For most businesses, IT represents an enormous part of their budget – but without those IT systems, many modern companies simply cannot hope to deliver their service or products in a sustainable and productive manner.
So, money has to be spent – but the question is; are you spending it in the right places?
Aside from IT-specific organizations, many small businesses don’t realize there are options when it comes to IT – and many of those can see your business saving a LOT of money. We’ll walk you through 7 areas where you could potentially be keeping your money in the bank…
Leasing your equipment
An increasing number of hardware suppliers are now offering extremely affordable leasing deals for a huge range of devices – from laptops and desktops to storage servers and large-scale infrastructure.
Leasing is fairly simple, you’ll generally have to make a small upfront payment (usually the equivalent of one month’s lease) and your lender might want to do some credit checks on your business – but assuming those are okay, you could be taking delivery of an office worth of equipment soon after.
Of course, you’ve got a monthly payment to make, but this is generally far more affordable than making a huge overall payment up front. Now, long-term, you might find that leasing is more-costly, but for cash flow purposes, it often makes sense for you to keep money in the coffers to allow for other opportunities.
The other great thing about leasing is the ability it gives to scale up quickly if needed. There’s no need to budget for scaling, simply extend your agreement to account for the additional equipment you require.
Implementing a BYOD policy
As far as money saving tips go – this one is likely to divide opinion, but it’s a got a host of benefits that are worth listening to.
BYOD stands for ‘bring your own device’ and is the name given to the practice of allowing/encouraging employees to use their own laptops, mobiles and other computing devices in their daily work role.
Naysayers suggest BYOD policies allow for gaps to appear in your data security measures – and this could be true – so making sure you’ve got practices in place that keep your business protected is an important part of introducing BYOD, but if you do, you’ll find increased productivity (as employees tend to be more comfortable on their own machines) and huge business-wide savings on hardware outlay.
Operating without paper
If you can cut your paper use entirely you’re not only going to be ticking a big box for the environmental status of your company – you’re also going to save a huge amount of money on paper-related devices, such as printers, scanners, and copiers.
It used to be that the idea of ‘paperless’ was more novelty than a genuine possibility – but with the last 10 years seeing huge increases in use and function of phones and tablets, the idea of operating with not much more than some notepads and sticky-notes is now a reality.
Implement paperless policies across your business and you’ll see big savings on devices – as well as huge on-going savings on costly consumables.
Using a managed service provider
IT networks can be expensive – and that cost can be multiplied upward on a monthly basis if you need to take a team of people on to maintain and support the use of that IT system.
This cost is somewhat unavoidable – that is, unless you’re willing to use a managed service provider (MSP). An MSP effectively operates like your own outsourced IT departments – and will get involved with your business from the planning stages onward, helping you to design systems, practices, policies and much more.
Your business is unique – which means you’ll need a unique service level agreement from the company you choose to use for your IT outsourcing, so don’t settle for just any MSP – do some research and working out exactly what you need from an MSP – before bringing some in to see if they can deliver. If you find a company you’re happy with, you’ll potentially save thousands each year in IT support running costs.
Opting for subscription-based products
It used to be that buying software involved purchasing ‘up front’ licences – so, if you needed 10 copies of Microsoft Windows, you’d be paying for 10 licenses before you powered up your machines.
If you needed to scale up, you’d have to spend more money – and, when the time was right to move onto the next operating system – it was time to put your hand in your pocket again.
Now, software is moving swiftly toward being purchased entirely differently. ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) is now the way most people opt to access a lot of the applications they need – essentially a monthly subscription service where you access only what you need – and do so via the cloud, meaning you’re always using the most up to date version of the application.
Using ‘as a service’ products aren’t limited to software either, an increasing number of suppliers are making their development platforms and even virtual infrastructure services up for grabs on a ‘pay as you go’ style basis. If cash flow is tight, accessing only what you need, when you need it, makes a lot of sense.
Futureproofing your purchases
Spending money to save money might sound like the false economy – but with that rate at which tech moves, it’s always worth looking at what’s just around the corner before you commit to a purchase that may need replacing within months – or even weeks!
This is where research is invaluable – especially when you see products dropping in price – this is sometimes an indication that manufacturers are clearing the way for their next generation of hardware.
Projection is important here too – if you can 100% say that the level of technology you’re looking at will deliver what you need for the foreseeable future, then go for it – and save money at the front end of the transaction. However, if it looks like you’re going to need to stay at the cutting edge so IT can keep up with what you’re doing, then spending a little bit more, but not needing to upgrade soon could keep money in the bank further down the line.