A shortage in skilled workers, problems in the supply chain and price gouging are just a few of the huge obstacles that small businesses have faced over the past year or two. Now it’s the “IT supply shortage”, and companies are going to have to manage their IT strategies more efficiently to adapt.In the tech industry, millions of products rely on computer chips (or semiconductors) to work. In the commercial industry this includes products such as cars, washing machines or smartphones, while for small businesses this includes anything from computers to point-of-sale systems.
The shortage is a result of numerous factors, with a boom in demand for chips the most contributing factor. As with all things, the pandemic has played its part, with tech firms stockpiling and advance ordering chips - leaving others struggling to acquire them.
In fact, Canada’s tech sector is worried that small businesses will be squeezed by the chip shortage. An article from The Star, reads: “With most of the world’s chips made outside of Canada and brands as big as Nintendo, Samsung and Apple vying for them, they fear larger players will get access to supply first and their consumers will end up with higher prices and long wait times.”
Industry experts are predicting that the shortage will last into 2023. That means businesses must now start looking at ways to manage their IT infrastructure so that they don’t fall prey to challenges within the IT supply chain.
While small businesses shouldn’t be impacted too much by the shortage since their needs are relatively small, they’re certainly not immune either. Thankfully there’s plenty of ways they can cope.
Here are a few ways in which small businesses in Ontario can ensure their IT needs are met moving forward.Invest in the cloud
Moving your IT infrastructure out of your office by replacing internal hardware for cloud computing services can have huge benefits when it comes to your business in general, let alone minimizing the impact of IT supply shortages.
Cloud computing puts the burden of maintenance back on the service provider, and away from your organization. That means to log into these systems you typically need nothing more than a device, an internet connection and a monthly payment.
Transitioning to virtual cloud offerings will increase the lifespan of your company devices by lifting computing requirements off your machines and minimize the need for your organization to replace computers and other hardware.
Meanwhile, other benefits include seamless scalability as your organization grows, faster performance, far more cost-effective access to technologies, and the ability to create a mobile workforce that can work from anywhere - which is particularly important in this new world of remote and hybrid work.Plan your IT strategy ahead of time
There’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, buying anything is now more expensive and takes more time to be delivered. It’s hard to predict when IT supply constraints will lift or get worse, so forecasting your IT inventory ahead of time is the only way to prepare proactively.
Make planning your IT strategy a top priority. Plan what hardware you need ahead of time, optimize the lifetime of your existing technologies and work with a technology and IT partner who can minimize the burden of your existing IT challenges.Extend the lifespan of your devices
The best way to minimize the impact of the IT supply shortage is to maximize the equipment that your business already has.
Not only is this one of the best ways to avoid the challenges that come with the IT supply shortage, it’s also just an important way to maximize the return on investment that you realize from your technology investments in general.
Here are some tips to extend the lifetime of your IT technologies:
- Consider repairing equipment over replacing it.
- Monitor your equipment for things like performance, cleaning and other types of maintenance.
- Identify where the most common maintenance issues occur so you can fix them before they become larger issues.
- Invest in a tech maintenance strategy.
- Extend your warranties so you are covered by the provider if anything goes wrong.
- Understand why devices typically fail, so you can learn how to best prevent that moving forward.
Do you have any further questions about the IT supply shortage or simply want to work with an IT partner who can alleviate the burdens associated with your IT strategy? Get in touch with OT Group today. We would love to help.