Information technology can be one of a business’ highest costs. Quite surprisingly, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) like yours spend a larger percentage of their revenue on IT costs than large SMBs do. While the amount of cash itself might be lower, it can mean more of your SMBs’ liquid assets are held in servers and computers.
That’s why you as the business owner may need to figure out exactly how much you’re going to spend on your hardware and software. Better yet, you will need to know how to invest wisely by cutting your costs.
How exactly can you start to save? Don’t worry – we’ve got a handy list of tips and tricks you can start with to greatly reduce your IT costs. Some are easy, some are more difficult, but getting started fast can be critical in maintaining your business afloat.
9 Ways to Save on Your IT Costs
1. Cut Jobs
No one likes to hear this, but the stark truth is that you may need to let some of your staff go. Shaving off staff members who do not contribute their share of input into your business can make a world of difference. Every single employee should pull their own weight and then some. If one tech personnel can do the work of two, raise their salary and keep them – but let the person who was not meeting their standard go. It will be cheaper – so long as you are not overworking or taking advantage of any single employee.
2. Automate Where Possible
If firing people makes you uncomfortable, you have the option of making them redundant by replacing them with automated technology. Today, there are server administration and data conversion software solutions that do the jobs of administrators and analysts – make use of them. A lot of solutions are free, but even the ones that aren’t could quickly end up paying for themselves.
If you don’t happen to be a tech company, it would make perfect sense to outsource your IT department. Hand off the server headaches to someone who is more capable and focus on your main priorities.
4. Move Everything Offsite
Unless you own a large company, it wouldn’t make sense to have your data stored on local servers. Between crashes and mismanagement of your servers, you are bound to bleed some serious money. Why not hire server space from data and web hosting service providers and let them lose sleep over managing it all? You can just sit back and demand that the data flow not be interrupted – however they choose to make that happen is their problem.
5. Go to the Cloud
You can up the ante one more time by taking your data to the cloud. Cloud computing has matured so much in the past couple of years that efficiency and security are now guaranteed. There are cloud hosting service providers that offer the best services at the lowest possible prices.
6. Get Rid of Unused Technology
If you own a business that buys all its software off the shelf, then you’ll need to make sure that every feature of the purchased software is being used. Take stock of all the software you have installed for your business and see which ones are being underutilized or even not used at all. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by not paying for license fees for applications you never use. For solutions that aren’t being fully utilized…
7. Use Free Software
If you still think that the only software worth using is software that you pay for, you are so two-thousand-and-late! Today, there are a myriad of free and open source solutions that you can choose from. If you look hard enough, you will come up with a software package that’ll cover all your demands, from desktop to firewalls and beyond. In most case, these free solutions perform just as well as, if not better than, their premium counterparts. Do a little research and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
8. Make Digital Calls
It’s hard to believe that some companies rely entirely on landlines and their cell phones for their communication needs. Seriously? Who would want to throw money away when there are cheap and even free solutions like Skype for Business out there? With that one solution, included in your Office package, you can kill your communications costs for texting, collaboration, conference calling, and much more.
9. Upgrade and Update Everything
OK, this tip might seem out of place here, but it’s not. The worst thing that could happen to your business is losing all your data and control of your devices because of a hack. If the loss of customer trust doesn’t get you, their lawyers will. Make sure you are all updated and patched to minimize your risk.
In one form or another, these tips should help you cut your costs and increase efficiency. You may not like them, but we can agree that you’ll love the end result: saving money.