Every business is constantly striving to find cost savings in any way it can in order to squeeze a little extra onto the bottom line or present a better value proposition to customers. One area that can so often turn into a money pit is IT.
Without doubt, there is barely a company left on this earth that can survive without an online presence and a reliable and efficient IT infrastructure. But sometimes that means businesses can throw more money at it than is truly necessary. Here, we explore some ways to get those IT costs back under control.
Understand the true cost
The Waterstone Management Group conducted a survey and found that IT costs on average $700 per employee per year. This is a hugely insightful number. What is it for your business and how far can you reduce it?
The complex and layered nature of the average a company’s IT infrastructure can cloak a multitude of hidden inefficiencies and redundancies. You need to be able to strip these away and find a way to measure what everything is actually costing the business – after all, how can you hope to reduce costs until you really understand what those costs are?
Assess all work processes from cradle to grave. That might be from the initial customer contact through to the delivery of the product or service, or however your business operates. Are there any system redundancies? Are some tasks being duplicated? Just how many different software systems are being used to achieve business goals? How many licenses does that mean the company has bought?
The Waterstone survey also revealed that most small businesses use between 18 and 25 software applications to gather customer data, process orders and generally run the business.
Look upstream and assess supplier costs
Where do you buy your hardware, software and consumables such as toners and printer ink? Probably from the same place you have been buying them for years. Look at those prices with a fresh pair of eyes and compare them to those on an online marketplace like Proband.co.uk. As a rule of thumb, it is usually cheaper to purchase from this kind of source, and as it is a professional B2B network, you still get the benefits of all the warranties you would expect from your regular supplier.
You can even use this as a resource for outsourcing your IT support – it really is a one stop shop for all your IT needs, so it’s certainly worth taking a long hard look and seeing how much money it could save you.
Speaking of IT support, whether it comes internally or externally, you need to make smart use of it. Ongoing maintenance of your systems will reduce the likelihood of those system freezes or crashes that can cost you and then cost you again, first in call outs for emergency support and then in delays, cancellations and damaged relationships.
A successful taxi driver takes good care of his car and keeps it running perfectly. Do the same with your IT systems, and it will save you money in the long run.