When a small business has the right technology, it can boost sales, customer engagement and the bottom line. On the other hand, the wrong tools can lead to small inefficiencies, which add up to big monetary losses in the long run.
Why do smaller companies waste so much money on IT? Kris Barker, CEO of software asset management company Express Metrix, believes it's because they're trying to use complex, expensive software that's better suited for larger enterprises.
"Small businesses often do not have the technical experience or depth to properly evaluate technology and IT solutions," Barker said. "They search for a solution that will do everything, versus [finding] specific tools to solve specific problems."
The key to reining in your IT budget is to create a well-researched strategy that's appropriate for your company's size, resources and line of business, Barker said. He offered the following five tips to help you save on tech expenditures. [10 Ways to Cut Your IT Budget]
Track your IT purchases. Know what you're spending so you can stay within your budget. You can save money by identifying and reallocating (or discontinuing support on) unused hardware and software licenses.
Know your software inventory and usage. Monitor your software usage as you would monitor your bottom-line growth. There are tools available to help you do this. Consider how concurrent licenses and the addition of mobile devices and hardware platform changes will impact your per-seat/per-machine license use and cost.
Check your data-capture methods regularly to be sure you are capturing the most accurate usage data. Losing track of your usage data is like throwing away money. Initially, you may need to invest in an audit expert or tool to make sure you are on track, but this up-front expense will save you money in the long term.
Take advantage of products designed for SMBs. Many of the new cloud IT solutions on the market are targeted at small businesses. The less you have to manage on-site, the better. Some companies also offer free versions of their products to small businesses.
- Understand your licenses. Software compliance does matter.Don't risk getting hit by hefty fees from software vendors for terms you didn't even know existed, such as "license noncompliance." Let employees know which product licenses you have in-house, enforce peak usage limits and enable wait lists for software that employees need so you don't violate license usage policy. Employees should be crystal clear on how irresponsible usage, particularly with BYOD, may hurt the company financially through fines.
Originally published on Business News Daily.