How to find the right IT solution for your budget
24th July 2018
Managing costs is vital to businesses of all sizes. The bottom line is crucial, especially in those early days when you are transforming from a fledging start-up to a successful company.
When it comes to IT budgets, small or medium-sized businesses can find it hard to keep up. You still need an increasing level of IT support in order to not just compete, but grow.
Effective IT support allows staff to operate safely and productively online and it can provide powerful tools that enable companies to step up to the next level - good IT solutions can be integral to success.
Even though keeping IT costs under control is vital, it doesn’t mean you need to reduce the quality of service. With careful planning, there are smarter ways to get the IT support you need without breaking the bank.
Knowing Your Budget
The first step is to understand what you IT budget is. This is always a challenge as it needs to be agreed between the key business stakeholders – who all have different priorities.
Many companies only consider spending on infrastructure updates when they face a threat to business continuity, such as an IT disaster, when they are struck by a cyber security incident, or when it becomes clear that their hardware or software is no longer fit for purpose. This approach is usually a false economy and will cost your business more in the long run.
If you have an inhouse tech team, good IT planning can highlight where increased efficiency and reduced costs can be made, making it easier to come to an agreement on your proactive IT spend.
Within the budget, it is wise to set aside separate amounts of money to spend on maintenance and support for your current technology, and on new IT equipment or updates. Both are of equal importance.
If you do not have an experienced inhouse team, external IT Support functions are always happy to provide advice and guidance to help you set the right budget for your business.
Setting Your Strategy
Setting out an IT strategy is just as important as your overall business strategy – and they should align. When setting your short and long-term business goals, you must keep in mind how they impact or influence your IT Infrastructure and be confident your systems can keep up.
Your strategy should include the types of software and hardware you will use, and you should ensure that these are all compatible and can keep up with any planned growth or diversification.
Prioritising Your Needs
Rather than aiming for a complete IT infrastructure overhaul, it is better to identify and focus only on the main priorities to begin with - what hardware, software and applications are most important to the daily processes that keep your business running efficiently and profitably?
If you have a limited IT budget you need to pick the most critical enhancements – for example, if productivity and efficiency could be improved by employees working remotely using mobile devices, then it would be worth investing in the mobile IT infrastructure that can make this happen.
If your systems or network are at risk from hackers or ransomware, or your data protection procedures are not up to date to meet new requirements such as the GDPR, you should focus on your cyber security.
Either way, you should decide what is best for your business.
Outsourcing Your IT
Having the budget to recruit a dedicated IT team is rare for SMEs, and even those that do, it is highly unlikely that their staff would be able to handle every technical issue with the level of expertise required, and be able to provide the support for innovation and growth.
Contracting an outsourced IT support team gives you access to the experience and knowledge that can handle issues with the added value of 24/7 remote monitoring and support – it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to get a great IT package without employing onsite staff.
You can also benefit from the insights and advice they can offer regarding expansion and innovation within your budget.
Look For Flexibility
With the various types of IT Support on offer, you can opt for a scalable model which is a very cost-effective way to ensure you have the IT support you need, at a price you can afford. Even though your future business plans are predicting growth, you can start off with a manageable IT Solution in the beginning - but with the capacity for it to grow as the business does, or scale down if necessary to save on costs.
A hybrid IT solution is where a business uses a combination of in-house technology and out-sourced cloud computing. With this approach, your business can continue to use your existing IT infrastructure while upgrading and enhancing it when needed, making this option flexible and cost-effective.
Working with a trusted IT Partner
Discussing your requirements with a professional IT consultant can help to guide you through the best options and solutions that fit your budget and align to your objectives. Talk to us today about how we can help.