Steps businesses can take to control IT costs to turn their IT investment into a strategic asset:
- Standardize hardware and software as much as possible throughout your organization. This reduces the complexity of systems and applications, making them easier to maintain, manage and upgrade. Define a set of software packages you need conduct business and limit systems to those packages. Keeps versions standard across the company.
- Use business computers for business use only. Clearly state company policies regarding appropriate and inappropriate use of computers in your company. Downloading of music, file sharing software, and other applications can inadvertently lead to virus or spyware being downloaded on the computers, that may harm your company network and lead to expensive repair costs and possible data loss.
- Keep spam, virus and spyware protection up-to-date on all computers. You need to make sure that all the systems have security software they are supposed to have and are set and maintained at the appropriate security settings. Use automation for regular updating and patching of computers.
- Invest in hardware with future needs in mind so that the systems can support your business growth for sometime. Plan for growth and invest wisely. The last thing you want to do is scramble to update your infrastructure during rapid growth.
- Research your technology solutions before you buy. Invest in industry leading products. With so many vendor options available for any technology, it is very tempting to buy the cheapest solution especially if it promises almost the same feature set. However, the initial purchase is on 1/5th total cost of ownership. It is important to consider the operating and support costs as well. Major vendors generally have the financial means and experience to support their product properly. This is especially important if your business does not have experienced in-house IT personnel to deal with the support issues. Establishing and maintaining relationships with your IT vendors plays an important role in keeping your systems running smoothly.
- Consider Cloud services for your business. Nowadays even small startups can use the latest technologies by taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing. What was once in the realm of larger enterprises is now well within the range of small businesses. The cloud offers advantages of scalability, access to latest technologies and affordability that does not require capital expense up front.
- Have a really good Backup and Disaster recovery plan. Mission critical data needs to be backed up regularly and the back up systems should be tested regularly to ensure data integrity. Have a documented plan for system recovery in the worst case scenario to minimize downtime, loss of critical data and revenue.
- Perform regular maintenance on network and computers. Your IT systems are the heart of your business. Keeping them running smoothly will save a ton of money from emergencies.
Author: Sameer Sule a Business Technology Consultant at Kinara Insights. He helps his clients understand and use technology to successfully grow their business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org