Tips for optimising software and reducing cost in your organisation

It is generally accepted amongst security specialists that implementing identity and access management (IAM) software is one of the most effective ways to automate tasks that have traditionally been done manually by IT staff.

These solutions enhance security, increases productivity and reduces IT costs. However, how are organisational leaders to know whether they are choosing the most cost-effective solutions for their organisations?

The following are some top tips to reduce the total cost of ownership of your implementations such as these, and possibly others, even further.

Optimise your features check

When comparing software functionality between vendors, it is tempting to choose a solution that has the largest and most varied functionality for what seems like a justifiable cost.

This is a trap many of us fall into as we want to get what we deem is the “most for our money.” However, in many cases, the majority of the features available are surplus to requirements. More often than not, this exhaustive range of functionality will never be used.

You have, therefore, entered into a false economy by choosing what you perceived to be the best value for money. This will result in your organisation paying for functions that will never be useful to you.

To ensure fast ROI and reduce overall costs, choose a software solution based on its ability to carry out the core functions needed by your organisation. Focus on what you fundamentally need the solution to do, and search only for these functions when evaluating vendors.

Target solutions that offer a phased approach to installation and can show good levels of connectivity with applications. This way, different functionalities can be added on at a later date when the core processes are in place.

Software offering less exhaustive features is often not only cheaper, but it is also quicker to implement, saving valuable time for the organisation. With the core functions taken care of, you can quickly start seeing the benefits in terms of ROI. Most manual tasks will be automated and time can be freed up for skilled staff to be allocated to more network critical issues – speeding up long-term projects and ensuring the network is run smoothly and securely.

As such, senior IT staff will likely be more encouraged as they will likely be more challenged by their work, leading to higher levels of productivity from them.

Using user management software like, Tools4ever’s UMRA has benefited Oxford University Press as this technology has taken over the manual user management task that previously took up a great deal of time for the IT department.

For example, to manually modify and update employees entering the organisation, leaving the organisation or transferring between departments, it would have had to employ someone full time to manage these simple processes. This was neither practical nor economical for Oxford University Press.

Now, UMRA takes care of these tasks and the employees allocated to account management to more crucial and engaging tasks.

Reduce professional services costs

When mapping out timelines for your software implementation, there is a tendency to focus on how much the interim procedures put in place whilst the installation is on-going will cost - any extra internal resources that will be required, costs incurred by keeping staff on while the solution is put in place, costs incurred by skilled staff not being able to work on more complex matters, etc.

However, we often neglect to pay attention to the professional services costs. The longer the implementation takes (and usually the more complex the process), the more these costs will mount up. Underestimating the total outlay for professional services can lead to the whole implementation becoming a great deal more costly than originally budgeted.

Dealing with vendors with a more customer-focused ethos is a good way to solve this issue. Companies of this nature are more likely to offer discounts and bundles with their software and professional services costs.

Seeking out vendors who use approaches, such as the rapid application development methodology is another way to reduce this outlay.

Vendors using this type of approach often strike a better balance between the planning and installing phases of your implementation, meaning they do not spend months and months planning, but try to limit this stage to get your installation underway faster, usually by implementing in a test environment.

Conclusion

Completely comprehensive implementations that tick every possible box are not only often unnecessary from the outset in terms of functionality and they also take a long time to implement, meaning contingency plans have to be put in place whilst waiting for the complete solution and professional services costs begin to mount up.

A solution that allows for a phased approach - i.e. for core features/functions critical to your business to be implemented within a short space of time and less critical applications and features to be added on at later phases - will help reduce your overall spend as there can be more flexibility with budgets and timings.

Dean Wiech is managing director of Tools4ever, a global provider of identity and access management solutions.