It costs money to make money. Don't you know it. Especially when it comes to IT. Ten experts tell us how small businesses can start cutting their IT costs today.
Find low-cost ways to trade expertise, keep staff's trained and have emergency capacity: vendor-led education sessions, local SIG's, emergency staffing arrangements with other nearby companies.
-- John Baschab, SVP of Management Services for Technisource
Take a shift on your help desk. Personally understand what customers are asking, how they are asking and how you are responding. You will almost certainly find that you have some stupid processes, or processes that cause unintended consequences and additional expense. Don't just look at filtered information and metrics. Your team will be impressed and pleased to see you doing this.
-- Patty Azzarello, CEO of Azzarello Group, Inc.
Get a handle on virus protection. Cleaning up viruses is one of the biggest time and productivity drains on a business and many small businesses must hire outside help for this. Prevention is the best cure. Significant action such as migrating to the Macintosh may be worth the cost just to avoid viruses.
-- Marcel Brown, CEO, Marcel Brown Technology Services
Don’t just back up your data to an offsite facility; make sure your backups are working properly by testing them regularly. Periodically restore some files from your backup to make sure they are intact.
-- Bob Riesenbach, President, CMIT Solutions of Cherry Hill
Tops for any small business is Google Apps. Their free level for a max of 50 users is a great place to start for small time companies. The only cost to get it going is your domain registration and an IT person to do the geeky stuff. It offers easy setup, rock solid servers and backed by the google infrastructure. Provisioning and managing user deployments for a company is a breeze. Aside from great email they also have collaborative google docs and calendar sharing suite built in. Shared calendars on your own domain is a time saver. The google docs is an easy money saver for startups who don't want to buy a version of microsoft office. Google docs also offers doc sharing and real time collaboration.
-- Dennis W. Cuppy, CEO, Cuppy Tech
De-bundle your internet and phone. There are a number of service providers that sell you internet/phone together. This is almost always a mistake, I have saved small companies thousands of dollars a month simply by purchasing their phone service and internet from different providers.
-- Shaun Bryant, Director of Technology for the Denver School of Science and Technology
Buy high-quality factory refurbished office technology when possible. They work as though they are brand. They come with warranties, which are usually upgradable. You'll often pick up some extra functionality. And, you'll save, in most cases, lots of money.
-- Stephen Lesberg, President, Jackrabbit Microware
Identify which IT capabilities (remote work, order processing, CRM, advertisement optimization) drive the business forward often "off the shelf solutions" can deliver what is really needed and are much faster and cheaper to implement.
-- Mark Mueller-Eberstein, author, "Agility: Competing and Winning in a Tech-Savvy Marketplace"
Maintenance contracts vs. warm standby hardware. When network components cost thousands and servers cost tens of thousands, buying expensive maintenance contracts that included hardware replacement made sense. Now new hardware costs a fraction of what it used to, dropping maintenance contracts and instead configuring replacement hardware ready to be used in the event of failure can save thousands of dollars a year as well as improve time to recovery in the event of a failure.
-- Eric Loyd, President and CTO of Bitnetix