Most decision makers at companies large and small are placing an increased emphasis on IT these days. Unfortunately, with this enhanced focus often comes rising costs, something smaller companies have trouble managing. But what if someone told you that you could cut IT costs without adverse effects in any area?
There’s always some degree of give and take in business. If you spend money or use time in one area, then it typically means that you’re holding back in another area. But this isn’t always the case. Just because you decide to scale back in an area – such as technology – doesn’t mean you have to compromise performance. It’s possible to save money while also being efficient and productive.
The key to cutting costs without compromising is to have a strategy. You need a plan that will allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds. Here are a few suggestions to bear in mind:
Buy Used Hardware
Technology evolves rather quickly – and you don’t want to get left behind – but there’s generally nothing wrong with buying a gently used version of last year’s model. As long as you’re buying from a trusted vendor that stands by its products, you’ll end up on the winning side of the deal more times than not.
As an example, BrightStar Systems sells used transceivers, routers, and switches – backed by one-year warranties – that cost significantly less than brand new options. Because these are name-brand products, you don’t have to worry about performance being an issue. At the end of the day, you’re saving money because you’re willing to forgo the latest releases for a few months or years.
Switch to Cloud Software
The biggest benefit of using cloud solutions is that they’re scalable. You can invest and divest as you see fit over the years. This prevents you from committing too much of your resources at any given moment.
There’s also something to be said for utilizing free software when possible. There are so many free solutions available online that you might be able to strip away a few of your subscriptions and save some money, while actually improving performance in the process.
Encourage Work-From-Home Policies
It may have seemed impractical just a few years ago, but remote working is considered a best practice in today’s market. Not only are Millennial employees demanding flexibility, but the enterprise cost savings can be significant when compounded over dozens or hundreds of employees.
Think about it. When you hire a remote employee – as opposed to someone who comes into the office each morning – you cut back on your need for office space, supplies, equipment, network bandwidth, computers, and more. The savings have the potential to be tremendous.
Prioritize Better Training
When looking at IT, everyone wants to focus on hardware and software investments; it’s easy to place a specific price tag on these expenses. But you should also take into account how you’re utilizing the technology you’re paying for.
If you’re just plugging it in and plowing forward, you’re probably not optimizing efficiency. By prioritizing end-user training, you can get more out of your tech investments and enjoy better performance.
Take Cost-Management Seriously
How are you managing IT expenses? If you’re using a simple formula that takes last year’s spending and adds “X” percentage, you’re being lazy and inefficient. You need a cost-management plan that’s practical and sustainable.
“Build financial systems that create more transparency around ‘good’ costs, those associated with differentiating capabilities, and dispensable ‘bad’ costs, leveraging your culture to increase awareness of the difference,” strategy consultant Paul Leinwand says. “Closely link your budgeting process with your strategic planning process to ensure that differentiating capabilities continue to receive disproportionate investment, while other expenses are tightly managed.”
Are You Prioritizing Performance?
Cutting costs sounds great on paper, but you have to look beyond dollar signs when it comes to managing the long-term health of your business and brand. If you’re cutting costs at the expense of performance, what are you really doing? You’re performing a trade off that will end up hurting your business more than helping it.
The good news is that it’s possible to cut IT costs without hurting your company’s performance. There’s a delicate balance, for sure, but the right strategy can help you find harmony.