Three Tips for SMBs to Trim IT Budgets

Paul Mah

If there is one thing that is almost certain about most SMBs, it is how IT departments are constantly under pressure to get more done with less. While developments such as cheaper Ultrabooks and even tablets can serve to lower IT budget in some instances, they are more easily realized by a new organization than an existing business looking to pare costs.

Today, I want to highlight three methods that SMBs can use to trim their existing IT budgets.

Pare down on telecommunications costs

Most organizations will be paying for the telecommunication costs of its employees to some extent or other. If kept unchecked, this can become a drain on the budget for no tangible gain where IT is concerned. Quick ways to pare down on this front may entail ceasing to pay for the phone bills of employees who really don’t need to use their mobile phones in the course of their work, or to re-evaluate existing call plans.

The latter is about optimizing call plans to ensure that the company is not overpaying for air time for a staffer who makes very few calls, for example, or upping the data plan tier for another who may be incurring excess data charges on a regular basis. In fact, paring down on costs related to telecommunications apparently made up for a significant portion of VMware’s savings of $2 million.

Perform an upgrade instead of getting new systems

Most businesses would have a schedule to replace a certain proportion of their systems each year. Instead of acquiring new systems outright, however, it may be viable to consider performing an upgrade to stretch the lifespan of existing PCs, followed by the reinstallation of the operating system to clear out accumulated software gunk.

In fact, I’ve just written about the merits of performing an SSD upgrade, which ranks high as one of the most perceptible performance boosts currently available. To be clear, deferring the acquisition of new systems adds only a couple of years at the most; SMBs should avoid putting off getting new systems indefinitely as aging systems are more prone to hardware failures.

Leverage the cloud

There is little doubt that it has matured over the last couple of years. Indeed, the “SMB Cloud Insights” report published during the Parallels Summit just this week forecasted that the SMB Cloud services market is set to hit a sizzling $68 billion by 2014. As small and mid-sized businesses grow comfortable with cloud services, it makes sense to leverage it creatively to help trim IT budgets. For example, SMBs running into the last gigabytes on their obsolete storage servers may want to explore the use of cloud storage – for which an increasing number of reputable cloud storage providers now offer unlimited data storage.

SugarSync just a week ago has announced unlimited storage for SugarSync for Business, while Backupify for Google Apps offers the same for just $4 per user per month. Moreover, aging web servers may be quickly shifted to AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Microsoft Azure without having to spend a fortune on new hardware that has to be manually provisioned. SMBs keen to take a closer look at the cloud may want to read up on how cloud computing can help your SMB compete too.

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