Regardless of austerity and the economic outlook, small businesses need to keep an eye on the bottom line. IT is one area where, without diligence, costs can quickly spiral out of control.
So how do businesses find effective ways to decrease IT costs?
Replace old hardware
With energy prices shooting up year after year, it might be worth looking at how much energy your desktop computers, printers and servers are using. An old server may have given your organisation many years of service, but a new one is going to be so much more power-efficient.
On top of that, virtualisation can replace multiple servers by having many operating systems run on the same piece of hardware. Newer servers can handle virtualisation out of the box with special virtualised extensions to processors to carry out such tasks more effectively than older hardware.
Desktop computers with CRT monitors can also by replaced with cheaper-to-run laptops. This also gives your employees to ability to take work home or work away from the office.
Turn off equipment
Many employees rarely switch off equipment at the end of the day, and even if no application is being used, the PC still consumes energy.
Get the last person leaving the office to switch off desktop computers and monitors. You can also consider buying a device that powers down a computer if it sits idle for a length of time.
Use free software
New office software can cost a great deal of money every time you buy a new computer. So ask yourself this question – could free software do the same job?
Libre Office is an open source productivity suite to rival Microsoft Office. If it does everything you want, you can cut costs by downloading and using that instead of a paid-for productivity suite.
Use the cloud
Some firms are now ditching servers for services on the cloud. Do you need an in-house email server or would a cloud-based email server offer better value for money? Could your CRM system be ported from hardware in your organisation to the cloud via a software-as-a-service offering?
This move from capital expenditure (Capex) to operational expenditure (Opex) is sure to make your accountant happy. Google Drive offers a cloud-based alternative to Microsoft Office and for most small businesses this is completely free.
Use VoIP instead of a phone line
It's tempting to think you need multiple phone lines in your office, but sometimes it is better to use a service such as Skype to call colleagues and clients. If they use the same service, the call is usually free. Some offer videoconferencing and screen sharing, cutting travel costs.
How much internet do I need?
Many companies think they need an all-you-can-eat internet connection when in reality all they send are a few emails a day. An investigation of different ISPs can find you a cheaper deal that means you are not paying for a service you don't really need.