Australia, in particular Western Australia, has been faced with an economic downturn mainly due to global commodities pricing falls for major exports and also the completion of massive oil and gas capital projects. These are natural troughs that occur in any economic cycle and as such, businesses should be prepared to be dynamic enough to cope. The IT environment, as one of the most important areas of any well running business, also needs to be able to remain cost effective while still giving businesses a competitive edge.
Here are some methods which can help business achieve competitive advantage through IT:
Review your existing monthly “basics”, bundle services and look for a better deal.
Time to review those service bills you just keep paying. Internet Services provider, Datacentre hosting, Software maintenance, Backup Services – Don’t forget the basics, such as mobile and telco fees!
Are you paying for rack spacing you don’t need? Are you possibly paying for much more internet bandwidth than is required?
Look towards bundling service packages with fewer vendors to score better deals or get quotes from other vendors for services that can be easily moved to save money, such as landline and mobile carriers. And same token, reviewing existing contracts with existing suppliers and vendors can always be very fruitful as they want to retain your business.
Another option is to look at Unified Communications packages. Can you do more communication over internet based services rather than “paid” networks? I.e. voice meetings over Skype rather than traditional Phone Conferences, Voice over IP – VoIP calls are much cheaper than traditional landlines, etc.
Look to extend the ROI for existing hardware
Does that server/switch/router REALLY need to be replaced? Easy way to answer this question is to review whether the piece of equipment is still fit for purpose. For example, does the infrastructure component still has all the capacity and functionality you require and does it still perform well? If the answer is YES then an easy way to get further return on investment is to simply retain the unit and extend the warranty coverage.
Extending warranty on IT infrastructure varies generally around 10-15% of original purchase price and can really provide you good returns on your original purchase costs, while saving capital outlay on buying new equipment.
Swap CAPEX for OPEX by doing things “as a service”
Leading on from the above point, let’s say you have reviewed the part of your environment that has come to end of life and is no longer fit for purpose. Don’t just replace it with capital heavy expenditure. Look to see how you can leverage the same functionality using an “as a service” model.
A very simple example would be a company that requires an upgrade of their old Microsoft Exchange Server hardware and software. Don’t simply replace it, look at Microsoft Office 365. As a business, if you have reduced staffing numbers then you can pay only for what you use if you migrate to Microsoft Exchange Online. This also negates the need for capital purchases of hardware and, best of all, you can scale upwards as required should your business need.
Moving to a hybrid cloud model, which means migrating some of your infrastructure to the cloud, such as using Microsoft Office 365 for emails, and keeping some of your infrastructure on premise allows you to leverage the advantages of cloud whilst retaining some elements of your IT infrastructure on site. This move can result in reducing the cost of some services as well as improving significantly on efficiency.
Similar principles can be used for software licencing, applications hosting and even “hardware as a service” options can assist to minimise expenditure to only what you need.
Have internal IT resources? Possibly time to outsource…
Internal IT staff have always had a place in the IT landscape, especially in companies that have larger staff numbers and want an onsite point of presence or an in-house person steering the ship.
However, if your company has reduced staff numbers in the current climate and does not require that “onsite hands on” approach anymore, but don’t want to drop in quality of service, a Managed Service Provider might be the solution for you.
A Managed Service Provider, such as Bremmar, can be beneficial in two ways:
- You can fully outsource all your IT requirements and receive complete IT support and guidance
- If you have a valuable internal IT resource, you can identify the most costly and time consuming areas for the IT person/team and outsource just a part of your IT.
In either option, a Managed Services Provider can offer full IT support, infrastructure maintenance and monitoring, and advice on strategy for your entire IT environment. The main benefit of Managed Services Support teams is that they will take care of everything for you, or pieces of your IT, for costs lower than employing an in house staff or without the need of expanding your internal IT team.
There are some actions you can take to reduce your IT costs and achieve competitive advantage through IT during moments of economic slowdown. If you are unsure about your IT environment and would like to discuss your concerns with one of our IT consultants contact us on 1300 991 351 or email us on email@example.com. Our consultants are highly experienced and can point you in the right direction of how and when to do an evaluation of your systems.