When it comes to IT budgets, small or medium-sized business can’t compare with large organisations, but they do still need an increasing level of IT support in order to not just compete, but grow. But how can they keep up with the big boys and invest in the technology they need while still staying within budget? Here, we outline some of the most cost-effective options for smart IT investment that will help reduce costs and increase efficiency, and how an outsourced IT support service can help.
Knowing the IT Budget
Before you even get into choosing the IT support the organisation needs, decisions need to be made regarding the IT budget itself, and this can be fraught with challenges.
- The IT Manager or CTO wants to invest in the best possible technology and IT support they can get in order to support business-critical process and to innovate for future growth.
- The business owner wants the company to operate efficiently, succeed and to grow, without getting bogged down in the tech needed to make this happen.
- The CFO, for the most part, doesn’t want to get into the tech side of things, and just wants spend to stay in budget, to see an ROI on investment, and to ensure the company maintains a healthy profit.
Many companies operate under an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to IT, and business owners (and the CFO) only consider spending on tech 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 hardware or software has been run into the ground, has reached the end of its lifespan, or is simply no longer fit for purpose. But it is important for the CTO to outline the importance of ongoing IT investment.
There are ways for the IT team to ensure that the entire organisation is singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to IT investment. By presenting their plans in a language the business owner and CFO can understand, showing where increased efficiency and reduced costs can be made, and collaborating with stakeholders to create an IT roadmap that aligns with the company’s overall strategy, they can come to an agreement on proactive tech spend that everybody can be happy with.
After that, it’s a matter of making the smart investments and finding the most cost-effective ways to enhance your business processes.
Rather than trying to implement tech upgrades that will require an IT infrastructure overhaul, it’s best for the CTO to identify and focus on the main priorities: what machinery, devices and software are most important to the daily processes that keep the business running? The SME budget is unlikely to be able to stretch to major investments across the board, so pick the most critical enhancements that are possible with the resources available within the next year.
If, for instance, productivity and efficiency could be improved by implementing a remote working policy using mobile devices, invest 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 scratch to meet new requirements such as the GDPR, focus on bolstering your cyber security.
By focusing on the most important IT needs, your business can at least keep running as usual and live to fight another day, when an increased budget may become available for further investment.
An outsourced IT service in London can be an invaluable asset in this regard. They can perform an IT audit to identify the most pressing tech support needs of the business, advise on the best solutions, and can assist in their integration, leaving your in-house IT staff free to handle daily tasks.
Go with a scalable IT model
Rather than throwing your entire IT budget at a costly tech investment that more than meets your current and future business needs, opting for a scalable model can be a very cost-effective way to ensure you have the IT support you need, at a price you can afford.
There are a lot of IT upgrades available to businesses on a budget, and many vendors can offer scaled-down versions of their full package, enabling SMEs to upgrade their IT infrastructure to meet their needs, but with the ability to level up or expand that offering as they grow.
Starting small with the basic systems and devices your business needs to operate, a scalable IT solution can expand to handle additional demand or more capabilities, if, and hopefully when, the need arises.
An outsourced IT support service can provide the expertise you need to make the right decisions regarding scalable IT models, and can oversee the implementation of the technology you need now, and its expansion over time.
Much of the ability to scale IT solutions comes from the cloud, which leads us to…
Choose Hybrid IT
Hybrid IT, whereby a business uses a combination of in-house technology and cloud computing, is all about scalability. With this approach, an SME can continue to use their existing IT infrastructure while upgrading and enhancing it when needed.
There are many benefits of moving to the cloud, but one of the major ones is this ability to scale within a subscription-based model, and to turn IT spend into an OpEx rather than a CapEx, reducing up-front costs and ensuring that if money gets tight, you can also reduce the IT support you receive.
An IT consulting service and support team can offer the advice you need to make the right decision regarding the balance of your hybrid IT approach, assessing your current IT infrastructure with an IT audit and matching your strategic plans to the cloud solution that will work best for you.
They can also oversee the deployment of cloud services and provide the management and IT support you need to ensure a swift and hassle-free migration to cloud services, without causing any disruptions to business as usual.
Outsource your IT Support
One big challenge for SMEs is that they often don’t have the resources to hire a dedicated IT team, and even those that do can’t expect their staff to be able to handle every tech issue with the level of expertise required, and be able to provide the support for innovation and growth.
Hiring an outsourced IT support team in London for your UK business, on the other hand, means you can avail of experience and expertise to handle any and all tech issues, while benefiting from the insights and advice they can offer regarding expansion and innovation within your budget.
Opting for an outsourced IT partner means you don’t have to pay out for a full-time in-house IT team, as all maintenance and monitoring can be done from an external service desk that provides 24/7 support.
They can advise on and implement new technology for you, take a proactive machine maintenance approach by acting as a virtual CTO to identify tech issues before they happen, and handle them efficiently. They can also deliver strategic and future-proof solution designs that fit with your budget, and take care of network and infrastructure security, as well as bring cost savings through volume licensing.
The team at Optimity can help your business find and implement the right IT solutions to fit your budget. Get in touch to find out more, and take the first steps towards discovering what tech support you need by booking an IT audit with us.