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There’s only one reason for IT systems to exist in any business, and that’s to add value. What this means will vary by organisation; it could be improving productivity, supporting growth or driving change. Whatever the scenario, the same principle applies. Have a think about your own business – what do you want from your IT resources and are they delivering it?

 

If the answer is ‘no’, then it’s time to look at your technology spend and how you could reduce it. Even if your IT systems are performing well, this is still a useful exercise as even the most profitable organisations can make savings by streamlining their business operations. Here are some useful factors to consider when looking at how you could cut your IT costs.

 

  1. Find and analyse your spend

The first thing to do is identify and break down your IT costs and whether this is money well-spent. Areas to look at include:

  • Do you have multiple applications that perform the same tasks, so you’re spending money on software licences you don’t really need?
  • Do your systems ‘talk to’ each other or does information need to be manually transferred over, for example from a spreadsheet to your accounting software?
  • Are your phone and IT systems integrated, or managed separately with two sets of costs?
  • How much do you spend on consumables, such as printer cartridges, toner and paper?
  • If you manage your IT systems yourself, how much is this costing you in lost productivity and profit? Or if you have an IT support service, how cost-effective is this and how responsive are they to problems?
  • What is the current status of your hardware, for example, leased with a maintenance contract, bought and under warranty, or out of warranty? Will any of your systems need replacing in the near future?

 

Once you have an idea of where your money’s going, you can think about what changes you could make to your IT infrastructure to cut your costs.

 

  1. Migrate to the cloud

Perhaps the biggest cost-saving move you can make is to migrate your IT and phone systems to the cloud. This offers multiple advantages to your business, including:

  • Collaborative and remote working. Your team will have access to your systems and data wherever they happen to be in the world: boosting productivity and reducing travel costs. Files can be shared online and worked on in real time, both internally and with clients – eliminating the need to email multiple versions.
  • Increased security. Your data will be held in the cloud and automatically backed up to remote servers. Whilst you should still backup your data offline as well, this offers an extra layer of protection to your business.
  • Systems integration. Cloud-based technologies are designed to work together seamlessly, so many of your processes can be automated – saving you time and money. VoIP phone technology integrates with your IT infrastructure, removing the need for costly on site phone systems. This frees up valuable office space and lets you make and receive business calls from any location. Call costs and line rental can be cheaper, too.

 

  1. Make the most of free and low-cost technology

There are lots of ways to save money by switching to free and low-cost applications.

Just a few of the free applications to consider include:

  • MailChimp – free email marketing for up to 2,000 contacts
  • Trello – free task management and collaborative working
  • Skype – free audio and video calls to anywhere in the world
  • Scribus – free desktop publishing
  • SurveyMonkey – free online customer surveys

 

  1. Rein in your print costs – or even go paperless

One of the biggest advantages of migrating your IT systems to the cloud is that teams can work together on the same documents in real time, with no need to print files or even be in the same room. Meeting notes can also be taken and shared online in the same way. So depending on the nature of your business, it may be possible for you to go one step further and make your office completely paperless.

 

Of course, this won’t be possible for all businesses. But you might find that you can make some serious cost savings by changing how you print. For example, Jalapeno carried out a print management audit for one of our clients, Carmalor Ltd, and found that most documents were printed in colour rather than black and white. They were also using a range of different printers, so their consumables costs were high. Furthermore, they had no maintenance contracts in place for the hardware.

 

By streamlining their equipment to fewer machines now covered by maintenance contracts, and by changing their printing habits, Carmalor have improved their systems and saved an impressive £1,000 a year. You can read more about this here.

 

  1. Invest in proactive maintenance and monitoring

If a piece of hardware or software fails, the effect on your business could range from minor inconvenience to complete catastrophe. However, the impact of any problem can normally be minimised if it’s picked up at the earliest opportunity. Appointing an IT service provider to carry out regular maintenance and monitor your systems remotely means that many issues can be nipped in the bud before they have a serious effect on your operations.

 

As a result, you’ll minimise costly downtime and disruption to your business, as well as avoiding unplanned expenditure on major repairs or kit replacement.

 

Find out more

Jalapeno Business Services have many years’ experience of helping clients reduce their IT costs and improve the efficiency of their business operations. We can review your current IT set up for free and recommend how you could save money – for free and with no obligation.