Hardware shortages continue to ripple through the tech supply chainIT Resource
By Carolyn Martin, Sales Operations Manager
Hardware shortages pose challenges to financial institutions and SMB’s
While some companies welcome back a small group of staff following over a year of work-from-home mandates, many organizations have elected to let employees work remotely on a permanent basis. IT admins and CTO’s that equipped their employees with desktop PC’s – which are often less expensive and easier to maintain – quickly realized a laptop & dock would be just as essential as the workers themselves.
All those remote workers needed a way to communicate. A necessity for collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex, caused a skyrocketing demand for hardware such as webcams, wireless headsets & keyboards, and IP phones.
It’s not just demand for hardware that’s leaving consumers empty-handed. Raw material shortages for semiconductors have left manufacturers with little choice but to halt assembly lines, hampering the availability of new computer chips. Many of us watched with a mix of amusement and disbelief this past March when a large cargo ship – carrying items such as microchips – became wedged across the Suez Canal, effectively blocking a significant global commerce waterway for an entire week.
Banks and other small businesses accustomed to having employees in the office from 9-5 were forced to pivot and dip into budgets to purchase alternative and increasingly expensive equipment for their employees to work from their dining room tables. Suddenly, those noise-cancelling headsets and convenient docks were snapped up by consumers and businesses eager to cobble together an acceptable work-from-home setup.
However, the world continues to struggle to meet the growing demand.
What can you do if you need to update your laptop fleet? How much longer will you have to wait for your order to ship? What if, because of the chip shortage, you can’t get the hardware you need in time for a big project? Can you substitute another item?
These are questions that all of us at IT Resource have fielded from our customers and colleagues alike. We have a few ideas to share to help you wait out or work around these challenges:
- Deploying a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for employees to obtain a secure connection on BYOD computers or Thin Client desktops (which are small, inexpensive, and surprisingly in-stock at manufacturers right now!).
- Pair a small form factor or desktop-mini PC with a collaboration monitor: it includes a webcam, speakers, and often extra USB ports for charging your phone or other peripherals. Depending on the manufacturer, the desktop can be mounted to the back of the monitor, keeping cable mess at a minimum.
- Where possible, swap out older mechanical hard drives for faster SSD storage to increase performance. Additional memory modules can provide a boost to sluggish machines.
- There’s no better time to deploy a Multi-Factor Authentication solution which serves as a critical layer in your security posture to ensure it’s really your employees connecting to your servers and business assets, particularly if they are using their own devices.
With the dynamic nature of the supply chain, hardware chip shortage, and other economic forces, we understand the frustration with backorders and price fluctuations. IT Resource is ready to help you overcome these technology challenges. Give us a call, connect to a video chat on Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams, or send us an email – we look forward to working with you!