IT costs are a never ending worry for business executives. Top Technology Independent Research Studies have found that over 75 percent of IT decision-makers routinely worry about managing their budgets.
Not only are software, hardware and connectivity expensive, but their use can be challenging to budget and track. In addition, the continual need to keep technology up-to-date is an on-going battle. The struggle and expense never seem to end.
However, there are some technologies that enterprises should consider, not only to increase productivity and reliability but also to save money. We’ll take a look at 10 cost-saving technologies and practices in a two-part series. Today, we’ll examine the first five.
1. SERVER VIRTUALIZATION
Server virtualization partitions a physical server into smaller “virtual” environments that can be used for tasks or applications vs. having one physical server assigned to individual tasks or applications. This technology can consolidate the number of servers required for many IT infrastructures and make better use of CPU and Disk Storage resources. Industry statistics suggest that server virtualization can reduce hardware and operating costs by half and energy costs by as much as 80 percent. To be sure, such savings are not magically bestowed on the company with server virtualization. Standardizing and automating routine IT support processes first are a key factor in how much a company will save in server virtualization. But standardization and automation of IT process in general is a smart – and cost saving – move, with or without server virtualization.
2. VOICE OVER IP
The traditional PBX model is becoming a modern dinosaur, at the very least, increasingly costly to maintain as most systems are proprietary technologies. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) access and session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking services – technologies that allow phone calls to be made over the internet – are rapidly maturing and more than ready for the enterprise. Companies can save significant amounts by switching to VoIP and adopting a unified communications architecture.
3. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS FOR HARDWARE
With all the focus on software, cloud apps and wireless connectivity, it is easy to forget the fundamental importance – and expense – of hardware. Maintaining and replacing equipment can be very costly, especially for a smaller firm. The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association sizes the equipment space – and granted, this category ranges from farm machinery to medical gadgets as well as IT hardware – at $725 billion. Some options companies should consider for their hardware:
PC/Server Warranties: Not having your hardware under warranty (especially mission critical servers) is risky business, and the insurance policy (extended warranty), is a worthwhile expenditure for all business enterprises. If you have a critical hardware failure outside of the warranty period it could take weeks to get back up and running – especially if no stand-by server or business continuity solution is in place. Also, remember to account for warranties of services and work performed by third-party IT service providers. Make sure your in-house IT support or managed IT services partner is on top of your warranties.
Hardware-as-a-Service: This is a rapidly-growing niche in the managed services industry. Generally speaking, a company’s hardware is remotely monitored and serviced by a managed service provider on a subscription basis. In other variations, providers use their own hardware on-site for clients.
4. OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE
Computer software that is made available and licensed at no cost and for any purpose. A Standish Group report has found that adoption of open-source software has resulted in savings of about $60 billion per year. Examples are myriad, ranging from little-known productivity offerings to noted vendors such as Redhat.
5. ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS
Online collaboration tools can range from enterprise-based social sharing tools to productivity tools that permit group collaboration in document creation and file sharing. They’ve become a huge industry for many reasons. First, they integrate remote workers into the corporate fabric. They also help companies do more with less. And, collaboration fosters creativity in an organization. Statistics show how valuable these tools can be: company intranets and portals, to give one example, can reduce email volume by 30 percent. Also, an eye-popping 97 percent of businesses using collaborative software report being able to service clients more effectively.