With government bodies across the globe wrestling to keep inflation under control and grumbles of recession growing louder, many businesses are set to face a period of considerable economic pressure.
To help weather the turbulence, businesses are scrambling to find ways to cut back on costs. And, naturally, as a large contributor to expenditure, technology budgets are coming under review.
With this in mind, TechRadar Pro spoke to CTOs from various industries, who highlighted the best areas of the technology stack to target for savings. In this edition, we focus on reining in the cost of investing in and developing software.
Audit commonly used features and consolidate them
No matter the industry, the associated software market is inevitably vast and could overwhelm those who aren’t necessarily sure what they need in a particular solution. The risk is that businesses may overinvest.
Graeme Curtis, CTO at cybersecurity service company Adarma has spoken about the need for organizations to avoid investing in several software solutions. He says it’s all about resource management, looking for free and open source (FOSS) solutions, and nurturing great talent in IT.
"There are a few ways CTOs can make the most of their resources, without compromising on security posture,” he told us.
“The first is to take advantage of the security capabilities already included in the products that the organization uses. For instance, Microsoft E5 licenses include features such as insider risk management, Microsoft Defender for endpoints etc.”
“If the organization’s IT resources are sufficiently and technically literate, it would be worth replacing expensive proprietary tooling with open source alternatives.”
“In large organizations, many departments will use disparate tooling for what is essentially the same function (e.g. data mining or work scheduling). These toolsets could potentially be rationalized, leading to savings in both technology as well as staff time as it minimizes system operation/maintenance requirements.”
Communicate changes to software processes across the organization
Echoing Curtis, Agur Jõgi, CTO at sales CRM software company Pipedrive, spoke about the consequences of not consolidating the software ecosystem, and of the importance of communicating and mandating changes across an organization.
“First, if your company is a mature start-up or early-stage scale-up, you probably use many different software to solve the same task. Some teams use Jira and some Trello to manage their backlog. Some use Confluence for document management and others Notion,” he said.
“This creates inefficiency and leads to confusion regarding the location of data. Sooner or later, this confusion must be eliminated because without clear rules the ‘zoo’ of tools grows with employees when each brings their favorite ‘pet’. Though, you should be careful with that, as with poor communication those decisions may reduce motivation.”
He also discussed the pitfalls of an organization not communicating effectively whilst developing its own software designed for consumer use, like home security or finance software, and the importance of communication between research and development and the customer service department to ensure that no time is wasted while developing a great product that customers love using.
“Most companies providing IT services regularly conduct customer meetings and market research. Based on this they decide development plans and resourcing. Significantly fewer companies include both research and information from the customer support team on an equal footing when roadmap planning. If you develop a product solely on the basis of customer support information then your product will always be backwards facing. If you develop only based on research it’s easy to develop a beautiful product, but customers might not be ready to pay for it.”
Automate software processes
We’re still a very long way from software completely replacing a human workforce, but it’s important to stress that software is there to make employee lives easier and save everyone time. After all, time is money.
Moreno Carullo, co-founder and CTO at cybersecurity analytics company Nozomi Networks, is a big proponent of automation, and suggests that one of the best ways for a business to save money is to ensure that its information systems communicate and work with each other. This is another reason consolidating software into one ecosystem is an important step.
“Technology is great as it helps to get things done quicker, and in principle with less human effort. There are, however, several opportunities to make sure that technology is also efficient in terms of costs: the most generic advice is to become ‘automation obsessed’.”
“Leveraging automation allows [businesses] to be more efficient when building software [to offer as a product to consumers], but also to create an interesting environment for software engineers, that are inspired to detect and avoid repetitive human work [for companies using software].”
“Automating the interaction between systems often requires a modern software engineering approach, where again automation plays a key role [...] to guarantee that everything works and continues to work despite software updates, changes, etc.”
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