Has your company been going over its IT budget lately? Are you planning to upgrade or expand your IT systems, but don’t want to lose in the process? Or do you need to find ways to operate with less budget? The International Data Corporation predicts that IT spending will increase by about 25% as new technologies emerge and businesses scramble to compete. The current challenging circumstances has caused many businesses to look to technology, and to their balance sheeets, to survive and thrive. If rising IT costs are becoming a nuisance, consider these rules for IT cost optimisation that will set things straight.
4 Key rules for IT cost optimisation
Optimisation is about more than just cutting costs and saving a few pounds here and there. It’s about maximising the return on your investment, getting the most out of every pound you put in. With that in mind, we’ve gathered these four maxims that you should apply to your next IT budget.
1. Plan your IT spend
While this may seem obvious to any business manager, IT spending often gets much less planning time than other activities such as marketing or product development. While designing and selling a high-quality product or service are important aspects of any business, without IT infrastructure you may run into obstacles.
What commonly happens is that a business believes its IT is shipshape, and they carry on with the rest of their plans. All goes well until they run into a problem. The website crashes, data gets lost, or important equipment breaks down. These lead to unexpected expenses which could have been foreseen and reduced.
The importance of an IT roadmap
In order to properly plan your IT expenses, you must have an IT roadmap. This document will plot out every IT project, activity, employee training session, and purchase on a timeline. With a roadmap, you can predict upcoming expenses and identify potential trouble spots. Even better, you can plan to implement or launch new features or equipment when business is slow, preventing costly catastrophes.
2. Accurately calculate your IaaS needs
Some expenses are easy to quantify. Ten employees need ten computers: that math is simple. But not all of your IT calculations are so easy, and licensing may not be as flexible as you would like.
It’s important to calculate how much cloud computing power you need, or how much data storage your server should have. Likewise, you should carefully evaluate what your building may need in terms of upgrades. Increasing your network speeds might seem simple, but the costs can quickly inflate based on the number of users. A miscalculation could lead to a situation where you under-allocate resources or have an excess. Each of these poses unique problems.
Moving from IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) to PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) presents unique efficiency opportunities, if you know how it’s done. We believe evergreen IT is a trend that is here to stay, but in addition to this, there are many other ways of approaching cost optimisation:
Risks of under-allocating
Under-allocating is likely to lead to a full shut down at some point, or at least a reduction in productivity. Systems crash when they are overloaded. Employees may end up fighting over available equipment.
What’s more, when you do run into your limits, it’s often more expensive to add capacity in an emergency than it would have been to buy it in the first place. So, you should always buy more than you need, right?
Risks of over-allocating
Over-allocating may not be as risky, but it can also be far more expensive. Ultimately, you pay for more than you use when you over-allocate. That money is going to waste, which is not what we want for cost optimisation.
In general, try to get exactly what you need and use your roadmap to plan expansion and growth. There are many services now that allow you to simply pay for what you use, which can alleviate this problem entirely.
3. It’s all about speed of support
A sluggish PC can probably be tuned up to work as good as new with a little bit of effort. (In fact, one of the most common problems with older PCs is simply that they fill up with dirt and dust. Ten minutes with an air compressor could save you.) Whether the issue is sluggishness or a critical error, there will be times when the user is unable to resolve the issue. Consider how your devices can be supported and managed remotely, and how quickly and easily you would want to be up and running with a new device. Procurement and onboarding can be a major head ache if you are not adequately supported, so consider what visibility your current IT support offers when it comes to provisioning new devices. One of the things our IT support prides itself on is speed of service, with our average ticket response being less than 10 minutes!
If your employees are unable to work effectively due to an issue they have encountered, the time to resolution is critical. 82% of our tickets are resolved at first contact.
Keep a maintenance schedule
You can also keep your IT budget down by scheduling regular maintenance on all machines. Make backups of computers when they are working well so you can restore them quickly. Clean out equipment and evaluate its performance. You may be able to push upgrades back if you extend the life of existing equipment. If you have a third party managing this for you, ask for visibility into your infrastructure and the devices supported. To have a view of the ongoing work will enable you to work collaboratively with your provider to ensure IT objectives are met, and that you enjoy proactive support and consultancy.
If your business is already in the cloud, the upgrades are a thing of the past. However, it pays to periodically assess what you are using, so that you control your environment and avoid spiralling costs due to over provisioning.
We run these assessments both pre-migration and in the course of ongoing optimisation for our clients, so if you find your consumption increasing and you need to get your cloud spend under control, you should consider one of our assessments.
4. Align perfectly with business objectives
The last rule can be the hardest to adhere to. New technology is exciting. With cool designs, sleek exteriors, nifty lighting effects and futuristic features, it’s tough to resist the allure of a brand new toy. With som many other options available, think carefully before spending on hardware.
Whilst new kit is exciting, those flashy features won’t actually end up helping your business, and you’re paying a premium to have them. Yes, some look very cool, but you could get a more powerful computer for much less. A dedicated tech expert will know what you really need, and will be able to not only get it to you quickly, but ensure that it is built and ready.
Better still, the cloud offers you all the functionality and speed you require, and can be provisioned in minutes. Consider why it is that you need hardware, and whether the support and upgrades it requires is a commitment you have an appetite for. In the current climate, and with the enhanced security features and data access controls available, it is difficult to think of a scenario where hardware wins the race over cloud and virtualisation in terms of cost optimisation.
Talk to the Experts
Cost optimisation requires knowledge of the industry and the needs of your business. You know your business, and we know technology. One of our strengths is that we take the time to listen to your business and understand your objectives and your challenges, so that we can be transparent in the recommendations that we put forward. This calls for a sensitivity to business needs balanced with an in-depth vertical expertise. Schedule a consultation with us and put us to the test. We will help you build a budget that will empower your business even during challenging times.