The world of computers and technology has always been a fast moving one. Whatever you buy this month will most likely have been replaced by something better, faster and probably cheaper next month.
For smaller businesses looking to make sensible decisions, this is a problem. But not having effective information technology is an issue too. So what can you do to keep down costs but also make sure you don’t get left trailing in the technology race?
The first thing is to buy the right equipment. It’s always possible to buy cheap desktop computers or servers from obscure brands or online sellers. However, remember the old adage, “buy cheap buy twice”. It’s better to buy a machine from a reputable brand that comes with a decent warranty and maybe even a service agreement too.
In addition, you should always plan ahead. If you can afford it, buy a more powerful machine than you think you need, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you absorb the extra capacity. Look too at how upgradable the machine is in practice. Is it possible to add extra memory or more storage at a later date? It’s important to look at the compatibility of your systems too. Sticking to a smaller number of suppliers means you can always swap faulty machines out easily or cannibalise older systems for spares.
You can apply a similar approach to buying your internet and telephone services. Always look at how expandable the system is to cope with business growth. It’s also worth considering bundled deals for phone and internet, this simplifies things by ensuring that you’re dealing with just one supplier and getting a single invoice each month.
Whether you are managing your own support in-house or outsourcing it to a specialist, you can make savings by centralising some of the functions. For example, if your antivirus and security software is centrally managed, it avoids the need for a technician to visit every machine and ensures that you’re better protected against the latest threats. Mobile device management software can let you control and secure your company smartphones and tablets too.
The same logic applies to applying patches and updates to the operating system and network hardware. Equally with backups, doing them centrally to a cloud service ensures that, in the event of a failure, you will minimise the amount of data that’s lost.
Policies and plans
As any business grows beyond more than a handful of people, you also need to look at applying acceptable use policies for your IT.  You might want to limit web use during the working day for example. Personal surfing not only costs you in terms of lost productivity, but it also puts your systems at greater risk of viruses and cyber attacks.
As your business expands, it also becomes more important to have a long term plan for IT. Are there some office systems that would be better automated, for example, or do you risk adding complication? By having a plan for your IT development you are less likely to find yourself spending on non-essential items. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be flexible if something unexpected comes up, but having a plan will help you manage your cash flow and define your priorities.
No two businesses are ever exactly the same and you will have specific technology needs that perhaps others don’t. However, if you fail to address your IT needs in a structured way, whether you’re outsourcing or handling them in house, then you could end up spending more than you need and not getting the best from what you do spend.
Give Cloudworks a call and we can discuss the best IT strategy to fit your business and maximise your budget. Whether you have an onsite IT team or are looking to fully outsource, we can tailor our services to suit you and deliver a return on investment.
Call us on 0115 824 8244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.