Given the level of competition among businesses today, companies are now ramping up their digital transformation efforts to enhance their efficiency and productivity. According to Gartner, global IT spending is expected to reach $3.925 trillion this year, up by 3.6 per cent over 2019. Spending on enterprise software and IT services will combine for over $1.527 trillion.
However, organisations are finding varying levels of success in digitising their business processes. Many appear to be wasting their technology investments through poor acquisition and implementation. Fewer than 10 per cent of digital transformation efforts succeed, according to one recent estimate. In addition, adopting new solutions without a clear strategy can cause IT budgets to spiral out of control.
Considering the saturation of the enterprise applications segment, companies have to be smart when choosing which solutions they should acquire and implement. Some applications can actually generate more value for the business or even partially pay for themselves, thanks to the IT costs that they can help you avoid.
Here are five approaches that can help get businesses the most for their software spending.
1. All-in-one work app suites
Office productivity suites have become a must-have for any workstation. Considering the number of workstations that even small businesses now have, combined license costs for such software can add up significantly. Aside from purchasing these licenses, companies also had to invest separately on storage and email services.
Microsoft Office, which has been the de facto standard for work app suites for decades, has since shifted to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model through Office 365. Instead of buying perpetual licenses, businesses can opt for the subscription-based option that charges on a per-user basis. The 365 Business Essentials variant costs just $5 per month for each user and already includes web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
Companies would do well shifting to a subscription model. The combination of office productivity, communication, and storage allows businesses to cover several requirements all within one subscription.
2. Incident forensics
Another area that drives costs up is dealing with IT incidents. Workstations have been known to break down, outages can occur, end users can mess things up, and cyberattacks can happen. IT teams spend a lot of time diagnosing these problems before they can fix them. One way to speed up repair and restoration is through log analysis.
Devices, appliances, systems and applications all generate logs which contain helpful information concerning all the processes and activities that they handle. Oftentimes, they contain essential clues that can readily identify what went wrong for the incident to occur. However, going through each of these logs can be tedious and taxing.
Log management and analysis solution Xplg helps IT teams save time and effort when processing incidents like these. The platform’s available integrations and predefined dashboards allow for the effortless review of various enterprise applications and solutions. It also uses artificial intelligence to analyse logs and spot patterns. Insights from the analyses reveal anomalies that can be prevented in the future and addressed before anything major issues arise.
This even allows IT teams to take a more proactive stance and work towards prevention and maintenance.
3. SaaS stack efficiency
Businesses today are also dealing with the inefficiencies of shadow IT and SaaS bloat. The average organisation may access hundreds of SaaS apps via the network. The problem is that many of these apps are acquired by teams and individuals without the knowledge of the IT department.
It's common for companies pay for redundant subscriptions or multiple applications with overlapping functions. Some apps may also have security or data privacy vulnerabilities, exposing the company to cyber-attacks and increasing the risk of regulatory litigation.
SaaS management platform Torii can automatically provide IT teams with a clear inventory of SaaS applications in use within their networks. It can catalogue all accounts, including their subscription costs and terms, allowing administrators to know actual SaaS spending and even spot redundant subscriptions or orphaned accounts. The platform also supports onboarding and off-boarding features that can quickly grant or revoke access to employees.
Through this comprehensive view, IT teams can help eliminate unnecessary or dangerous SaaS applications and streamline their organisations’ SaaS use.
4. Real-world workforce adaptability
Among the challenges for IT leaders is justifying the return on investment on the apps that they acquire for use by end users. Even with the spending flexibility that SaaS brings through subscription-based billing models, companies may still be wasting their investments if they have an understaffed or idle workforce.
To solve this, business can adopt an online scheduling software solution like Deputy. This platform can instantly work out shifts and scheduling using inputs such as employee experience or wage costs. It can even take into consideration historical data such as peak hours to automatically work out schedules. It also has the ability to log hours and generate timesheets for accurate payroll. Managers can also use it to track leaves of absences and monitor performance.
Running a full complement allows IT spending and investments to be fully maximised. By ensuring that shifts are amply staffed, hardware and software experience minimal downtime. These assets continuously generate value for the organisation.
5. Conversations that flow
Despite increasing internet and mobile connectivity, some organisations are still spending on legacy telephony and PBX systems. However, the reality is that fewer people are actually making calls, and if they do, many are increasingly doing it through messaging apps.
To replace old telephony systems, businesses can embrace digital solutions and simply adapt a full-feature communication and collaboration service like Slack. It's a freemium platform that allows instant messaging, file sharing, archives, and voice and video calls.
Slack is now also popularly being supported by other SaaS applications where notifications and files from these apps can be automatically sent to Slack message groups. Data sent over the platform is also encrypted for security.
Focus on value
Business leaders have to avoid the pitfall of price. Some tend to believe that the cheaper solutions can boost their cost savings. But the reality is that leaders should be more interested in the value that these applications bring. Some solutions may appear to be pricy on the surface, but they can be worth the investment. Carefully evaluating solutions prior to acquisition helps businesses identify which solutions can deliver the most bang per buck.
It’s also important to have a strategy and to focus on enhancing high-value business areas. This way, it’s easier to not only keep costs down but also get immediate and more impactful returns for investments.
Ralph Tkatchuk, freelance data security consultant and IT expert