Owning a small business can be overwhelming because everyone expects you to have all the answers. But no one is an expert in everything. As a business grows and changes, inevitably technology marches on and equipment gets old. When you started your company, you probably didn’t think you’d have to be an IT expert. But here we are. Today, almost every business has to be able to securely connect any user, on any device, on any network to any application. It’s complicated.
Fortunately, Cisco has tens of thousands of partners across the globe, in almost every community (including yours) who have the skills and expertise to help you, regardless of how big your business is and what your focus may be.
You can’t ignore IT (no matter how much you may want to)
If you ignore aging technology, eventually you reach the end of the line. Systems don’t work together, and you get so far behind security-wise that your software can’t be patched anymore. If you throw a bunch of cloud and mobile apps into the mix, it only makes matters worse. In short, you have a mess. And if you have multiple branches and locations, the mess is magnified by the number of locations.
Maybe you’re not dealing with old technology. Maybe your business is new, and you need upgrades to support more projects or people. No matter why you’re modernizing or upgrading, navigating the myriad of IT choices out there can be difficult.
Security issues are another source of trouble, particularly with more people working remotely. High-profile breaches are in the news regularly and hackers are constantly on the lookout for new targets, large and small. The good news is cybersecurity has become a top priority for organizations of all sizes. Eighty-five percent of respondents in the Cisco Future of Secure Remote Work study said that cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than it was before the pandemic.
Looking at options
The first thing you need to do is take a hard look at your business. What do you need and why? What’s working and what isn’t? After you’ve determined your requirements, you need to some research to what the options are for your business.
That’s where working with a trusted Cisco partner can be incredibly valuable.
When you start digging into your choices, it can be difficult to compare apples to apples. Almost every company has data sheets filled with pretty pictures, speeds, feeds, features, and benefits. But comparing the details of individual products almost never gives you a complete picture.
For example, suppose you want to modernize your network, but your employees also have been complaining about how your assortment of meeting and collaboration tools work (or don’t work) together. Over time, you invested in various tools to meet employee needs, but now you have a fragmented collection of applications. As a result, employees join meetings in different ways depending on where they are. Sometimes the audio doesn’t work. Other times people can’t get connected. If people are stumbling around for 10 minutes trying to get a meeting going, it’s frustrating and certainly not productive.
Comparisons only take you so far
In a situation like this one, the meeting problems could be with the interaction between software tools, hardware issues or problems with your network. Many companies offer various pieces of the IT puzzle, and when you’re looking at competing products, it’s easy to lose perspective. Integrating a fragmented collaboration architecture can be complex, unreliable, and expensive.
Trying to get multiple tools to play nicely together can be difficult and sometimes it just doesn’t work at all. Having someone on your side to help you navigate your options can be the difference between success and costly failures.
The advantage of a broad portfolio
Many Cisco competitors offer great products, but no other single company offers a complete portfolio to help small businesses transform their operations. The Cisco Designed portfolio includes solutions that are specifically designed for small businesses. And our global delivery and partner ecosystem can help you:
- Consolidate and update technology.
- Engage the workforce and business partners.
- Transform your business workflow and workplace.
The Cisco Designed for Business portfolio includes products that can help small businesses in virtually every industry. And when you work with our Cisco Partners, they can help you evaluate alternatives that fit your current needs, but that also allow for growth.
This blog was originally written by Susan Daffron for Cisco Blogs.