Expanding Your Business IT on a Tight Budget
October 3, 2018
There aren’t many businesses who can expand their operations without also expanding the systems they use as support – and, in most cases, those underpinning systems are IT based. Unfortunately, this can make expansion expensive – even if the core plan doesn’t involve a huge spend.
This leaves businesses with a difficult decision to make. Do you limit growth until you’ve got a bigger IT budget? Or do you strive ahead with your current systems and hope that they can cater for your needs?
Fortunately, there are ways to grow your IT infrastructure without spending an extortionate amount of money – meaning you can encourage growth without hitting your capital expenditure line too hard. We’ll run you through 3 of the best ways to expand your business IT on a budget…
Use a managed service provider
Growing your IT systems often means growing your workforce – because, quite simply, increased IT infrastructure won’t run itself. The bad news is, for many companies, IT staffing represents over 80% of their IT spend – but there’s a way around it.
While there’s definite value in growing your in-house IT knowledge, if you want to maximise your IT staffing spend, it makes a lot of sense to bring a managed service provider onboard. A managed service provider is, in effect, an outsourced IT team – but with none of the downsides of an in-house team.
A managed service provider will cost you a fraction of what you’d expect to spend on even one member of full-time IT staff – but with an MSP, you don’t have to worry about holidays, sickness, leave, resignations or any of the other challenges that come with employing people. Of course, those things exist for the MSP, but they’ve signed a service level agreement with you – so if you need IT help, they’ve made a promise to be at the end of the phone to provide it.
Service level agreements (SLAs) are a significant part of working with an MSP – in fact, it’s the contract that outlines exactly what they’ll provide your business. Don’t worry – you don’t have to find an MSP and outline this yourself, they’ll make an assessment of your business and your needs, then provide a package that has you covered. When they do, you’ll be able to highlight mission-critical systems that you can’t live without – and they’ll make sure these are, as near as is possible, constantly running, ensuring you’re always able to function.
Whether you’re looking for 24/7 support – or whether your needs are much less intensive, you’ll be able to find a host of companies who are willing to help. Have a look at the kind of businesses they’ve helped in the past and get some testimonials – and you’ve just cut out a huge part of the spend involved with growing your business.
Implement an bring your own device policy
Although it’s a topic that somewhat splits IT opinion, a bring your own device (BYOD) policy is a sure-fire way of saving an incredible amount of money for your company.
Now, it’s worth noting that BYOD’s not going to work for everyone – but realistically, as long as you’re not holding huge amounts of sensitive customer data, a good security policy and procedure should cover you.
The concept is really simple; your staff members bring their own devices to work on. While it might sound like nothing more and a money-saving ploy – it’s actually got benefits well beyond that – and one of the biggest ones is a direct benefit to your employees; comfort.
Numerous studies have shown that companies who implement BYOD policies for their teams see enormous increases in productivity – and the reason is simple; people just prefer using devices they’re familiar with. If you want to quantify the increase in productivity – the same studies suggest that you can expect to see a 10% more output from your team – which is an enormous bonus when you’re already saving a significant amount of money.
Pay for only what you use
Life is becoming more and more subscription based. Where we once paid for access to service and facilities up front – there’s an overall movement to simply paying for what you use – and that extends into IT.
In IT tech, the term ‘as a Service’ is cropping up more and more – and it simply means that you access tech as you need it, rather than paying for it upfront – or having it sitting in your office or server room.
For businesses, the benefits are endless. Would you like your team to be using Microsoft Office but don’t want to pay for licences up front? Or perhaps you’d like to implement a new mail server but don’t like the ticket price? No problem – you can run these services virtually – and it’s largely down to improvements in cloud computing that make it possible.
Cloud tech essentially makes your computer into more of an access terminal – rather than a stand-alone workstation. So, rather than working on your installed version of Microsoft Excel, you’re working online – accessing the application on a central Microsoft server – and therefore, the application is never out of date – and your data is held with world class security around it.
While software is an obvious and reasonable simple option to roll-out on this ‘as a service’ basis – it doesn’t stop there. If you’d like to expand your networking infrastructure you can – or perhaps you’d like to have your own in-house development platforms? Again – all entirely possible on an ‘as a service’ subscription basis.
If you’re looking at expanding and need the infrastructure to make it happen; but don’t like the look of the costs, it’s worth considering if there are alternatives to the enormous outlays that used to be required. There’s double good-news for businesses who use MSPs to handle their IT networking too – since ‘as a service’ products are generally accessed centrally, you somewhat reduce the onsite time needed by your engineers and support staff, as they’ll be able to administer from a distance.