12 05 22

Get Busy Setting Your Business Up for Success

This week we talk about how you can get busy using technology to improve your business.

Regularly, when a business is searching for ways to move their operations forward, there is a little hand wringing on how to do so. Every decision your business has to make comes with a price tag, and the more that you can do without spending a lot of money, the more value you are going to see. For this week’s blog, we thought we’d take a look at some actions you can take with your technology to ensure that your business is going in the right direction.

Procurement and Deployment

When you are looking to upgrade your business’ technology, cost is likely the most important variable. This leads to a tendency to prioritize smaller investments that don’t necessarily cost your business a lot of money. Unfortunately, any value-creating piece of hardware or software is going to take a substantial investment for your business. Fortunately, there are options out there that give decision makers options on how these investments are made.


Traditionally, if your business needed a new server, your company would price out how much they would have to pay to buy the hardware, migrate all the data and applications from the old hardware to the new hardware, and whatever associated costs that come with the setup and management of a new server. If the server was brought in to add more computing to your existing infrastructure, the setup and integration of the new server would come with its own associated costs.


Today, you can add to your business’ computing infrastructure faster and with powerful technology through the integration of cloud computing. The costs associated with cloud infrastructure are comparable to the ones that you would pay over time with a hardware lease, but with it you get integrated management and maintenance of that infrastructure. Since the only real drawback is that you need an Internet connection to access those cloud-based resources it is an excellent option for companies looking to quickly add powerful new IT solutions to their current infrastructure.

Managing Security

One of the most difficult parts of managing a robust computing infrastructure is keeping it secure. In fact, a lot of the axillary costs associated with maintaining large IT systems are tied up in security. Of course, you can decide what level of security investment is right for your situation, but you have to take into account that the less you invest in keeping your business’ IT secure, the more likely you will deal with security breaches; a potentially devastating thing for your business.


At Point North Networks, we provide comprehensive network and infrastructure security solutions designed to keep the near never-ending myriad of threats off of your business’ IT. We also can help you create policies and procedures that work to keep your staff trained and in-the-know about all types of potential security problems. Our technicians work with Metro Area businesses every day, and in the course of doing business see a lot of situations that provide us with real world experience in dealing with potential threats. Not only can we outfit your business with the technology you need to help mitigate ongoing threats, we also have the ability to customize a security plan specifically for your business needs, even when it includes comprehensive training.


If you talk to any technology professional that works with businesses, they will tell you that if you can manage to integrate automated tools, you will be improving your business’ efficiency. One of the most important considerations any business owner or decision maker has to make in today’s business environment is how to streamline operations and get their revenue-generating staff to do just that. A lot of businesses have their best people working in support roles over 25 percent of the time, no doubt cutting down on the organization’s effectiveness.


In using innovative software platforms to help your business cut out huge wastes of time and prioritize productivity, you get more out of your business. Today, you can get all types of powerful applications for human resources, security, business operations, marketing, sales, collaboration, communications, operational support, and more. Aside from improved access, there are other benefits that utilize state-of-the-art tools like artificial intelligence that can automate more processes, further improving efficiency.


Regardless of how you want to approach it, getting more from your technology is important if you want to increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and retention, and other variables important to building a more productive and efficient business. If you would like to have a conversation about how to use technology to help you build a better business give us a call at 651-234-0895 today.

12 02 22

3 Strategies to Help Your Business Get Smarter

Today’s business can get smarter and run more efficiently using technology.

If you truly want to run your business effectively, it all starts with understanding how its costs break down. If you are armed with this knowledge, you can make better decisions about solution procurement and operations management. Let’s examine how you can cut costs without harming your business in the process.

Outsourcing Can Help

Outsourcing is often misunderstood, but it is an incredibly powerful tool to control your costs and improve operations. If you take part of your business that is costly to run normally, then outsource it to a provider, you get more stable costs and expertise that you might not normally be able to leverage.


Businesses have all sorts of outsourcing options these days, including gig workers or managed service providers. You can outsource help desks for support, or you can outsource recruitment and payroll. The sky’s the limit, so to speak; if you can imagine it, you can probably outsource it, provided you find an appropriate vendor.

Data Allows for Better Decision-Making

The more data your business has, the more tools and resources it has at its disposal to enable better decision-making. You can look at data to learn about what has worked well in the past, what could work well in the future, and what needs to be addressed immediately. Data is key to the many types of initiatives you might have planned for the future.


