Year after year, IT continues to be a vital element for businesses around the world. According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is expected to reach $3.5 trillion by the end of the year. But just because IT is growing doesn't mean your budget has to grow along with it. Many SMBs are taking steps to reduce their IT budget without sacrificing growth.

1. Minimize Your IT Related Assets

IT infrastructures naturally grow with your business to meet your expansion needs. For companies with limited IT resources, this can often result in redundant, forgotten, or otherwise unused resources. In fact, the federal government spends as much as $20 billion per year managing obsolete resources. One way to stay ahead of the curve is to perform an IT infrastructure audit in order to identify and determine which resources are essential to your business and which ones you no longer need.

First, determine your exact needs. What are your server, network, and workstation requirements? Do you have any specialized hardware that can't be replaced with an off-the-shelf equivalent? Can you remove certain redundant resources without compromising your disaster recovery plan? Are you paying for any software or licensing subscriptions that you no longer need?

Once you've identified your needs, audit your current IT infrastructure. Create an inventory of all your hardware and software, including remote workstations and mobile devices. Then, compare your inventory against your list of requirements. Anything that doesn't appear in both lists can be repurposed, recycled, sold and/or eliminated.

2. Assess & Review Your Labor Resources

Reallocating employees can have a huge impact on IT costs. Infrastructure management and operational resources account for nearly half of the average enterprise's IT staff, where much of their time is spent performing day-to-day operational tasks. Use this to determine what is and isn’t necessary and if there is any opportunity for automation or alternative operational efficiencies. Streamlining these tasks allows you to reallocate your employees to more important and strategic initiatives.

3. Consider a Single 3rd Party Vendor

As you’re well aware, your expenses increase along with more vendors, technology and contracts required to run your business. Business growth also brings a more complex environment that requires specialized hardware, software and skill sets for optimal performance. As you embark on this journey, you may want to consider your options for consolidating your IT service needs under one roof with one vendor.

While it's not always possible, vendor consolidation can be conducive to more efficient operations, reducing complexity, better management, and cost savings. Furthermore, many IT providers offer discounts for service bundles and new customers.

4. Consider an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP)

More and more SMBs are turning to the growing managed services industry. In 2012, SMBs relied on managed services to deliver 40% of their information technology support and maintenance. With turnkey management of your day-to-day IT operations, MSPs enable your employees to focus on tasks that contribute towards the growth and development of your business. Managed IT Services and MSPs implement and perform specialized tasks such as ongoing, 24/7 infrastructure (hardware and software) monitoring, security, and updating in a proactive approach to preventing costly issues from arising. Additionally, most MSPs offer their services at a fixed monthly rate that can be adjusted based on the specific needs of your business.

In conclusion, lowering your IT costs doesn't necessarily mean you’ll have to make sacrifices. By taking the time to analyze your business IT needs, whether you do it internally or outsource to an IT vendor and/or MSP, you’ll be able to make better informed decisions and ultimately, experience growth, quality IT, and substantial cost savings collectively.

If you need help with an IT audit or inventory assessment, be sure to let us know if we can help. Call us at 619-473-5600 or simply contact us