Left unchecked, technology investments and software subscriptions can easily balloon out of control. Since technology is inherently complicated, it’s often difficult to identify where spending is wasteful or how to cut costs. While some I.T. service providers shy away from helping businesses cut costs since it ultimately hurts the provider’s bottom line, mature managed I.T. service providers (“MSPs”), such as Digital Boardwalk, understand that helping businesses use their budgets wisely helps them succeed and grow over time, which results in long-term benefits for the MSP.
While every business and technology environment is different, there are several common cost-savings opportunities most organizations can consider; especially if the organization is using Microsoft 365.
Reduce or Eliminate Servers
Managing servers is one of the most profitable services I.T. providers deliver. Not only is the monthly cost to maintain servers much higher than that of normal computers, but every seven years the service provider profits from the sale of new server hardware. With the widespread adoption and maturity of cloud technologies today, the need for these traditional servers is quickly fading away. Here are some tips to consider when aiming to reduce or eliminate servers:
- If you are just using the server to store shared documents, consider moving them to a cloud service like Microsoft SharePoint (included with Microsoft 365).
- If the server is your “Directory Server” and is needed to control usernames and passwords, consider moving this function to Microsoft Azure AD (included with Microsoft 365).
- If it seems like there are many different servers dedicated to single functions, like a “Print Server,” consider consolidating them. The technical benefits of separating servers are typically outweighed by the cost savings as a result of consolidation.
Eliminate Redundant Services
Oftentimes, businesses use a small fraction of the capabilities of their technologies. This can either be because they aren’t aware of the capabilities, don’t know how to implement or use them, or believe the features don’t meet the business’s needs. Some of the most common technology redundancies include:
- Cloud file sharing: If your business has a Microsoft 365 subscription, there is no need to be paying for a DropBox subscription as well. Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint include the exact same capabilities as DropBox and are included in the price of Microsoft 365.
- Virtual meetings/conferencing: If your business has a Microsoft 365 subscription, there is no need to be paying for a Zoom subscription as well. Microsoft Teams includes the exact same capabilities as Zoom and is included in the price of Microsoft 365. You can even include dial-in phone options for your Teams meetings, a feature not known to many.
- PDF Printing/Creation: Both Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS include built-in PDF creation tools. Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) also includes basic editing tools such as PDF markup and electronic signature support. For most users, these free tools include all the capabilities they need. So, a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud or Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro isn’t necessary.
Smarter Hardware Purchasing
One final area many businesses overspend in is hardware. Ironically, the overspending is often a result of trying to save costs by purchasing less-expensive hardware. Other times, hardware is purchased when
it’s not necessary at all, or the hardware includes recurring licensing costs that aren’t factored into the total cost of ownership. Here are some things to consider when buying new technology hardware:
- Printers: When shopping for printers, be sure to also verify the cost for the “consumables” (ink/toner, scanner rollers, etc.). Some manufacturers will take a loss on the hardware knowing they will make up the profits on the consumables. Printers also have specific “duty cycles” and are intended for specific amounts of print volume. It will cost you more in the long term to constantly replace printers after they fail from heavy use rather than invest in a printer intended to handle your volume.
- Computers: As detailed in another blog post (All Computers Are Not Created Equal), computers have different use cases (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, etc.). Trying to use a residential computer in a commercial or industrial application will result in a significantly shorter lifespan. While you may save 20% on the cost of a residential computer over a business-class computer, you will have to replace it more than twice as often, resulting in significantly higher costs over time.
- Phones: For decades, businesses have placed traditional phone handsets on everyone’s desks. While traditional handsets are certainly convenient, the advent of voice over IP (“VoIP”) phone systems has allowed people to conveniently use phone services from their computers or smartphones. Instead of investing $200 in a phone handset, your staff can make/receive calls from their computer with an affordable USB headset. You can even buy wireless Bluetooth headsets for less than the cost of typical phone handsets. Since your team is likely already participating in several virtual meetings every week, they can use the same equipment for both purposes and don’t have to juggle between a desk phone and a headset.
There are countless ways businesses can reduce their technology spending. If your business technology is managed by a mature MSP, they are already working with you on an ongoing basis to evaluate your spending and find opportunities for savings. If you haven’t yet partnered with a mature MSP, though, the above tips will help you get started with some common cost savings opportunities.