IT operations are what keep your business afloat. They’re also what keep your business secure. You can’t afford not to have an IT department, obviously, but you also want to avoid overspending. Too often, businesses end up spending too much money on technology and the people who keep it running, mostly due to hidden costs they don’t realize are racking up.
So how can you avoid hidden costs in your IT operations?
Let’s start with some general strategies that can help you detect, eliminate, or at least mitigate in expenses that creep up in the IT departments of most businesses.
- Hire professionals. In some ways, you have to spend money to save money. If you hire a team of experienced professionals to help you manage your IT needs, you’ll end up spending a little more money initially, but you’ll end up saving money in the long run. Experienced pros will be able to provide you with insights and direction so you can keep your operation running cost efficiency. They’ll also make sure you’re less likely to suffer a security breach or other catastrophe. Long term, they often end up paying for themselves.
- Work proactively and preventatively. Always try to work proactively and preventatively. Instead of jumping from one fire to the next, putting them out as soon as they arise, put your efforts into preventing those fires from ever emerging. Almost always, it’s less expensive to prevent a problem than it is to fix one.
- Measure and analyze. Keep a close eye on the entire department. Figure out how much you’re spending and where you’re spending it, and examine your performance carefully. The more you measure and analyze your efforts, the better you’ll be able to detect hidden expenses and the more efficiently you’ll be able to operate overall.
- Constantly improve. Adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. Don’t just assume that the technologies and processes you currently have are the best you can do. There are always new ways to save money, improve performance, streamline efficiency, and maximize profitability.
Reduce Network Downtime
There are many tips for avoiding network downtime, and it’s worth learning. Downtime is one of the biggest and most impactful expenses you’ll incur in the realm of IT. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to prevent or at least mitigate downtime in your organization. Make sure your servers are appropriately backed up, monitor your network constantly, and establish redundancy in the form of backup power, redundant network connections, and server colocation.
Focus on Personnel Costs
When most people think about IT department costs, they think about the expensive technologies that businesses typically must acquire. but labor costs can be just as expensive, if not more so. There are several strategies you can use to minimize these costs and prevent them from spiraling out of control.
- Focus on talent over experience. Though experience can be a good thing in your IT department, experienced people tend to cost more money. Consider prioritizing hiring people who are talented and willing to learn; this way, you can save a bit of money and still add competent people to your team.
- Hire contractors. Full-time and part-time employees can be expensive, so consider focusing on hiring independent contractors. This can also give you more flexibility on hiring, since you can gradually add people as needed. There are some disadvantages to hiring contractors, but the advantages are often worth dealing with them.
- Reduce turnover. Employee turnover can be ridiculously expensive. Once you have a team of productive and loyal employees, invest in keeping them.
- Outsource your work. You may also consider outsourcing at least some of your work. Hiring a third party could be an easy way to reduce your spending on personnel. You may also consider offshoring to save even more money.
Utilize Virtual Servers
Consider using virtual servers instead of physical servers. While there are some advantages to having physical servers, virtual servers tend to be less expensive in several different respects. Not only will your equipment costs shrink, but you will also save money on utilities, maintenance, and overall labor. Unless you have a solid motivation for continuing to use physical servers, think about making the switch.
Take Advantage of Inexpensive Hardware
Technology itself can be expensive as well. Try to use alternative strategies to save money on what would otherwise be expensive hardware. For example, you could buy used or refurbished hardware. You can also look for bulk discounts.
Hidden and gradually accumulating expenses don’t have to wreck your IT budget. As long as you’re looking out for these costs, and you have a strategy in place to improve the cost efficiency of your operations, we should be able to streamline things.