Data analytics can give your business key insights into how it can be more efficient with sales, marketing, operational processes, and so on. It can help you build better consumer experiences and customer relationships, something which can increase revenue and give you more resources to work with in the future.

Keep Flexibility in Mind

You can provide greater value to your employees by keeping flexibility at the top of your mind. This means giving them tools to communicate and be productive whether they are in the office or on the move, and thanks to cloud-based resources and solutions, you can do this easily and efficiently.


Another way you can innovate and keep things flexible is through the use of artificial intelligence technology. An AI chatbot, for example, can free up employees for other tasks, focusing instead on tasks that generate revenue.


Point North Networks can help your business be more cost-effective and productive at the same time. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.


11 21 22

Boosting Employee Morale Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Every business has different types of workers; often to management’s chagrin. Ideally, all of an organization’s workers would be enthusiastic about their jobs and the status of a business as a whole. Unfortunately, people don’t always have like minds about the state of things and can see their morale reduced and their productivity wane.


Keeping your people engaged does more than build a more productive business; it saves money. Recruiting and onboarding new talent is extraordinarily expensive and time consuming, so retaining the talent you acquire is all the more important.


There are a few things any business can do to engage their employees a little better and get them to feel a little more invested, even if they work remotely. Let’s take a look at a few

Promote Work/Life Balance

In order for your business to find success, your people have to work, that is undeniable. Ironically, the best way for people to find the focus at work is to have a solid work/life balance. Today’s businesses tend to have workforces that are much more distributed than businesses of the past, and that can wreak havoc on a business’ ability to promote a dedicated company culture. It can also cause workers to work longer hours, which encourages the overwhelming pressure that business is all around them all the time, a major contributor to burnout.


There are plenty of ways that an organization can assist their employees improve their work/life balance. They include:


  • Value productivity over time – One of the biggest problems managers cause is looking at the amount of time that an employee works rather than what they do in the time that they work. As we stated before, your business needs productivity, they don’t necessarily rely on employees to put in workweeks that run counterproductive to their mental well-being.
  • Encourage breaks – When you are busy, work can get difficult to get away from. Encouraging your staff to take breaks to get away from the work for a little bit not only gives them a respite from the grind, but will give them a chance to use their phones, because you know they are going to.
  • Paid time off – Most places require a business to provide some paid time off, but the more paid time that you can provide your staff, the more they can enjoy their lives outside of the workplace. Having five days of sick/vacation time is nice, but having more allows people to take a vacation, manage their outside life better; and, the better they are at that, the more effective they will be at work.

Gamify the Workplace

One of the best ways to get superior employee engagement is to gamify your workplace. This is really a hit with the younger workforce. The theory behind gamification is that if you give everything your team does a points system and then give out prizes for the employees that produce the best work, you will get people competing for those prizes and the whole lot of work will improve. Here are three benefits to gamifying your workplace:

Improve Engagement

Part of boosting morale is improving engagement, and nothing gets people’s productive juices flowing quite as much as an open competition. The more fun a person can have while doing work, the more engaged with that work they will be.

Recognize Excellence

A big problem that many workers have at work is that they can excel at their job and it is completely taken for granted. By gamifying your workplace, the employees that are doing the most to push your business’ initiatives forward will presumably rank high on the gamification leaderboard. This not only gives top performers the recognition they deserve, it also can work to make a lot of internal business decisions simpler.

Improve Efficiency

When people compete for prizes, they tend to do their best to win those prizes. This means that more will get done faster. This improved efficiency is great for your business as it can speed business up and create holistic growth. The more efficient a business is, the more productive it is. The more productive a business is, the better the business performs.

When in Doubt, Pay Better

This might be the last thing a business owner wants to hear, but this is one of the leading reasons that an employee will look for another job. If you want to avoid that, pizza parties and pats on the back will only go so far—you need to pay them competitively.


If you would like more information about how technology can be used to improve your business and help build a more productive, fun, and engaging work environment, give Point North Networks a call today at 651-234-0895.

10 28 22

Hidden Benefits of Managed IT Services

We hate to be the bad guy, but we’re certain that you cannot multitask nearly as well as you think you can. Multitasking is just not how the human brain works, and whether or not you believe in the psychology of it, we think you stand to benefit by outsourcing some of the tasks on your plate to a managed service provider.

Managed services are effective to help you spend less time on your IT and more time on your actual job duties and responsibilities.

