Tackling Your IT Budget
Staying lean in an unpredictable economy
When trying to assess the economy these days, the word that comes up for a lot of people is “uncertain.” During times like these, businesses naturally look to revisit departmental budgets and find new ways to control costs.
While frugality is never a bad idea, things can get complicated when addressing your IT spend. For many companies, the technology stack is one of the biggest drivers of productivity and profitability, which makes haphazard budget cuts the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. You also must carefully consider how any cuts may affect your ability to protect your company’s data, ensure customer privacy and maintain regulatory compliance.
Here’s how you can address your IT costs intentionally, strategically and most of all safely.
Begin by looking at your existing IT processes, procedures, solutions and systems. Then, ask yourself some hard questions and answer honestly. Which are value-adds and which are value-drains? Be as thorough as possible while doing this inventory. Remember to consider not only the up-front cost of a given software system, but also associated training and maintenance expenses.
Find low-cost alternatives
There is no doubt that software solutions streamline business processes and drive new efficiencies, but they also carry costs that can add up quickly. One potential remedy here is to seek out lower cost alternatives.
Yet when considering lower cost software, always keep that old expression of “You get what you pay for” in mind. One potential downside of a less expensive product is that it may not offer the same sort of robust protections for sensitive data flows or mission critical infrastructure. That’s why you should only deploy this strategy for software that is not involved with securing valuable company assets and does not need to comply with intensive legal regulations.
But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t numerous areas where you could find potential savings! From scheduling assistants to word processors to graphic design platforms, there is no shortage of cost-effective software solutions just waiting to be leveraged online. We even put together an entire blog on the topic where you can get more information.
Consider the cloud
You’ve likely heard a lot about the cloud over the past few years, especially the positive way it can impact your business. When you look at the benefits, it is easy to see why.
Transitioning IT systems to the cloud has been shown to enable a more productive and nimble workforce. You reduce the costly and cumbersome hardware systems you are responsible for. You can also add or remove resources on an as-needed basis. System updates and maintenance are typically handled by the cloud provider following a transition to the cloud.
Of course, transitioning to the cloud can carry some security risks. To mitigate these, carefully vet third-party providers. Ask pointed questions about how they ensure compliance and what they can do to protect data while it is in-use, in-transit or at rest.
If you want to learn more about the benefits the cloud offers to users and businesses, check out our previous blog.
Assess your software licenses
Once you start adding software systems to your business, you can quickly lose sight of how many licenses you are paying for if you are not careful. Any assessment of your IT stack and its associated costs must include a rigorous inventory of who is using what and for what purpose. After you’ve compiled this information, take steps to reduce licensing costs for unused or underutilized applications.
Apply a critical eye to cut IT waste
Operating a lean business and seeking out cost-cutting measures can be a good idea in business, especially in times of uncertainty and upheaval. But when it comes to your IT stack, you need a scalpel − not an axe.
Indiscriminate cuts can set your company back – not move it forward, and not just in terms of lost productivity. Fines, fees, breaches and reputational damage can all result from cutting back on IT solutions that secure your business’s critical systems. The potential consequences of skimping on IT security far outweigh any savings you might achieve.
But by using these tips, you can free up valuable resources to drive greater business growth and innovation without compromising your existing setup.