It’s an unfortunate truth that squeezed IT budgets are commonplace in all sorts of businesses – it’s all too common for in-house information technology teams to be expected to do more with less. There are always ways to achieve efficiencies in any business functions … but is it really possible to reduce your IT spend without compromising on progress and, more significantly, without conceding competitive advantage? Here are some simple and safe ways that you might want to consider cutting your IT budget.
- Open source software. One of the easiest ways to save on your software spend is to adopt open source alternatives to software that you currently pay to license. For example: save on Microsoft Office products by switching to a free office package such as LibreOffice, which is compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, and offers most of the same functionality.
- Consider second-hand hardware. Purchasing pre-owned equipment can go against every natural instinct of an IT But the fact is that some types of equipment (for example cables, routers, and switches) have a pretty long shelf life, and this can be a good way to cut down your information technology budget.
- Virtual servers. When it comes time to repair or replace your servers, opt for virtualization instead. More and more businesses are doing this anyway, as virtual servers allow for quick, easy and secure off-site backup and retrieval.
- Get on board with Google. Google offers an incredibly diverse and flexible suite of business support tools for enterprises of all sizes. From email services to cloud storage and collaboration tools, there are many ways that Google can help you to streamline your processes and trim your IT Also consider replacing employee laptops with Google Chromebooks, effectively removing the need for local storage and antivirus licenses.
- Be frugal with your information technology resources. Old IT equipment all too often just ends up being thrown away, but always look for other ways that it can serve you first. Can an item be repaired or repurposed to be used in some other capacity within your business – even just as a backup spare? Is it in good enough condition to sell on eBay? Can you donate old hardware, for example to a local school or community center, perhaps even qualifying for a tax write-off in the process?
- Go green. Your IT department might not be directly responsible for paying for the electricity it uses, but adopting eco-friendly policies can help cut costs across the business. Consider changes such as enabling PC power down for devices not in use, moving to thin-client devices and installing more efficient power supply units. Investigate where efficiencies might be achieved by consolidating equipment such as servers and printers, as well as virtualization options that may allow you to eliminate on-premises hardware.
- Prioritize your spending. A necessary step whenever a budget is being cut: look at your current and planned future spending and prioritize items ruthlessly and realistically. Understanding what items are essential and which can be done without will make it easier to decide which areas of your budget can be tightened.
- Involve staff at all levels. If you are a business owner or IT manager, you might not have an intimate understanding of every last item on your budget; so talk to those who do. Discussing costs with the individuals who deal directly with certain types of hardware, software or services will help you to better understand where savings might potentially be made.
Many information technology support teams already feel that they are at the limits of their budget allowance, and a request from on high to cut costs further can come as a shock. But the tips given above will provide a solid starting point to allow you to look at where savings and efficiencies can be achieved, and budgets trimmed accordingly.