The Proof is in the Proverbial Pudding

To put things in perspective, only about 2.5% of people can effectively multitask, so it’s highly unlikely that you are in the minority who can do so without compromising the quality of your work.

What you think is multitasking is really just your brain switching gears over and over, and the more complicated these tasks are, the less effective it is at switching between them. Your performance is sure to suffer if you can’t keep up.

How This Shows Up in the Workplace

It’s difficult at best to do multiple tasks at the same time, so let’s take a look at some of the tasks that might be pulling you away from your important work:

  • Managing employees to ensure they are reaching your organizational and operational goals.
  • Managing the public face of the company, including how you appear to the community, clients, and vendors.
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
  • Managing the sales and marketing efforts of your organization.

Notice how we haven’t even mentioned IT on that list yet; it’s a whole other beast to tackle.

Managed IT Services Removes Some of the Burden on Your Business

Really, you shouldn’t be managing your technology anyway—you should be relying on a professional like Point North Networks. Give us a call today and we can discuss how it’s beneficial for you to work with us.

Benefits of managed services

Now that we know that you can’t be doing everything and managed services do offer better streamlining and work management, let’s look at some of the other benefits of managed services.

Shweta, a member of the Forbes Advisor Council, aptly describes the benefits of hiring managed services. She says, “MSPs have expertise in the processes that they manage. So, when you hire an MSP for noncore processes, you and your team can focus on activities that drive growth while ensuring that other processes are also being run by experts and not getting neglected.”

Controlled, scalable spending (OPEX)

Establishing an IT infrastructure requires costly capital expenditure. It is an ongoing investment as it requires constant upgrades and scaling up as your business grows. So, predicting your actual expenditure and budget will remain a challenge for you. However, if you outsource your work to a managed service provider, you can be free of establishing, upgrading and managing your IT infrastructure.

With managed services, these recurring expenses turn into one single, fixed cost – your OPEX. Since managed service providers charge on a project or monthly basis, you will not have to worry about changing and increasing expenses. Also, hardware breakdown, server connectivity and similar issues like these will be taken care of by the managed service provider. You can pay once and focus on other more strategic responsibilities.

No more sunk and operational costs

Having an in-house team means you will have to provide for them. Managing their salaries, increments, benefits, insurance etc are all added expenses that you will have to bear. In addition to that, the operational cost of your day-to-day tasks will also add up to your budget. You will need to spend time, money and effort to train your staff and provide them with additional facilities and support to retain them.

However, outsourcing your IT initiatives to managed service providers will free you of these hassles and provide several business benefits. Managed services will help you with cost savings on consulting, licensing, training and emergency repairs. Reduced labor rates are another additional benefit as most outsourced services are priced at a much lower cost.

Faster response time

Downtimes and technical failures can hamper your business, which is a big setback in today’s fast-paced world. The managed services model saves you from such challenges as their personnel will be available to support you at all times.

Expertise and Experience

One of the biggest benefits of managed services is the experience and expertise they bring along. Your It department might not be equipped with that kind of experience and expertise. Outsourcing companies have professionals with the right qualifications, training, certifications, and experience that are specific to your industry, providing the best talent to work for you.

Proactive monitoring and fixing

Apart from getting access to some of the best industry talent, proactive monitoring and quick issue resolutions are the other benefits you get from hiring managed services.

Data shows that the average cost of downtime is $9000 per minute. However, a proactive approach helps in catching the issues and rectifying them before they become too big to handle. This also results in decreased downtime as you will face fewer obstacles in your operations and enjoy better business continuity.

Compliance with data security regulations

Most businesses are required to comply with regulatory standards regarding their IT infrastructure. These regulations require specific rules to be followed regarding finance, privacy, retail establishments, reporting, security and a lot more.

Your IT staff might not be completely aware or equipped to follow and comply with these standards. However, managed service professionals are and they can help your business be in compliance wherever necessary and keep the client data safe.

Heightened cyber security

Cyber security is a huge issue most businesses are facing in today’s digital world. Data shows that there are hacker attacks every 39 seconds. With most companies operating online and the huge of data being stored and transferred online, data breaches and cyber threats are more real than ever before. Familiarity with PCI compliance help businesses in a huge way, something that most managed services providers have.

Handling cyber security threats requires specialized knowledge and expertise that your IT team might not have. However, a managed services team possesses such expertise, making it capable of delivering the required solutions.

