How To Get The Best Bang From Your IT Budget
October 31, 2018 | Digitex
Over the past five years, there has been a movement away from buying IT and towards subscriptions. You no longer own software, you pay for it on a monthly basis. Is this trend positive?
How can you turn this trend into a strategic business advantage?
The Internet is a fantastic place these days. From its early days as a place to find information or contact people, it's now the place where businesses buy things. As bandwidth has increased, software has been rebuilt to run in the cloud, instead of it residing on your laptop—well, most of it has (hello, MS Office users!)
First, the bad news. You have to keep paying for it. When you bought software in the past, you could often skip out on paying maintenance for a year or two if you were happy enough with the current product—subscriptions don’t let you do that. And, since your data is often on their servers, getting cut off from your CRM, accounting and mission critical documents could hurt your business.
But the benefits of subscriptions are overwhelming. The best way to demonstrate this is to compare it to the way your Microsoft server and email likely ran your business a few years ago. When you hosted your own email, on your own server, you constantly had problems like user licence limits, crashing hardware, connectivity problems, upgrade headaches, and stolen hardware. You probably had to hire a dedicated IT employee to manage it, or at the very least, had periodic bills from a service partner—even though often those employees created the problem in the first place.
You don't know when a cloud server goes down, if the software has been upgraded, or when your backup is running; it's all part of your subscription.
Financial managers like that the bills are predictable, and if you do have a problem, technical support is usually included. These systems also typically integrate with each other—CRMs like Salesforce will integrate with your Quickbooks online. The headache of securing that data is also included in the price. It’s easier to sleep at night knowing your data is secure and accessible with a company like Microsoft or Google. It may seem like the cost of software increased, but it also achieved some savings in server hardware, licenses, and most importantly, the IT labour you employed to manage it.
Hardware like laptops, monitors, and desktops should be managed as a service/subscription as well. We often forget that the hardware our employees work on is such a big part of their job. Take laptops, for example, they can vary by a few thousand dollars each! In the last blog we wrote about what to look for in a new laptop. You probably don’t need a high-end gaming machine for your employee, but buying cheaper hardware will increase the risk of a breakdown. Especially as many employees spend 8 hours per day on those devices. Depending on your business, buying employees laptops instead of a desktop can make them feel more important. It can also leave open the possibility of working from home or doing extra catch up work when needed.
Laptops and PCs should be upgraded every three years. You can also add in a next business day service package to most hardware at a low monthly cost. This usually covers parts and labour, which again, can be quite expensive. When you buy a new device, software bundles are often much lower than if you buy them on their own, so, MS Office 365 which includes your email client, anti-virus, and some cloud storage often equates to pennies a day.
If you “refresh” your hardware fleet on a regular basis, it cuts down on training and disruption as employees discover new features together and do not feel silly asking each other questions. Financing hardware in bulk can often significantly lower the cost as the rates are better the more you spend.
Here's a good model we suggest at Digitex that ticks most of these boxes.
Hardware is often overlooked when we think about technology decisions but it is central to your employees' productivity. Let your Digitex rep help you put together a technology plan for your office. Contact us today!