Posted by: Paul Millican
We can thank the 21st Century for bringing us a great deal of useful innovations: hybrid cars and advances in medicine are just a few, but it’s arguably our fascination with computers and related technology that takes precedence. So it’s hardly surprising that the world of business has wholly embraced IT developments in recent years. Many have even taken to creating a so-called ‘paperless environment’ in their workplace (you’ll still find one or two spreadsheets poking out of files and drawers, guaranteed), encouraged by the concept of reducing costs by virtualising business processes. Now I don’t wish to be the bearer of bad news (that sentence never ends well!), but reducing business costs isn’t always that straightforward.
There are times when your IT department and computer-based solutions will either be costing you more than before or just too much regardless. Not to worry – as with all business costs, a little helpful advice can help you on your way to saving your business money.
There are now countless software products available for businesses, which can help with almost any process imaginable; staff time can be managed, payments can be made and team projects can be led all within one piece of software. However, a pitfall with so much choice is that some businesses find themselves trying to use all of it at once. Before you sign up for software, make sure you actually need it – if it isn’t necessary to the business, save the cost now before it becomes an issue.
On a similar note, if you’re unsure of the need for a piece of software, take advantage of the free trials usually offered. It sounds like a simple tip, but it’s surprisingly one that is all too often missed. During the trial is a great time to ask some important questions: Is the team using it? Are they happy with it? Does it bring a benefit to your business that is measurable, sustainable and doesn’t already exist internally? Being strict on your answers will save the business (and you) hassle and money in the future. After all, not all cost management comes after it’s become a problem.
It’s also important to remember your hardware costs: I’ve dealt with more than one client who has complained about their IT costs, yet also purchased (or signed off on purchasing) high-tech equipment which wasn’t necessary for the business. Such purchases lumber you with both weighty costs and equipment you have no use for. Even if you sell it, the time and loss incurred won’t help.
With that in mind, if your business does have hardware that isn’t being used anymore following an upgrade or downsizing, then why not consider having it refurbished and sold on? After taking the depreciated value into account, the reseller price will shorten the gap on your losses. Just make sure that if it is because of an upgrade, that it was a necessary one!
So there you have it; IT departments play an important role in 21st Century business and all those 1’s and 0’s come with a cost. Just make sure you’re not overlooking your IT costs or it’ll be game over!
If you’d like your business costs reviewed, you can enquire here for a business Health Check.