One point of contact

A managed services provider often deploys a single customer success manager who takes care of all vendor communications regarding all your IT-related equipment. So, you will no longer have to run behind software and hardware vendors to get things sorted. All this is done at their end.

Lower time to market

If your IT management includes Cloud Computing, then it will require high-speed resources to handle technical difficulties. Managed services provide such support, eliminating IT inefficiencies and lowering your time to market, increasing productivity and helping you take your business forward.

Reduced risk

Every business faces an element of risk. This could be regarding your financial conditions, government rules and regulations and changing technologies. A managed services provider will efficiently mitigate risks related to these aspects of a business, helping them operate effortlessly.

How can Point North Networks help with managed services?

Point North is an experienced managed services provider with years of experience and the right industry expertise. Our comprehensive knowledge of various industries allows us to provide the right strategic initiatives to our clients.

Our dedicated team of experts act as a reliable point to handle all kinds of serious problems. We offer managed services to both large and medium-sized businesses and the most cost-effective rates.

Frequently Asked Questions about Managed IT Services Benefits

What services do managed IT services provide?

The scope of Managed Services usually depends on the specific needs and the budget of your business. Some benefits that a managed services provider delivers include –

  • Maintenance and monitoring of devices
  • Management of IT systems
  • Remote management of services
  • Network monitoring
  • Support services

Why managed services are important for my business?

In the present-day world, managing cyber security is getting more and more cumbersome. Not only does it need constant attention, but also a certain level of expertise for maintaining network security. Moreover, overlooking one or more aspects of cyber security, even for a few days can lead to significant harm to the business. All of this combined makes it essential for every business to have a reliable service provider on their side.

What do managed services look for?

Some of the most important services to look for in a managed services team include –

  • Quick Response Time
  • Annual and Monthly Budget Planning
  • Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Third-Party Vendor Partnerships
  • Local On-Site Maintenance and Support
  • Remote Monitoring and Support
  • Daily Backups and Cloud Services
  • Security Testing & Monitoring

Is managed service the same as outsourcing?

Outsourcing IT Services imply that an external company will offer assistance in specific areas of your business. On the other hand, Managed IT Services have a wider scope and aim at offering multiple technology services, complete with cybersecurity and other crucial aspects of network security.


10 17 22

What Can Businesses Expect in 2023?

2023 is right around the corner, and if the past few years are any indication, it will be rife with challenges for businesses to overcome. Let’s consider some of these challenges, and what technologies can help minimize or even eliminate them.

Inflation and Supply Chain Issues Will Likely Continue

Unfortunately, the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy is expected to persist throughout 2023. Exacerbating these issues, the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia has not helped matters in terms of supply chain stability. Now and moving forward, businesses need to plan for any supply chain disruptions or impacts of inflation…but how can this be accomplished?


When economic conditions are fraught with such risk, it is important that you are able to identify how vulnerable your operations are to the whims of the aforementioned challenges. By doing so, you’ll be in a better position to minimize or completely eliminate your vulnerability to these factors.

Customer Experience and Sustainability Will Be Priorities

Based on how 2023 looks to be shaping up, it will be important for you to address your customers’, clients’, and prospects’ priorities—which seem to be focused on sustainable operations. With more focus put on a company’s stance on assorted social and environmental issues, it will be important that businesses are able to identify where their current strategies and initiatives may be received poorly or have a negative impact on the company’s reputation—including those strategies that involve external parties, like cloud providers and the data centers they rely on, and how the impacts these parties have affected the business by association.


Likewise, your customers, clients, and prospects need more than just the assurance that you’re operating in an environmentally conscious way…they will want to be wooed, and in a more personalized and interactive way. This will also require the right IT to be in place, deployed so that workflows are streamlined and enhanced through technologies that have developed to the point that many of these responsibilities are resolved through automation. This not only ensures that the right processes are carried out in a timely manner, it allows your team members to divert their energies toward more gainful endeavors.

Employee Retention Will Require Effort

Since the onset of the pandemic, many businesses have struggled to keep their employees engaged, with many of these workers either leaving work as part of what has been called “The Great Resignation,” or participating in the more recent trend of “quiet quitting,” or strictly adhering to exclusively the responsibilities outlined in their job description and doing nothing more.


It is on the employer to then work to retain their employees through meaningful and fulfilling work and the benefits associated with it. Allowing for hybrid work is a great means of doing so, along with opportunities for upward mobility and increased pay and benefits.

