If there is ever an evergreen discussion theme at conferences or other gatherings of IT managers and executives, it's on ways of reducing costs while upping productivity. Where IT is concerned, it comes in many guises, and you have probably heard of most of them by now -- things like "thin clients," "virtualization" and "cloud computing."
I think it will be beneficial to small and medium-sized businesses if I recommend concrete ways to reduce IT expenditures without sacrificing services.
Reduce Your Energy Use Without Buying New Equipment
The logic here is simple: Electricity costs money. If you could reduce your energy consumption, you'd save money, yes? Unfortunately, this is where sales folks go into overdrive pitching their new-fangled, low-power, "green" IT hardware. To help you along, I offer suggestions to help reduce your energy use without buying new hardware.
Optimize Your Telecommunications
Set Limits to Your Corporate Mailbox
Rather than splurging increasing sums of money to upgrade your storage capacity or e-mail infrastructure, a better way to manage spiralling cost could be as simple as setting prudent limits to your corporate mailbox. I also share about how super-sized mailboxes could be the catalyst for some bizarre problems.
Leverage the Economic Downturn to Reduce Your Costs
The economy might be out of the doldrums, but it's hardly out of the woods yet. You might be surprised at how willing vendors are to compromise and renegotiate support costs for your continued business.
Tapping WordPress for Internal Communication
Few would argue against the importance of clear lines of communications in a corporation. While collaboration tools plentiful, some of them do cost a pretty penny to acquire and implement. Here, I explore tapping into the highly popular - and free - WordPress blogging system for internal communications.
Reduce Paper Consumption in the Office
Another obvious way to lower costs is to reduce paper consumption in the office. To help you along, I give several practical suggestions on how to achieve this in the office.
Why SMBs Should Avoid Inkjet Printers for General Use
Some readers have written in to argue that certain models of the newer inkjet printers are really quite economical in their usage of consumables. While I would reserve judgement on the cost competitiveness of larger-capacity "business class" inkjet printers, the fact is that many of the low to mid-end inkjet printers that SMBs end up buying can be very expensive on a per-page basis. Check out my point of view, as well as detailed comments by other SMB Blog readers here.
Keeping Laptops Past Their Useful Lifespan Costs More Than It Saves
Research by J. Gold Associates concluded that keeping laptops past their prime costs more than it saves. Read more about the rationale for that conclusion here.
Green Battery Tips for Laptop Users
Despite what I said in my earlier tip, perhaps it is just not the right time to acquire new laptops for your company. To help you prolong the lifespan of this expensive user-replaceable component, here is advice on how to properly maintain your laptop batteries so as to maximize their usable lifespan.
Using SaaS to Better Define the Cost of Providing IT
Finally, remember the management adage that says "You can't manage what you can't measure"? Well, the use of SaaS can allow businesses to better define the cost of providing IT, paving the way to better management.