Maximising your IT spend when times are tight

Maximising your IT spend when times are tight

Feeling the financial squeeze? It can be tricky to juggle competing demands but one area you can stay in control is by effectively utilising your IT resources. To help, we’ve put together some suggestions for SMB’s to reduce costs and get the most value from their IT investment when the budget is tight.

Review your current IT spend

Before making any changes, audit your existing expenses to pinpoint areas where costs can be trimmed without compromising productivity. A few areas you can start with are:

  • Software licenses: Are you paying for unused or redundant licenses & subscriptions?
  • Server hardware: Do you have a server on site? You could be paying more than you need to maintain aging hardware when a cloud-based server could suffice.
  • Devices: Are the devices your team use fit-for-purpose? You shouldn’t have aged devices that can cause performance issues for your team. With wages one of your biggest expenses, having your team wait for old tech isn't commercially viable.
  • Cloud Services: Look closely at the inclusions you’re paying for. Are you using them all? Do any overlap? You may be able to optimise usage, or even get a discount if you commit to a longer subscription term with a single provider.

Base your IT strategy on your business goals

No doubt your goals are centred around growth, efficiency, customer satisfaction & employee wellbeing, so you should have an IT strategy underpinning them that keeps you focused and on track. A few areas you can draw alignment are:

Look for cost effective options

  • Device as a Service (DaaS): A subscription-based service for your laptops and PC's can ease cashflow without hindering productivity.
  • Cloud Services: You can free up more than just space with subscription-based options, that require less maintenance and reduce upfront costs. SharePoint data storage within a Microsoft 365 subscription is the way to go for many SMB’s, with alternatives like Azure available for businesses with bespoke infrastructure needs.
  • Virtualisation: Best discussed with your IT provider if you have one, you could consider a virtual machine to consolidate your server/s which in turn reduces your hardware expenses.

Consolidate your suppliers and the services you need

  • Ask for a better deal: You could save money if you can bundle the services you need with a single supplier. You should also compare prices from alternative suppliers to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money, and ask for a better deal if you’re not, or switch.
  • Managed Services Providers (MSPs): If you’re not already, outsourcing all your IT needs to an MSP will save you money, but more importantly your time so you can focus on your business instead. Look for a provider with tech maintenance, monitoring, support and advice included at a minimum.

Make sure preventative maintenance is switched on

Regular maintenance minimises the risk of costly downtime. If you don’t have an MSP looking after your IT, you should create a schedule for updates, patches, and system checks.
Just as important is making sure your employees report any issues they come across so problems can be contained and you can resolve them sooner.

Educate your team in cyber security

Human error is said to account for somewhere between 80-95% of all cyber incidents globally.

Cyber criminals are fast becoming more sophisticated in their efforts, but the two biggest risks continue to be:

  • phishing schemes – using social engineering to seek out personal and financial information then leverage it for access to your data
  • malware – emails with attachments and links that when clicked on can cause damage or loss of access to your data

Educating your team on the basics of cyber security will go a long way to better protect your business. We have a library of free education on our website that will help your team.

Automate tasks

Have a think about any repetitive tasks you could automate. It will save you time and cut down on the risk of human error. A couple of examples:

  • Switch from manual to automated data backups: You’ll never risk forgetting and it will give you some time back in your day while it runs in the background.
  • Preventative maintenance: As mentioned earlier, it will minimise the risk of downtime, but take it one step further by automating your process. Configure the settings, auditing & reporting for the apps you use so the software is automatically updated to the latest, most secure version.

Outsourcing vs in-house

While you might save money by keeping your IT in-house, it can eat into your time which could be spent on revenue-generating work. Weigh up the time-cost and compare it to the cost of outsourcing. Along with maintenance & support, you’re also investing in an advisor that can help with a tech strategy aligned to your business goals.

Long term planning

Doing everything all at once isn’t financially viable, so prioritise, budget for and invest in technology based on a long-term plan in collaboration with your business goals. A few things to consider:

  • Device lifecycle: upgrading your devices is inevitable, so find out how old they are and budget for replacements over time.
  • Subscription growth: If you’re planning to grow your business then it’s highly likely your technology subscriptions will need to keep up.
  • Cyber security: Business owners & leaders that don’t put ongoing effort into cyber security risk facing legal and financial consequences. Make sure cyber is included in your planning.

We get the financial challenges many SMB’s face. Working with thousands of customers that keep a close watch on spending and the value gained from every dollar invested, we understand what’s important from a business perspective and so we’ve created technology solutions that meet them where they’re at. While we hope some of the suggestions above will be helpful, please reach out to our team if you’re feeling overwhelmed. We can streamline your technology spend in alignment with your business goals.

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