What is Your Business Doing to Prepare for 2023?

Whatever it is, Point North Networks can help you manage the IT that it requires. Give us a call at 651-234-0895 to speak to us about what we can do for you.

09 23 22

You Gain Major Benefits from Our Extensive Experience

In business, experience is always useful. Nowhere is that more apparent than when managing your organization’s IT infrastructure. The problem is that acquiring the expertise to do just that can be quite confusing for most business owners. Today, we’ll talk about how technology management experience can produce better business from one end to the other.

Value of Modern IT

For any-sized business, the use of technology can present huge steps forward in terms of productivity and efficiency. For the business that actively tries to find the right technology to aid its operations, it can be maddening and frustrating. This is because there is seemingly an endless amount of options available, all of which promise to help build a better business. The thing is, not all technology that works for one business, works for another.


The technology consultants at Point North Networks work daily with Minnesota businesses to help them get the technology to drive their business initiatives forward. This isn’t just about getting computers set up, it’s about getting the tools into a business that can work to make productivity easier, automate menial tasks, and build an efficient workforce that doesn’t have to struggle to collaborate.


The value of modern IT can be immeasurable if it is implemented and supported correctly. That’s why having experienced technicians that understand both the fundamentals of supporting business technology and how it works to improve a business’ operational effectiveness is important.

Experience With Business Technology

As far as delivering the right technology, technicians with experience not only understand how a business can utilize certain solutions to solve operational problems, but they also understand the potential value it has to a business as a whole. The procurement of new technology can be difficult for people that don’t know exactly what is needed to accomplish organizational goals.


Since most businesses have to be diligent about choosing prudent technology investments, having experienced perspectives is a great benefit that can go beyond dollars and cents; it can create environments where workers can be the most productive and allow business leaders to build processes that can bring a level of consistency that isn’t found in businesses that don’t have expert perspective driving their IT investments.


In business today there are a lot of considerations to be made about IT. Does your business use remote workers? Does it have systems that need more security or more transparency? Most important of all, can it build the dynamic IT infrastructure you need to forge ahead confidently? With Point North Networks consultants working to help build your business’ technology, you can gain the peace of mind needed to know that you are getting the IT you need affordably. This makes for a more reliable technology environment.

Experience with Support

Getting the right technology is only half the battle. If it isn’t supported, managed, and maintained correctly, you might as well flush money down the toilet. The key to a reliable IT infrastructure is expert support. This means experienced IT technicians that know what they are looking for/at and that are able to reliably keep your technology up and running efficiently and securely.


Today, there are more threats than ever, and that is before you consider that technology breaks. To ensure that your business doesn’t grind to a halt with technology problems, having experienced IT experts actively working on keeping your IT running effectively is more important than ever. Of course, you can hire IT staff to accomplish this, but if your business can’t afford the thousands of dollars a month that a professional IT technician would command, considering a managed service provider like Point North Networks is your best option. Not only can you have experienced IT technicians at the ready if something happens, they work proactively to ensure that you don’t have to deal with productivity-sapping downtime.


Business IT can get complicated, but at Point North Networks we pride ourselves on being a solution to our clients’ IT problems, not another problem. Give us a call at 651-234-0895 today to talk to one of our consultants about how we can help you get the most out of your business.

04 25 22

Who’s Behind the Wheel of Your Business’ Technology?

There are countless issues that could arise when it comes to managing and maintaining your technology, but the people who are in charge of the process should not be one of them. If you don’t have a dedicated IT team to take care of your business technology, you might not be properly maintaining your technology. Thankfully, there are ways to get around limited resources, and it might not be what you think.

Who Manages Your Technology?

As is often the case with businesses with limited resources, more employees wind up doing more tasks than they should be. Sometimes businesses expect their employees to have a baseline understanding of technology, but it is not necessarily the case. In fact, assuming this can be dangerous, and untrained employees should absolutely not be maintaining your technology solutions. Under the wrong circumstances, an untrained employee could cause irreparable harm to your infrastructure.


Plus, consider the fact that poorly functioning technology can get in the way of employees doing their jobs properly, reducing productivity and impacting your bottom line. Employees who don’t know any better will simply let the dysfunctional technology be, which is why it’s better to have professionals handle the maintenance on a regular basis.


One of the biggest hold-ups for businesses without internal IT resources is that they don’t have the budget to hire full-time technicians to take care of all their technology challenges. They might choose to address problems as they occur rather than before they occur, and this could impact operations in a negative way.


