On the web team, we’re always experimenting with new functions to make your life easier. The latest is an interactive product comparison module, that allows you to filters views of models by different criteria, and build a dynamic side-by-side comparison showing the different attributes of the models you’ve selected.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you want to compare the features of the models in the 100 series. When you go to the comparison page, you’ll see the complete list, partially shown here:
You can check and compare straightaway, or filter the list (via the control box on the left) to make it more focused. In this case, I have filtered on Gigabit Ethernet just as an example, which sizes down the list:
Then check off the boxes you want to compare, press the Compare button, and you’ll be presented with a side-by-side listing showing the various features and attributes of the various models:
We’re thinking of using this elsewhere around the site, so give it a try and let us know what you think.
I have walked into a number of small businesses that have old-school phone systems. They pick up an analog, corded phone, choose which line to use, and dial out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of phone system, because for some it just gets the job done. But what if something goes wrong with one of the phone lines, or a new employee comes onboard and needs a phone? Or what if the company moves offices? Who takes care of all these issues? Read More »
It starts with a nagging suspicion that things aren’t in synch, and kind of grows from there. Symptoms include long response times, an inability to scale, and sometimes just an all-out failure to keep things working. At one time or another, every company faces the question of whether they have outgrown their IT guy.
The causes can be many, but typically fall into one of two buckets. The most obvious one is the inability of said IT guy to keep up with the changes of the industry and grow with the job. In these situations, the answer may be as simple as getting some additional training, as opposed to looking for someone new. But very often, it’s far more complicated than that. In some ways, Moore’s Law has now been applied to human resources. Managers are expected to get more from the people they’ve got, and next quarter they are expected to get more still. And if you think that’s bad, just wait til the quarter after that. So very often, it is not a lack of ability or a lack of willingness on the part of the employee, it is simply a matter of trying to get too much done with too few bodies.
When faced with such difficulties with your IT support, there are a couple of different ways you can go. The least advisable option is to keep bumping along with the situation you’ve got, due to the budget requirements at hand. Unfortunately, a lot of companies go this route, and they do so at substantial risk. The best choice, of course, is heavily dependent upon how much wiggle room there might be for that line item. For example, you may be able to bring someone onto the team, either as a full-time employee, a part-time employee, or a contractor of some type. In many cases, you may find channel partners in your area who are ready, willing, and able to either meet your IT needs, or at least add additional resources to the equation without increasing your headcount.
But the important part is that management recognizes the critical role that IT plays in the organization, and is willing to provide the extra support, and least as a defensive maneuver to help protect the company’s ability to deliver on business-level objectives. In this situation, it may be necessary to make some pretty difficult choices. But assuming that IT is mission-critical to the company, making such a choice is critical to the bottom line.
The good thing about working with a channel partner is that you can usually find some level of supplementary service that suit’s your company’s budget, whatever that might be. And sometimes the effects of just a little bit of help can far exceed the incremental cost.
Thus, with a little bit of planning, and a little bit of flexibility, you can bring a higher degree of IT efficiency, and oftentimes accomplish that goal while leaving your primary team intact.
Ken Presti has extensive experience in channel program analysis and development. He is the founder of Presti Research. His company focuses on channel and go-to-market programs and strategies in order to help our clients build successful and profitable partnerships with compatible companies.
Welcome to the Cisco Small Business Blog. We write about small businesses using technology to improve their business. It’s our goal to help small companies learn to leverage their technology investment for maximum business impact. If this is your first visit, I’m Dawn Brister and I’m the editor for our blog. I’ve been with Cisco, working with small companies for 11 years. I will share my experiences with you and help our team of subject expert bloggers communicate what they know.
If this isn’t your first visit to our blog, you may notice it looks a bit different. Life is full of change! We have moved to a new platform that will help us deliver richer blog content.
Yesterday, we hosted a live video broadcast via Ustream with VP of Worldwide Commercial Sales Dave O’Callaghan—during our half-hour talk, we discussed everything from Fast Track 2 (our new Commercial sales program), to our partner-led sales strategy in Commercial sales, to what we think Dave’s new nickname should be. (Read on to find out how you can participate in the contest for a chance to win a Flip camera.)
For those of you that didn’t get a chance to tune in live, here’s a replay of our broadcast:
Want to know more about what we talked about? Here’s a recap.