One Size Does Not Fit All

Just because a technology solution works for one company, doesn't mean it's best for yours. The key is tailoring the tools to fit your needs.

R. Benton, senior executive vice president. “Along with being environmentally responsible, we make it our focus to empower people. Our mission is to provide customers with powerful Internet solutions to realize their e-strategies.” WebCTel provides Website design and maintenance, hosting, database development, administration services, and software application and development to a variety of clients.

To determine its operation’s tech needs, WebCTel first examines its client’s needs and goals. That, in turn, determines what sort of tech resources WebCTel will acquire. The company supports a variety of operating systems, database, and Web-based applications and maintains software that enables it to service and support its clients. “Our staff also keeps up with information on the technology available in their particular area of expertise. During staff meetings we often devote time to talking about technology issues and trends. Our staff will make
suggestions and then a determination is made based upon whether or not we will be able to improve operations and customer satisfaction and service,” explains Benton.

Benton estimates that WebCTel spends about $15,000 to $35,000 per year on technology resources. Upgrading workstations, servers, and software account for the majority of the spending, about $2,500 per employee.

Since it was founded in 1997, WebCTel has been proactive in staffing and outfitting employees with technology that will ensure the best results for its clients’ projects. The small firm also develops relationships with companies that provide data storage, hardware, and peripherals, which enables it to scale up as needed. “These days, hardware is less and less expensive and is pretty easy to get,” says Benton. “It is the software that really enables us to keep up and to develop for our clients. We use Microsoft products, Oracle, Coldfusion, SQL server, C++, and Computer Associates’ Enterprise Applications to name a few.”

And as the company, which generated more than $500,000 in sales for 2001, continues to grow, Benton is getting prepared. “We are always upgrading our staff workstations (memory, hard drives, and monitors) to meet the demands of the software, in addition to adding more servers to meet our in-house storage and information-retrieval needs,” she says. “We have several products in development, which have necessitated our recently purchasing [digital] cameras.” Bottom line: “Our business is technology, so our investment in technology has a direct relationship with our business and revenue growth. Our business is completely dependent upon our capability to deliver.”

The company’s growth, however, is not without the occasional pain. At the outset, it was difficult to accommodate anticipated increases in staff. “One day we sat down and decided that we would purchase workstations for 10 staff members at a time when we only had four. However, this enabled us to incorporate new hires and contract staff much easier, in addition to saving us money on each workstation,” he says.

WebCTel uses both outsourced and in-house staff, allowing it to respond quickly to short-term projects. Additionally, WebCTel has relationships with several community technology-training centers that identify the best and the brightest, and provide internship and job opportunities

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