The conundrum is that companies need regular IT maintenance, but they can’t afford or access it. So what’s the solution? It’s actually pretty simple: managed IT services.

The Good News

Whether you have an in-house IT team or not, all businesses can gain access to the IT support they need to be successful in the business world, and it’s all thanks to outsourcing. Most maintenance and management of technology systems can be performed without the need for an on-site visit, so it doesn’t matter what your geographical location is. Plus, considering how affordable it is compared to adding more salaries to your budget, you’ll find that it saves you time and money.


Point North Networks wants to be your go-to IT resource for all of your technology needs. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.

A good Project Management

Four Problems that Can Undermine an IT Project

It might be an understatement to suggest that things don’t always go smoothly in business. The truth is that when one problem is solved, another is often created. This is why we lean on our technology. These “solutions” are intended to fix many of the speedbumps, but that doesn’t mean that choosing, deploying, and supporting these systems don’t come with some problems as well. Today, we look at three reasons an IT project could fail.

Failure to Align to Business Needs

Incorporating technology to make things more efficient is typically the goal, but in many instances, management and technology deployment aren’t working in concert. This can lead to IT projects that fail because of friction that is caused when there isn’t any unity in the direction things are going. In order for IT projects to work as designed, there needs to be some cohesion between planning and practice.

A good strategy to avoid situations like this is to set ground rules about when a major IT project can start. Not only should any project have full clearance from decision-makers, but it should also include regular status updates to keep everyone abreast of any changes or delays that may happen. Typically, new IT deployment will result in some downtime, so having the blessing of everyone that could be affected is a good plan.

Runaway Costs

Not every project is going to run smoothly. One could say that most projects deal with some inefficiencies and even redundancies that increase costs. Most major IT projects require substantial investment and if there is a lack of commitment it can cause projects to fall flat. Of course, many IT investments are earmarked when a budget is set and therefore can be subject to alteration due to other financial factors affecting the business.

To avoid having the IT project tablecloth ripped out from under your china, you should be pragmatic about your IT investments. This means once you’ve decided to invest in something, complete it since most IT investments will end up providing quicker returns. Go full steam ahead or don’t go at all.

Communication Issues

When we cite “communication problems,” we aren’t talking about problems with your data plans or email server, we are talking about keeping lines of communication open between all the people that have a stake in the project being a success. That means everyone: production workers, administrators, and everyone in between. Obviously, most projects are handled by the project manager and it is his/her responsibility to disseminate information as required.

Today, there are some pretty impressive and easy-to-implement tools that will allow project managers the ability to quickly send correspondence to various people, create chats with teams of people involved in the project, quickly start video meetings, and more. The better equipped your project manager is to be an effective communicator, the more smooth a project will likely go.

Poor Project Management

That brings us to the last point, but it may be the most crucial. A solid project manager will do things that will make for successful IT projects. A good PM will manage the expectations of stakeholders, demands of the staff, and make it look easy. It’s not, but for some people being in the middle of a major project is exactly what they were built for. The good PM will not only understand the needs of the project team, the underlying problems that the project is trying to address, but also do it in a way where people who need information won’t have to go and search for it. A good project manager is a great delegator, a great prioritizer, and a great communicator.

At Point North Networks, Inc., we have plenty of experience running point on the Twin Cities Metro Area businesses’ IT projects and would love the opportunity to talk to you about your next IT project. For more information about anything IT support-related, give us a call today at 651-234-0895.




Microprocessor Shortages

What’s Going on With the Microprocessor Shortages?

There is a microprocessor shortage influencing all kinds of businesses around the globe, and it’s only going to get worse following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine produces somewhere between 45 and 54 percent of the world’s semiconductor-grade neon, something which is absolutely crucial to the creation of microchips. The invasion has put a halt to neon-refinement companies Ingas and Cryoin, and as you can imagine, this puts a massive strain on an already struggling supply chain.


This suspension of production has led to even greater uncertainty over the worldwide production of microchips, something which is a huge problem. Smartphones and other devices are in high demand, especially thanks to the supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The past 18 months have seen major increases in both demand and prices for products such as computers, smartphones, cars, and more, all thanks to the decrease in availability of microprocessors. With two of the largest neon manufacturers out of operation, these problems are only going to get worse.


