IT Department. It’s a phrase that has the potential to strike fear in the hearts of many a small business owner or entrepreneur. Navigating your technology needs can be a tall order for those who don’t have a tech background. Figuring out how to keep IT costs under control can be an even bigger challenge.
BusinessNewsDaily got some great cost-cutting advice from small business owners, authors and consultants that just might help you breathe easy.
Our video conference capabilities have not only trimmed our travel budget between offices, but have allowed us to connect to our customers both foreign and domestic with an efficiency we have never experienced. On more than one occasion, these capabilities provided us with the ability to get the resources we need virtually in front of the client without ever leaving the office.
-- Stephen Held, Leo A Daly
Use Google Apps as a replacement for Microsoft Office. It is significantly cheaper, especially considering how small a piece of the functionality of Office most people use. Now that you have friendly Office productivity apps in place, start using Linux on your new desktop and laptop PCs when it comes time to replace them. Nobody is going to complain, since they are doing most of their work in a browser, and Ubuntu (my OS of choice) is as clean and simple to use as any Windows 7 machine for all the remaining desktop tasks a user may have. And with that, you save on buying licenses for resource- and wallet-hungry virus scanners.
--Phil Ayres, Consected
It may sound counterintuitive, but the total cost of ownership of a computer under someone's desk includes not only the cost of the machine (and memory and hard drive and software) but the cost to power it and cool the office from the heat it generates. Add monitors, external devices and larger server class machines to the mix, and the power costs for running machines can get quite high. Replacing a five-year- old computer may cost you $500, but you generally get a faster, more capable machine, you can probably get a flat-screen, low-power LCD monitor included, and you can go from a 550 watt device to a 230 watt device and cut your energy consumption in half. This is more than saving money, it's "going green."
-- Eric Loyd, Bitnetix
Hosting an internal mail server can be a huge source of time, frustration and expense. Maintaining e-mail typically requires its own dedicated staff members or division; that is why Mad Sprocket uses Google Apps for all of our business-related needs. Gmail is a high-quality mail application that is free for up to 50 users. Google Docs allows for employees to work on and export most major file types (.doc, .xsl) in a shared hosted environment. This replaced our need for a document repository or shared file storage.
-- Garun Vagidov, Mad Sprocket
Cable Internet. Cable Internet providers like Comcast and Time Warner have been busy extending their coverage area to include many office buildings, and they offer incredible savings over traditional T1 Internet providers. We recently switched a client from a $1,700 per month 10 Mbps connection to a 22 Mbps connection from Comcast that costs just $99 per month, a savings per Mbps of 97 percent.
-- Martin Dunsby, Hybridge IT
Web-based productivity and collaboration solutions remove the requirement for resource intensive Sharepoint or Exchange setups. Consider moving to an all-in-one small business management software suite where you can combine CRM, project management, documents, help desk and more into the single platform.
--Daniel Barnett, WORKetc
We save money by using one service, Jaya123.com, for all our back-office tasks. Jaya is a Web service that we pay a small monthly fee to use and we use it for all our invoicing and tracking of clients. Jaya has many very useful reports, so when tax time comes, we run a few of their reports and we have everything we need for filing.
-- Mayapriya Long, Bookwrights Design
Ban retail IT purchases and create accounts with the distribution channel. At one well-known retailer, simple products such as network patch cables can be five times more expensive than through larger distributors. Get rid of ad hoc IT purchases. Have a purchase authorization and requisition process. That $800 software upgrade may be “cool,” but it is the business manager — not IT — that should be signing off on it, and if gadgets like USB thumb drives are being purchased by the box, the cost adds up quickly.
--Elliot Ross, Strategic Technology
In order to save money, we focus in on search engine optimization processes and use pay-per-click programs to supplement our search engine marketing.
-- Thom Disch, Internet Engine
By having a completely remote workforce, office rent, Internet costs, electricity and other bills necessary to keep an office running are eliminated. Having a virtual company also means that on-premise IT costs are done away with. GridGain keeps everything on the cloud -- leading to better savings and better efficiency. Another key advantage to having a virtual company is that there is zero paper usage. All work is e-signed and kept electronically.
-- Nikita Ivanov, GridGrain Cloud Computing