- On August 28, 2017 /
- By The A-Team /
- In General
Technology is changing at a rapid pace. Every day it seems the latest and greatest is replaced with the next best thing. Most small business owners are apprehensive about making technology purchases, fearful their equipment will be deemed outdated within a few months.
While keeping up with technology does require a financial investment, the cost of being behind is far greater. But it’s not an “all or nothing” proposition. You can be technologically relevant and wise with your company’s finances at the same time. There are also some ways to keep costs down that are often overlooked; here are six of them:
1. Invest money up-front on adequate equipment that will last.
Rather than purchasing a new PC “white box” or “clone,” consider investing a little extra on a good PC that comes with a warranty and service agreement. Also look to the future and invest in technology hardware and software that will grow with you. An example of this may be getting a PC with a faster processor. You may not need it right now, but you’ll be thankful in a year or so when you do. We offer great PC packages suitable for each specific purpose.
2. Consolidate internet and telephone service into a bundled package.
Also called “convergence,” this is a great way to save money on a monthly basis by paying a flat rate. You will also save time paying bills because you will be billed on one simple invoice. We offer bundled packages which enable you to take advantage of VOIP technology. These include local and long distance telecommunications along with high-speed internet and web hosting.
3. Centrally manage and monitor anti-virus software, backups, critical updates, and business documents and files.
Whether you have your own IT staff or outsource to an IT support provider, you will save a lot of time and money by managing these items in a central location. Imagine the time it takes to update anti-virus software, operating system patches and updates on every workstation or to backup every workstation individually on a daily basis. A central location for storing all of your office documents also eliminates the risk of data loss from human error and the confusion of which document is the most updated.
While it may cost more up-front to purchase software and hardware that can be managed from a central server, you will save a lot of money down the road. In addition, your employees can spend time being more productive instead of conducting backups and updates for their individual workstations or creating workarounds because of inadequate network capabilities.
For more information about implementing server monitoring and a maintenance plan for your company, see our Managed IT Support page. For more information about anti-spam and email antivirus, see our Cloud Services page.
4. Implement an “Acceptable Use” policy for employees.
Millions of productive work hours are lost every year in companies across the nation because of employee access to the Internet. SurfControl, a company that produces highly sophisticated content filters to stop unwanted email and web content, estimates that just 30 minutes of recreational surfing a day and 30 minutes of personal email activity can cost a company with 20 employees over \$1,250 per week (at \$25/hour/employee).
Not only does surfing the web take time away from work, it also increases the likelihood of company-wide exposure to harmful viruses. It is important to introduce “acceptable use” policies for the technology and equipment your employees have been entrusted to use. If you continue to see problems resulting from improper use of technology, you may want to consider investing in software that filters web and email content.
5. Change your technology approach from “break-fix” to regular maintenance.
It is far more cost effective to prevent problems than to fix them. You’ve probably experienced this with your car. If you change the oil on a regular basis, you have a higher likelihood of avoiding costly repairs. The same applies to the technology in your office. In addition to costs saved by prevention (and having more predictable IT expenditures), you will also save money when things do “break” (because they will) by having someone who is familiar with your network and configuration. The difference is money in your pocket between an IT professional who is unfamiliar with your network, versus one who already knows it intimately.
6. Have a plan.
Know how you want to use technology to accomplish goals for your business. Do you want to eventually automate systems that employees are currently handling? Do you plan for company expansion to include offices in other parts of the country? Will you want the employees at those offices connected to the same network? Would shared contacts and calendars help your office?
By having a plan and knowing what you want to accomplish, you are less likely to spend money on non-essentials. It’s the difference between going to the grocery store with a list or without one. Stick to your list. Be flexible if changes are legitimate and warranted, but at least know what’s on your list. By having a plan, you can also budget for IT and you may have fewer big expenditures as a result. This will help with cash flow, which is of utmost importance to small and mid-sized companies. Choosing an IT support provider who provides these kinds of planning services is also a good indicator of how they will approach supporting your office i.e. proactively vs. reactively.
Obviously every company and situation is different. You may be able to save money in other ways based upon your specific technology needs or network configuration. However, if you don’t have someone who is responsible for and knowledgeable about your systems, you could be missing out on a bundle of savings. Whether you outsource to an IT support provider, or have your own IT staff, empower this person with the task of finding ways for the company to save money while keeping focused on your company’s goals.