Fears of a double dip recession may have receded but tight budgets are forcing business managers to review their costs. As businesses get smarter about technology investments, here's a list of ten tips to help businesses reduce the cost of infrastructure and operations and drive up profit margins.
1.Defer non-critical projects. Before launching a new project, IT managers need to determine if the project supports a high-level business objective or if it will help their company either reduce operational risk or costs. If the project will achieve none of those goals, it's best to defer it until a genuine opportunity arises.
2.Ensure you are on the best tariff. Businesses can gain significant cost reductions by ensuring that their telecommunications contracts reflect current market rates. These services account for more than 50 percent of all IT infrastructure and operations costs so network managers need to periodically review their telecom contracts to ensure they are getting the best value.
3.Server consolidation and server virtualisation. This presents two opportunities for companies to reduce infrastructure and operation costs. The adoption of client server computing models over the past few years has resulted in considerable server sprawl and associated management challenges. Companies can reduce costs by consolidating distributed servers and data processing sites into larger data centres, according to Gartner. Similarly, virtualisation technologies allow companies to improve resource utilisation and reduce the need for new hardware by up to 50 percent. Virtualisation approaches can be used to consolidate servers, storage systems and networking environments.
4.Reduce storage costs. At current storage consumption levels, companies will install close to 850 percent more storage capacity over the next five years than they have in place currently. This sort of storage growth will be both unsustainable and costly. So companies need to start seriously thinking about the use of virtualisation technologies, more intelligent storage management tools and storage tiering models to cut down on storage costs.
5.IT asset management. Organisations can benefit from using IT asset management tools to identify potential cost saving opportunities. By using the correct tools organisations can control cost and get a truer understanding of IT's business value, improving procurement and optimising costs.
6.Streamline IT operations. Staff typically account for more than 50 percent of the total IT headcount at many organisations. Companies can save money by containing this headcount and by automating as many functions as possible.
7.Vendor sourcing and management. It's important that IT Managers ensure that a strategic framework is in place to help ensure best practice when sourcing and managing vendors as this is critical to reducing operational costs. IT leaders can save a lot of money for their organisations by rationalising the number of IT suppliers they use.
8.Outsource. Do you really need to host your IT system in-house? Do you even need it at all? It is often more cost effective for a business to ask someone else to host or manage it and rent it back as a cloud service.
9.Consider vendor initiatives. Look out for initiatives from vendors offering zero percent finance which will help you to manage costs, for example Cisco capital can offer 0% finance for a purchase, even if the purchase isn't 100% Cisco products and services.
10.Keep your bills down. If you store your own hardware on site then heating and cooling costs can contribute significantly to the overall running costs of your business. You can reduce the cost of your electricity bills by upgrading your old hardware to a more energy efficient alternative, or by converting it to a cloud application.