Small businesses today rely on Information Technology as an integral part of their infrastructure As technological needs expand, so do IT budgets. However, with the right planning, you can save a lot of money and get more value out of the purchases and services you already have.
Here are 7 tips to maximize the value of your IT Support budget:
Buy refurb. You can cut costs on new laptops, desktops and even servers, sometimes dramatically, buying manufacturer refurbished. Some hardware companies offer hardware that has been returned from customers within the initial return period but cannot be resold as new. Much of this equipment has never even been opened and can usually be bought with the standard manufacturer warranty. These deals offer incredible value that allows you to buy equipment that will last longer within your budget.
Get a floater. Go ahead and purchase a standard laptop or desktop machine that your staff uses to keep on hand to have ready for your next quick hire or broken computer. Spare computers allow you to get an employee back up and working same day while the original machine is being attended to. If your company is growing fast and tends to make quick hires, you will ultimately save a lot of money to buy the right machine ahead of time, ordered from a supplier of choice at a better value than what you will find scrambling to get something locally at the last minute.
Put it in the cloud. If you haven’t already, move services like email and other critical server roles to the cloud. Some business prefer to keep file servers locally when working with large files, but otherwise, most services can be moved to a more economical service provider in the cloud with way less maintenance needs. Check with your software vendors to see if they offer cloud based versions of software you are running locally.
Use Open Source. Appropriate use of open source tools can save tons on licensing and hardware costs. Many open source router, OS and file sharing platforms are now tried and true standards in the industry that offer advanced features otherwise only available with expensive commercial licenses. Many open source varieties of office suite, graphics, and other business applications also now exist that, when appropriate, can save thousands more in licensing.
Get proactive. Fix IT problems before they become bigger. If you are seeing common re-occurring IT issues like network slowness, internet outages, or software glitches, it could be the sign of a large root issue that once solved will increase performance and productivity. Planning ahead, the solutions are often more affordable and easier to fix than waiting until something becomes and emergency. Check in with your staff to find those unreported issues that people have accepted as status quo. We notice when we on-board a client here in Colorado, there are often long standing IT issues that staff has gotten used to over time but are seriously slowing productivity.
Outsource IT. Take IT off your plate and give it to an experienced partner that can solve problems efficiently, give your staff the support they need, and meet with you on status and large decision making. Solving problems fast, effective planning for the future and recapturing time and resources currently being used for band-aid fixes often times more than pays for the investment. Most small companies would need to hire two full time employees to match the service and skill that a small IT firm provides.
The Boulder IT Support blog is written by the staff of True North IT. True North IT is a small business IT Support Company in Boulder, Colorado, providing proactive IT services, tech support, comprehensive monitoring and friendly customer service.