Almost nothing in business comes for free. When it comes to getting tech properly integrated as a tool, you can be sure it comes with plenty of costs as well. Those running costs can be a lot more than you might initially imagine, so you need to think of ways to keep it cost-effective without disadvantaging the business.
Decide who needs what
One of the bigger costs a business has to deal with when it comes to tech is the cost of software. Licenses cost money and even deals on multiple licenses are still a considerable expense. You need to assess the needs of your individual employees. For instance, your accountant might not necessarily need access to HR management software. For that reason, being more selective in who gets access to your license can cut the amount you have to spend on software.
Let employees bring their own device to work
It’s a trend that’s spreading more and more through the business world. ‘Bring your own device’ policies are exactly as they sound. Business owners can allow their employees to bring their own laptops and tablets instead of having to provide hardware for everyone involved. The costs saved on hardware alone is obvious. However, it has to be implemented properly. You’re going to need them to have the right software and access to the right networks to make sure that their use of their own tech isn’t adding barriers to their ability to do all their work. You might have to ensure that they take extra steps to secure their devices as well so that your business doesn’t become vulnerable through them.
Scan the market
You can always find a better deal, however. Going used with your hardware can save you money for instance. But even if you’re buying new to assure the best quality and condition, you should always take a look at the market. Many users might mistakenly assume that software can only be acquired directly from its developer. However, finding other suppliers and comparison sites can offer software discounts that can hugely cut the costs of getting the tools that your business needs. Never just assume that the first price you get is going to be the best, especially if it’s directly from an original manufacturer or developer.
Look after your machines
If you are using office-bought hardware, then you get serious about how well you look after them. First of all, think about how you position them. Closing them off, leaving them on carpets, and rarely taking the time to dust them can clog up the systems. You might even occasionally need to clean inside the case using things like compressed air. But computer maintenance goes further, looking into the software and storage issues that could be impacting the best performance of the tech. By looking after your machines, you can ensure they last longer and need fewer repairs in their lifespan.
Get some IT guys in
As a business’s reliance on tech grows, their need for a unified system increases. This is usually where you start seeing a real need for IT guys to watch over the network and fix any of many kinks in the system that can arise. To cut the costs of those IT guys, however, you should consider outsourcing instead of hiring. Especially if your need for support and maintenance doesn’t meet the requirement for full-time employees, an ‘as-you-need-it’ service can be a lot more cost-effective.
Consider the Cloud
When it comes to storage and sharing data outside of the network, then you need to think about how you do it exactly. Cloud computing can be a very useful way to backup your data temporarily and share it across different locations. It’s a good idea to have some kind of physical backup, however. A good rule for using Cloud data is that it can make for good accommodation, but it isn’t where your data should live. Simply put, you don’t know how reliable it is going to be in future.
Keep unimportant tech free
Free software isn’t always the best option, but there are plenty of cases in which it is viable. For instance, if your document needs aren’t too convoluted, then things like Google Docs might be enough to fit your needs. Again, assess the needs of what you need your software to do for you and see if a free version can fulfill it. You need to be wary of free software at the same time. Sometimes it isn’t as well supported as commercial tools so you might not get the support you need.
Mind the printer
How smarter printers can save businesses a filing headache
It’s not the computer itself, but the printer is an important part of technology that your business is likely going to make use of often. If you can go paperless, then you should do it as much as possible. Otherwise, you should get smarter about how you use your printer. For internal documents, for instance, use cheaper paper, double-sided printing, and grayscale options as much as you can. There’s no need to spend more money solely for the sake of printing prettier documents that aren’t going to be shown outside the business anyway.
Take the greener approach
On top of everything else, your tech setup is going to be using energy. Those bills aren’t something to be ignored. Greener use of your computers should be a strict policy set in work. If people are leaving their devices for more than half-an-hour, they should turn them off instead of letting them sleep. You can also look at power management tools that can use different settings depending on how a computer is being used. Don’t let the monitor burn at full brightness whenever you’re taking a break from the computer, for instance.
It’s not about skimping on important costs. For the most cost-effective IT setup your business can have, you have to be a savvy consumer and dedicated to finding the right tools and methods to keep your tech running as effectively and efficiently as possible.