How to use IT to save your business money

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In a world that’s focused on making your business fly, ‘return on investment’ (ROI) is a term that’s usually talked about when you’re planning SEO, PPC or social marketing strategies.

In fact, IT can offer a huge ROI for your business – simply by streamlining processes that could otherwise see your team or contractors spending unnecessary time struggling with sub-par systems and devices.

We’ll walk you through 6 of the best ways to save money, with nothing but IT as your tool…

Explore open-source software :

It’s easy to forget that Microsoft, Google, Adobe and the other huge software and service providers aren’t the only companies out there who create worthwhile resources.

If you’re used to working for a company, you might take it for granted that the typical applications you’ll use (think; word processing, spreadsheets, customer relationship management, accounting – and much more) are just there for you within a few clicks – but actually, those pieces of software cost a significant amount of money.

The truth is, the household names are the ones we know about because they’ve got the budget to market their products far and wide – but in fact, there’s a host of great open-source applications out there that are completely free to use – you’ve just got to know where to look.

Open-source is more than just a money-saving tip though, in fact, there’s a world of developers who believe open-source is the only way you can truly reflect user’s needs in the long term – and many of those developers commit themselves to maintain and adjusting the free software to suit businesses just like yours.

This TechRadar list offers some great open-source applications that’ll definitely help your business save money when compared to full price alternatives.

Let employees work on their own devices :

‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) such a simple idea – yet so many businesses resist it.

When you let your employees use their own devices to do company business, you’re saving huge amounts of money – and actually increasing productivity at the same time.

Countless studies have shown that employees are more comfortable and more productive when they use their own devices for work tasks – and the maths really adds up: If using a device you’re familiar with only saves 10 minutes each day – that adds up to an incredible 45 hours over the course of a full working year – essentially offering you a free week’s worth of work if you’re happy for employees to use their own machines.

Of course, there are security considerations to be made – and BYOD is likely to be impractical if you’re handling a lot of sensitive client information, but if you’d like to take away a huge chunk of capital expenditure from your budget, these could be problems you’d be happy to work around.

Outsource support :

When it comes to money saving, good tech systems can give and take in similar measures – but one of the largest costs to consider when you’re installing IT relates to the people who are going to support it.

If you’re a small company, even if you only have a very small number of employees, you’re probably going to need someone to support your IT systems – and if you don’t have that person in place, you run the very real risk of not being able to trade if your IT network goes down.

So, what does the maths look like? Well, you’ve got a $40,000 basic wage for someone who comes with the skills set needed to keep a network up and running by themselves – then you’ve got to factor holiday cover, sickness, maternity/paternity leave, training and what happens if that person decides they’d like to work somewhere else.

All in all, carrying IT staff can be problematic – and extremely expensive – which is why managed network providers (MSPs) are becoming more and more popular with small to medium-sized businesses.

With an MSP, you’ve got the potential of 24/7 access, 365 days a year – plus no need to worry about keeping an individual up to speed with the latest accreditations and training programs. You simply pick up the phone and access the support – which, most of the time, can be applied to your systems remotely.

If you’d like your tech to save you thousands – you could do a lot worse than finding a good MSP and treating them like they’re one of your valued team.

Buy resources ‘as a service’ :

If you’re bringing your IT support onboard as an outsourced service – why not do the same with your applications, platforms, and infrastructure?

In the last 10 years, larger tech companies have realized that there’s an increasing number of small businesses becoming established year on year – and those companies simply do not have the money that’s needed to buy expensive software licenses, development platforms and costly networking infrastructure straight out of the gate.

The solution? Offering all of the above on a subscription basis – pay for only what you use, whenever you need it? A result is an increasing number of people opting to move to solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite – both examples of ‘Software as a Service’ (Saas). That said, it’s not just cloud-accessed software that’s available in this manner, Microsoft now provides email exchange servers on a similar subscription basis too – with the robust security you’d expect from one of the biggest tech companies on Earth.

All these things are made possible by the cloud – the concept of storage and services that are hosted centrally, with your internet connection bridging the gap between your business and the resource. Of course, you’re going to need a connection that is stable and fast enough to allow uninterrupted access – but that’s more than realistic for most internet service providers.

Interestingly – the monetary benefits of SaaS are actually likely to be two-fold, as there’s an increasing body of evidence that suggests people actually work more effectively together when they’re collaborating online, even when compared to sitting next to one another in an office space. If you want to increase productivity and reduce costs with the help of IT tech, you could do a lot worse than to explore which of your required resources could be procured ‘as a Service’.

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