Knowledge, Ideas and News

Eight Intelligent Ways to Reduce IT Costs During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing a huge impact and bringing uncertainty to most 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 and imposition of 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 eight ideas of how to cut costs and make the most of your IT during this downturn.

 

Click on a term to read more about it:

  • Review and inventory your software licenses and stop paying for software you don’t need. This can save a lot in unnecessary spending in the case of reduced staff.
  • Pause systems (servers, software, networks) that are not being used.

For example, we’ve had clients that shut down the offices temporarily and laid off most of the staff. So, they set up the remaining staff to work remotely. Pausing systems saves money in a variety of ways, including reducing electricity consumption; and costs to monitor and maintain IT equipment.

If you have planned to upgrade slower computers and are worried about productivity you can think about:

 

  • Install new SSD drives and more memory instead to speed up existing computers.
  • Provide dual monitors to staff so they can complete tasks more efficiently.
  • Upgrading existing workstations to laptops so staff can work both in the office and at home.

Third party cloud applications can yield cost savings on licensing, support requirements and equipment purchases. It also can be faster and use less staff time to setup and implement.

 

Custom Software solutions can also help you cut costs and be more efficient with staff training and meet your business needs more accurate.  Read our article on this topic.

 

The key to deciding between a third-party application and custom software is to do a business case review to determine which approach makes the most sense.

 

  • Using third party cloud applications can yield costs savings on licensing, reduce support requirements and eliminate equipment purchases.

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 their annual licensing fees.

 There are lots of finical benefit to gain with self-hosting your business applications or moving to cloud solutions or moving to a different cloud solution. You can benefit from cloud-based solutions by considering:

 

  • Reduced hardware maintenance and licensing costs
  • Reduced monitoring and electricity for maintaining servers in your office
  • Reduced bandwidth. When your staff works from home, they will need to access your business applications over the internet which will increase your bandwidth needs

There are many things to consider with making the decision about where to host your business applications and working out with your IT team will help make the right choice for you.

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   

Some companies take comfort in having IT contractors work on site. But this increases costs. If you have your provider on-site three days/week, try to cut back to two days/week and have them spend the other day working remote. It’s unlikely to have any impact on delivery and support and will cost less.

Many businesses are getting creative while trying to meet physical distancing requirements. Video conferencing is a great tool that allows your business to keep running and your staff to work remotely. There may be some short-term costs for licenses and setup, but you may see reduced travel expenses and freed up time for increased productivity.

There can be opportunities to reduce your costs by talking with your IT providers. 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 what kind of discounts they can provide.

 

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. If you have a great IT provider, find a win-win situation to receive the service you need with a fair approach (see section #8 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.