There's no doubt about it, running an IT network as part of your business is likely to cost a significant chunk of money. In fact, beyond staffing costs, it's often one of a business's most significant running costs. As such, it's no surprise to find that business owners are often exploring as many possible ways of reducing IT costs - but, it's absolutely vital that this is done without impacting your performance. Rather than leave you to explore IT cost reductions and just hope for the best when it comes to performance - we've picked out a handful of specific areas for you to explore if you're aiming to reduce your company's tech spend.
Outsource your IT network support
There are unlikely to be as many IT cost saving strategies that yield as significant a result as outsourcing your support. Keeping an IT team is expensive - and it's more expensive again if you need to be certain you've got round-the-clock support for your systems. The trouble is, there's a big difference between how much support an IT network needs - and how long you can expect an employee to work for. In short, you're likely to need 5+ people on your team if you want to make sure you've got eyes on your network at all times - and that's a level of staffing that's going to put a serious dent in your budget.
On the flip side of this problem - you've got managed network providers. Rather than build a team based on need, a managed provider's team is based on offering 24/7 support to other companies. So, while they're unquestionably employing the number of people you'd need to make sure your IT lights are on all the time, they're spreading that support over a number of different companies - so no one business is shouldering all the cost.
Of course, you don't have to fire your entire IT team tomorrow if you want to use a managed provider. Instead, you can simply look at expanding your team with a service provider. The additional depth you get as a result is going to cost a LOT less than starting a recruitment drive and growing your team by adding to your payroll.
Look at hybrid network options
If you've been working with the same IT network for years, then now might be the time to consider looking at redesign options. Okay, this isn't the kind of tip that's going to slice your costs down immediately - this is a short-term spend / long-term saving kind of plan - but if you've got the capital to do it, you're likely to save significantly on operational costs, even immediately after implementation.
Hybrid network infrastructure saves you money by mating together newer tech that has traditionally not been compatible with each other. Rather than sticking to one connection type (traditionally private circuits or switched networks), a hybrid network uses different connection types to create one WAN - and, clearly, using different network connections means you can bring down the cost of each by negotiating the best possible deals.
Upgrading your network to a hybrid infrastructure isn't likely to be something you do yourself this weekend - but with the right managed network provider onboard, you'll be able to drastically reduce the IT costs that go hand-in-hand with traditional network architecture.
Assess your internet connection deal
A good place to look for money saving opportunities around IT is the cost of your internet connections. This is traditionally an area that decision-makers like to just leave alone - and ISPs will let you, since they're under no real obligation to up your service or suggest better or more cost-effective solutions. It's understandable that you wouldn't want to look at swapping provider - especially since it injects an element of the unknown into your business operations. If things are working as they should be, then why would you bring uncertainty to the table just because you might save a bit of money?
Well, the truth is, you stand to save more than just a bit of money - the savings could be significant. What's more, industry surveys suggest that almost 45% of businesses could be paying more than they need to be for their connection - but there's a few questions you can pose for yourself or your IT department to work out if you might be due a better price. They are:
- Have you recently been given or negotiated a small price reduction and a little more bandwidth?
- Have you had the same supplier or deal for the last 5 years or more?
- Have you recently bought your managed network?
If 2 years have passed since you bought your network, you're likely to find a better deal now. If 5 years or more have passed, then you're almost certainly going to get a significantly better price. What's more, if you've been given a slightly performance or price incentive - you're probably entitled to more. It might be time to shop around - and don't worry, new providers will make sure disruption is kept to a minimum.
Explore using different connection providers
Since you're exploring the costs of connections - it might be worth considering whether or not you could mix and match your connection types over your different sites. If you can, you stand to save money again. If you've got multiple sites, it might have felt like it made sense to keep all your connections with just one supplier when you set things up. The truth is, while they might have framed it that way, it rarely is - and you stand to save big if you're willing to explore and manage different types of internet connection from different suppliers.
It's an approach that's going to take a bit of time - but, if you're planning on implementing a hybrid network - it's the perfect time to start looking. In fact, you might even find that a good managed network provider is aware of the current best deals on the market - so they might be able to help point you in a good money-saving direction.