Fortunately, however, these major chip manufacturers keep a stockpile of neon, but it’s likely that this stockpile will be depleted as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict drags on. As such, it’s possible to see shortages in new microchip-run devices and products, and that’s not to mention the increase in price that the demand will cause. In an ironic twist, the Ukrainian neon market is a byproduct of Russian steel manufacturing, so it’s unlikely that the situation will be resolved before this conflict comes to an end.


Russian violence has affected the neon market in the past, like in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a region which was part of Ukraine. This situation resulted in neon prices skyrocketing by 600 percent, and you can bet that consumers ate the costs that this increase produced.


While some large chip manufacturers have been able to make arrangements with distributors to acquire the necessary materials to continue production, smaller manufacturers will struggle to maintain operations if the conflict doesn’t come to an end. It’s possible that this neon shortage could have a significant global impact. Industries and governments could initiate their own neon production, but this production could take anywhere between 18-to-24 months to actually get off the ground, and that’s not even mentioning the massive price tag associated with it. Many are hoping that this conflict is a temporary one so they don’t have to resort to this.


This conflict and the resulting shortage has forced us to reexamine the way we procure technology, but rest assured that we will always work to help your business get the technology it needs to push ever-onward. To learn more about how we can help your business make the most out of its current and future technology acquisitions, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.


IT Budget

Three Ways to Help Your IT Budget Go Further

Running a business can be stressful, and if you can’t find time to juggle the countless variables that are at play every day of the week, you’ll quickly find yourself falling behind what needs to be done. Technology is one such area where falling behind is easy, especially when it comes to purchasing and implementing new tools. Unfortunately, your IT budget is not limitless, so how can you make the most of it? Let’s take a look.

Identify Inefficiencies

When you need to make your investments count, it can often be difficult to make large purchases without a little bit of reticence. You should first determine where your business could benefit from technology spending, then make implementing these solutions a priority. If you can address inefficiencies in your operations, you’ll be more likely to gain more from your technology and, thus, make the investment worthwhile.

For example, if you have ten employees and two of them have two displays, then these two employees are likely getting more work done than the rest of your employees. If you can invest in eight more monitors, then you can exponentially increase productivity for the entire crew, making the investment an excellent way to reduce inefficiencies. There are tons of other ways your business can use this principle to make the most of its technology budget—you just have to think a little outside the box and examine the baseline operations of your infrastructure.

Invest in Training

You can invest in technology, but you can also invest in something which is less likely to break down and require replacing eventually: training. If you purchase new technology or equipment, your employees will need to know how to use it. By ensuring that your employees are properly trained, they’ll be more likely to yield a return on investment for your new technology solutions.


What it really boils down to is that the better your employees are at doing their jobs, the more money they will save you in the long run. By training your employees, you are giving them access to knowledge and tools that will aid them while going about their duties. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Association of Talent Development, companies that invest in comprehensive training programs see 218 percent higher income than those that don’t.


Furthermore, today’s threat landscape is so advanced that your employees will need all the help they can get to avoid falling prey to a hacker or other advanced cyber threat. If you invest in security training now, you can save money by preventing security breaches in the future. Plus, it will help you maintain customer relations; nobody wants to work with a business that doesn’t take security seriously, after all.


Outsourcing can be an effective way to take advantage of goods or services you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. It effectively gives you access to more for less, and it helps to control costs in the budgeting process. In particular, outsourcing technology services can be an effective way to keep your IT in proper working order. Through managed services like those provided by Point North Networks, Inc., you can utilize all kinds of technology solutions that you might otherwise have difficulty implementing with limited resources at your disposal.

One common way that businesses outsource is with their cloud platform, but the cat isn’t out of the bag yet in regards to how much ROI you actually get from implementing it. Still, the fact that outsourcing gives you access to solutions you wouldn’t otherwise be able to manage is more than enough reason to consider it. Outsourcing your cloud, for example, gives you the ability to scale your services per user or per GB used, so you can still leverage the services according to your operational needs.


If you partner with a company like us, you can take advantage of several services designed to help your business thrive and gain value from technology. Here are some examples:

  • Comprehensive backup and disaster recovery
  • Remote monitoring and proactive management of all IT
  • Best in the Twin Cities technology procurement
  • Dynamic cybersecurity tools
  • Patch and licensing management
  • Vendor management
  • And more.

Even without a huge IT budget, your business can be successful and innovative. To learn more about how you can accomplish this, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.