds familiar, your company would benefit from working with a managed service provider who offers more comprehensive services—one that provides real-time monitoring and alerting, troubleshooting, performance optimization, and routine maintenance.

Want to learn more about how a consulting firm benefited from Smart Services? Read this case study

Whether your company has 15 employees or 600, a support contract and your partner’s services can help ensure the reliability and security of your network so you can focus on your core business. To find a partner who can guide you, visit the Cisco partner locator

What features do you look for when evaluating support plans?

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Kicking off the Holiday Shopping Season with Small Business Saturday

It’s official. The holiday season has begun. For many businesses—small and not so small, this is the season that counts. And that’s why we’re supporting Small Business Saturday. It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, launched by American Express, to remind holiday shoppers not to forget about small businesses in the midst of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

So what can small businesses do to help take advantage of the big day and the season at hand? Paul Jankowski offers some great tips in his Forbes blog, including taking advantage of social media. For those who get the value of technology, seizing opportunities comes easier.

Yet, according to Hiten Samtani’s recent piece on entrepreneur.com, many SMBs have little or no presence on social media, and 98 percent of business websites haven’t been optimized for shoppers using mobile devices (check out the great infographic in his blog).

That’s unfortunate, given that technology is what helps small businesses compete on the same playing field as the big ones. The key is to have the right technology in place to connect people with information, securely. Not just to handle transactions, but to also help optimize productivity; so that employees and business partners can work together effectively from wherever, and customers can shop and buy from wherever.

As you head into Thanksgiving (and beyond), think about how technology could better connect your employees and your customers. Then think about what that would mean in terms of business performance.

Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving.

The Rise of the Progressive SMB [Infographic]

Throughout the recent years we have seen an uptake in a new group of SMB’s – the “Progressive SMB,” organizations that are increasingly encroaching on the territory of their larger competitors. But what makes a SMB progressive?

Check out the infographic below to see what you can learn from progressive SMBs, including how they are going against the grain and investing heavily in technology to improve collaboration, productivity and long-term business bottom line results.

Do you consider yourself a progressive SMB? If so, we would love to hear how you are investing in IT to gain a competitive edge.

 

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Ken Blanchard Free Live Event: A Closer Look at the New Science of Motivation

Please join us for a live webinar where we will discover what the new science of motivation has to offer. Susan Fowler, best-selling author and motivation expert from The Ken Blanchard Companies, will not let you walk away closed minded when it comes to motivating yourself.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to choose a higher quality of motivational experience
  • How motivation is a skill that can be taught, learned, nurtured, and sustained
  • The three ways you can apply motivation skills – at an individual level, as a leader, or from an organizational perspective

Register now! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to shift from a quantity of motivation to a quality of motivation experience.

Details: Wednesday, October 3, 2012| 9 am PDT  |  Noon ET  | 

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Cisco WebEx Meetings Mobile App now available for Kindle Fire

Get out of the office and still get your work done. Use the free WebEx Mobile app right from your Kindle Fire and take your meeting from anywhere that has Internet access.

Our newest app release allows you to participate with high-quality two-way video on your Kindle Fire by viewing the video feeds of the participants in the web conference and streaming your own video back to them.

Join, start or schedule WebEx Meetings from your Kindle Fire!

Download it right from the Amazon Appstore!

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