Case Studies

Smart IT Operations Management on a Budget

Fair Trade USA leverages Experts Exchange to manage their global IT operations with just one staff member.

August 23, 2022

About Fair Trade USA

In today’s global economy, consumers are looking for more considerate ways to spend their money. Fair Trade USA works as a promoter of ethical business, linking caring consumers with international goods producers. The globally recognized non-profit organization works with farmers in about 70 countries to certify their products that are sold within the United States.


In order to maximize the benefits the group can provide to the global community, Fair Trade keeps a lean organization. A single employee, Stephen Wilde, is tasked with supporting the entire company’s IT needs.

Stephen’s biggest challenges are quickly finding accurate solutions to a constant flow of technology issues, and learning new technologies in real time. Like many other IT pros Stephen lives with a long list of help tickets and limited hours in a day. In his role, efficiency is critical, as any extra time spent on one issue must be taken away from time spent solving other issues.

And, like most IT managers, Stephen’s personal knowledge base has its limits – no one can be an expert in all technologies. Since Fair Trade works on limited budgets, access to paid consulting is not an option for most problems. And while the web is an easily accessible resource, it presents its own problems. According to Stephen, trying to find a quality solution on the web can often turn into a “wild goose chase,” where significant time is spent looking for a solution, testing it and dealing with unknown consequences. This can set him back days.

The Experts Exchange Solution

Stephen has improved his job performance with Experts Exchange. On Experts Exchange he is able to search over 4 million verified technology solutions, pose questions directly to other IT professionals, and access thousands of community sourced how-to articles and videos. Experts Exchange provides him the broad technology knowledge he needs to support all of his company’s technology needs.

Stephen even uses Experts Exchange off the clock, to help him develop his technology skills. He uses the network to supplement his training for Cisco certification, quickly finding material, instead of sifting through an overwhelming amount of information on Cisco’s website.

“If you go to Cisco’s site, the information is vast, and you need to have exact search query to find what you’re looking for, which can take some time,” noted Stephen, “But if you go to Experts Exchange and search in plain language, you will find very direct answers.”

“A complex technology issue that would take me a couple weeks to work through, can be resolved in a couple days with the Experts.”

-Stephen Wilde

Results Where it Counts

Stephen uses Experts Exchange as the primary resource when dealing with a technology outside of his current skill set. “A complex technology issue that would take me a couple weeks to work through, can be resolved in a couple days working back and forth with the Experts.”

With Experts Exchange, Stephen no longer spends time testing unproven solutions, and, as a result, is able to singlehandedly serve his global organization with the backing of the Expert Exchange community.