Watching the markets these days is like watching the EKG: Is the heart rate going up or down, and will it ever flatline?
The tech departments in all businesses are going to be asked to squeeze savings from budgets, if they haven't been already. Once again, we'll be asked to do more with less. At Ntirety, we have a lot of experience remotely managing databases, but we also serve as technology advisors to many of our clients who value our expertise and experience.
So I thought today I'd offer all of Ntirety's clients and anyone else reading this blog some of the simple steps for squeezing savings out of IT budgets. As a career DBA and founder of two managed service companies, I have witnessed the hidden waste that goes unnoticed in IT budgets. It's there, but no one looks for it in flush times. But cutting this waste can free up valuable resources.
The good news for IT departments is there are more choices than ever before on how a company provides technology infrastructure it needs to stay competitive. In the spirit of helping you all manage this economic downturn and keep the edge on your competition, I humbly suggest the following:
1. Cut unneeded software licenses
Check your licenses and make sure you are not paying for ones you don't use. If you have eight licenses to salesforce.com, but only need five, that is waste hidden in the technology budget. It's worse if you have 50 antivirus subscriptions, but only needed 35. Given the various software licenses companies require, unused licenses can waste tens of thousands of dollars annually.
Cutting out unused licenses can reduce costs without negatively impacting the business. And if your company unfortunately has layoffs, remember to reduce licenses as head count drops.
2. Use your technology or lose it
Many companies purchase technology with the best intentions, but never actually deploy it. Where it makes sense, brush the dust off and start using it. For example, many businesses have Microsoft SharePoint – it came with the server license – but they don't use it to its fullest potential. You might be able to get more efficiency from the dollars already spent by using it fully.
If you bought technology and deploying it no longer makes sense, double check that you are not paying support fees on it. Often, companies acquire technology that is packaged with free additional software. What a deal! The catch is you may be paying for ongoing maintenance of the so-called free software, which you may not even be using because you never really wanted it in the first place.
3. Do you need a support group?
There can be such a thing as too much help. It's time to review your support network and ask these questions:
− Are you paying for 24-7 support when you can get by with support during normal business hours?
− Do you need to hire a new database administrator when you can get a team of DBAs to remotely manage the database at a fraction of the cost of a new employee? You should ask the same question about support for desktop environments. Is remote support more efficient than in-house?
− Does it make sense to maintain an in-house email infrastructure when it can be bought by the head, at a fraction of the cost, from a third-party?
4. Invest now or later?
If you have the option to upgrade your database, ask yourself whether you really need to? Would it be better to manage with your current version and wait until a game-changing upgrade comes along? Maybe you can get a few more miles out of that old clunker.
You should also ask whether the upgrade requires new hardware, a potentially hidden expense that may be a budget buster. (New technology projects are notorious for rising budgets because of unforeseen expenses, so make sure you fully vet project plans for all costs.)
You will also want to reconsider other technology upgrades, such as:
− Is now the right time to invest in that new VOIP phone system?
− Is now the right time to build customized technology for specific business needs, or can you live with a cheaper, off-the-shelf product that is workable, but not perfect?
Posted Michael Corey, Ntirety