Knowledge, Ideas and News
The COVID-19 outbreak has been causing a huge impact and bringing uncertainty to many industries. More than ever, businesses need to invest in effective ways to control their finances.
We’ve been fielding calls from many clients asking: “How can I shave IT costs without increasing risk and putting my company at a disadvantage?”
With the COVID-19 spread, it has imposed long-lasting containment measures, like lockdowns and physical distancing. Reducing short-term costs and making smart IT investments has become crucial to keeping businesses running.
Here are several ideas to think about when it comes to cutting costs and making the most of your IT during this downturn.
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Many businesses are getting creative while trying to maintain physical distancing requirements. Our clients are asking us for options that allows them to maintain security and provide flexibility for staff while working at home. It is important to review your remote security setup to make sure you are not compromising security and productivity.
- Review with your IT team about the remote connections for home users and make sure it meets your security needs.
- Make sure any personal device has antivirus software running to protect your business information and work.
- With more people working from home it can increase bandwidth usages for your business. Talk with your Internet Service Provider about changes to your office and see if there is a better internet plan that saves money and increases your bandwidth.
- Review your communication methods with your team to make sure everyone is being productive and focused. Look at tools like video conferencing and chat programs like Microsoft Teams.
Remember, protection and prevention always saves time and money.
Doing a review can make sure your business is not oversubscribing and make sure you are only paying for the services you need.
- Review all your licenses for services like Office 365 and accounting software. You can reduce the number of licenses you have to meet the current staff that is working.
- Review your email accounts. Emails accounts for laid off staff can be forwarded to other staff members and this may provide additional cost savings.
- Can you shut down or suspend any computers that are not in use? This will save money with electricity, hardware maintenance and monitoring, and in some cases licensing fees if servers are hosted in the cloud.
- Review your internet and phone services. Reduce any services that make sense so it can match your current staffing needs.
Conducting a network and licensing review can help identify areas that can be trim spending and improve cost savings.
Hardware gets old, works slowly and breaks down. We had lots of conversations with our clients about what are the best financial options when choosing between upgrading an existing workstation or buying a replacement. They want the best options that is cost effective and doesn’t negatively impact productivity for their staff.
- Get an initial assessment from your IT team to get the right information to help choose so you aren’t wasting time and money.
- Look at their work requirements and make sure the existing computer meets their needs. Make sure it is powerful enough for the kind of work the staff does.
- Look at installing new SSD drives and adding memory. Older systems can get a performance boost with those simple upgrades
- Reallocate under-used computers in your office
- Setup dual monitors for staff so they can complete tasks more efficiently
- Upgrade existing workstations to laptops so staff can work more flexibly, both in the office and at home
Sometimes the user may have a slow system, but it is due to too many programs or malware on the computer. Sometimes there are simple fixes that can be done at anytime by your IT team to speed up existing computers, so it is great to have it checked first.
The math is simple. Less hardware means less fees. Reducing servers provides you with the opportunity to:
- Reduce your licenses
- Reduce your electricity
- Reduce the number of servers you need to monitor and maintain
- Reduce the strain on your hardware which may reduce the cost of upgrades and repairs
Bring in your IT team to review your network and talk about what servers and services can be reduced or suspended to help save money.
Some companies find it easier to have their IT contractors come on site. This increases costs and increases risks with COVID-19. If you have your IT team onsite three days a week, try cutting back to two onsite visits a week and have them work the other day remotely. It shouldn’t have any negative impact on the IT support and delivery, and you will find it cost less.
Talk with your IT team about how you can get IT support remotely and reduce the onsite visits.
COVID-19 can offer a great time for businesses to review their workflow and look at different options to improve their productivity. Choosing between a Third-Party application and building a custom software solution is complicated and hard to know which option is the most cost-effective option.
Third-Party cloud applications can offer initial savings on licensing, support requirements and equipment purchases. It also can seem to be faster to time to setup and implement.
Custom Software solutions can have long-term cost saving benefits, can be more efficient for staff training, and meet your business needs more accurate. (Read more about Custom Business Apps.)
The key to deciding between a Third-Party application and Custom Software is to do an assessment to determine which approach makes the most sense.
- Consider your requirements. Do you need any addons or customizations to adapt a third-party application? Addons and customizations can increase the cost of third-party applications
- Review the licensing structure for the Third-Party solution. Subscription costs maybe more expensive over the long term versus a Custom Software solution
- Involve key staff members when assessing software applications. This can prevent wasted time and investment by choosing the wrong option
- Talk your IT team and get their expert advice. Often, they can help identify pitfalls and things to avoid.
We have seen situations where clients are spending significantly more for third party applications with limited customization for their workflow. In one case we determined that our client could have a custom software solution that worked exactly the way they wanted for less than the annual licensing fees for the third-party solution.
There can be opportunities to reduce your costs by talking with your IT team. Find out if there are incentives for long-term contract commitments or if there are any potential discounts to help with your IT expenses. Talk about options to prepay for services and if there are any incentives.
There are win-win approaches to reducing vendor fees without creating long term resentment.
Before we wrap up this post, we’d like to offer a few ideas on actions to avoid which can create risks for your business; and lead to negative long-term impacts.
- Don’t grind suppliers and ask them to do the same amount of work (or more) for less money.If you have a great IT provider, find a win-win situation to receive the service you need with a fair approach (see “Sign on to longer contracts” above as an example).
- Don’t cut corners on IT maintenance and monitoring or avoid necessary upgrades.You still need your IT to perform efficiently and reliably. In tight economic times, where you’ve laid off staff, you’re asking your existing staff to do more with less. Potential downtime can cost more and be very damaging if important IT maintenance or upgrades are cut.
We hope that you can apply some of these ideas to reign in IT during the current downturn in the economy (and let’s all remember – it’s a cycle and we’ll recover!). If you need some support to evaluate cost savings opportunities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.