When times get tough, IT is one of the first budgets on the chopping block. And there is lots of room to cut there. But be careful: There are some places where spending more will save your company more.
If you’re looking for low-hanging fruit in the tech world, look first at these technologies recently ID’d as stellar cost-cutting strategies by Network World:
- Personnel. IT salaries aren’t small. Estimates put staffing at more than a third of all IT costs. There are a whole host of ways you can attack this: “Flatten” your IT infrastructure so IT managers are responsible for more people. It’s also a department that tends to benefit from large bonuses – those could be scaled back or even frozen. This might also be the time to stop cutting checks to outside contractors or consultants.
- Unused software and modules. This should be one of the first steps. New policy: Don’t need it? Get rid of it.
- Plans for Vista. You can table this one. As long as your existing hardware is still getting the job done, sit tight.
- “Top-of-the-line” products. There’s nothing wrong with commodity products, and requiring IT to use them in most cases will save your organization a mint. Similarly, even switching to the second or third “best” offering will still nab you a quality product at a much more palatable price.
- WAN transport services. Check with IT — there are many places where you can use the Internet as a less-expensive replacement.
- Servers. Press to see where your company can consolidate or even virtualize servers.
What’s still worth your company’s cash
So you have a fair number of technologies on your to-cut list.
That being said, there are some places where cutting back can hurt you in the long run. You may even want to put some extra dollars into these four technologies:
- Telecom expense management service. IT experts swear this is one service that easily pays for itself many times over.
- Corporate-wide cell phone plans. Allow employees to buy their own cell phones and reimburse ’em for them, and you’ll pay a lot more than you have to. A single plan for your company is a much better and more strategic bet.
- Videoconferencing units. With the way companies are trying to scale back on business travel, videoconferencing is becoming the go-to alternative. And renting those systems can get expensive!
- IP telephony and VoIP. You don’t need to throw out your entire existing system. But when you’re making a change or adding, embracing these technologies can cut your costs.