Cost-cutting and agile IT: What's it all about?
The term Agile IT isn’t just another meaningless buzzword, it’s a whole new way of working. Focused on streamlining and cost-cutting, Agile IT is changing the workplace as we know it.
Surveys and polls consistently show that the majority of businesses spend a large proportion of their budgets on IT. With the influx of cost-effective new tech and remote working tools, this no longer needs to be the case. Clever IT setups reduce maintenance and management costs, as well as improving efficiency. Businesses should be focusing on “Agile IT,” meaning that they need processes and equipment in place that is optimised to respond to business and market changes instantly and allows for increases or decreases in activity without having to spend time and money on new equipment. Read on for some simple steps on how to decrease IT costs and improve agility!
Take stock of what you’ve got
Start by splitting out all of your IT costs into four detailed lists:
- Software – This includes all products bought outright or licensed periodically; detail the cost, dates and tier
- Hardware – Again this includes leased, bought and not in use items
- Storage costs – Whether its internal, external or hybrid, list out the costs and capacity
- Current contracts – Any IT contracts separate to the lists already created, this could be management, maintenance, or implementation costs.
Once you’ve got a clear understanding of your current IT setup and capabilities, start cross-checking and looking at items that can be consolidated, downgraded or scrapped completely! To start creating an agile setup, the focus should be on streamlining and improving efficiency. Look for IT management & solution companies that offer consolidated services and hybrid approaches to working. Hybrid cloud is a perfect example of a great Agile IT tool. Allowing users to utilise both public and private cloud ensures complete control of data privacy and scalability. A quick way to cut costs is to assess the current tier of all company software and see if any can be downgraded. Focus this process on cutting out unnecessary functions and applications.
Check out new tech
Technology is ever evolving, there are always new software, updates, patches and add-ons being released. Do some research and see if there are any new releases that could benefit the business & teams within it. By spending some money on new tools & tech money can be saved long term. Some key categories to focus on are:
- Collaboration – Make use of the cloud. Free up storage space and allow teams to work together efficiently and easily. Teams should be able to collaborate and communicate instantly from any location.
- Automation – Look to automate updates, system monitoring, scheduling etc. Use the features included on existing hardware and software, alternatively request for your management or maintenance provider to advise on how to streamline.
- Virtualisation – Digitalise your desktop! Reduce spend on servers by implementing hybrid solutions and utilise all aspects of existing software or look to downgrade if a lower tier can accommodate your needs.
There’s been a lot of new tech released this year focused on communication & collaboration. Some of the most popular and best received were:
- G-Suite has released its take on the virtual whiteboard, Jamboard. The screen resembles a normal whiteboard but can be connected to another to allow for remote working and collaboration between locations.
- Slack has continued to be the favourite communication tools amongst companies with large workforces or multiple locations. The continued updates throughout 2017 & 2018 have ensured it remains a widely used tool for instant messaging, file sharing & group communication.
- Microsoft Teams combines workplace chat, meetings, notes and attachments. Teams integrates with an organisation's Office 365 productivity suite including Microsoft office and Skype making it a one-stop shop for collaboration and communication.
Communication is key
Optimise the working environment for your teams with flexible & remote working options. Create remote teams & virtual offices with clever tools that can cut costs and improve efficiency.
- To create a truly agile environment, communication has to be seamless. Virtual working is becoming a more popular option for those with long commutes or flexible working hours. To optimise remote working invest in some top-notch tech to ensure efficiency. Trello, Dropbox, Zoom & Slack are all tried and tested virtual tools that keep everyone on the same page no matter the location.
- Virtual communication through Smart workplace apps can prove to be a huge asset when implemented correctly. The internet of things and its related applications have proven revolutionary when used in safety detection, navigational tools, asset tracking and security. Check out the Smart options available to you or consult an expert to guide you.
Move to the cloud
Although some applications and tools may already be in the cloud, many businesses aren’t fully utilising their cloud setups. Hybrid cloud is a perfect solution for many businesses of varying sizes & disciplines. Offering scalability, cost-effectiveness, and excellent levels of security, Hybrid cloud is quickly taking over as the favoured solution amongst tech-savvy companies looking to streamline.
- Scalability – Make the most of Hybrid clouds ability to scale up and down at no extra cost! Utilise the pay-as-you-go operating policy of public cloud solutions and adapt to your heart's content. For any businesses that face seasonal fluctuations in business and data use, this scalability is priceless. Move all non-sensitive data and the bulk of processing functions into the public cloud space and keep private cloud space for personal data and individual private cloud spaces.
- Cost-effectiveness – All non-sensitive & personal data can be handled in the public cloud with no worry of security breaches. There’s no need to buy any hardware or payout for security and maintenance solutions in public cloud solutions. By scaling back on hardware outlays companies can see huge cost savings. When polled, businesses utilising a hybrid approach saw an average IT cost reduction of 17%.
- Security – By mixing the fully customisable security solutions of private cloud, and the heavy-duty security measures of public cloud, businesses can rest easy knowing that their data is safe and secure. In the past public cloud has got a bad rep for being easily breached, but in recent years providers have seriously upped their security game and built in robust systems to protect users data.
By focusing on automation, collaboration & optimisation of tech teams, businesses can make big savings both in cost and time. Simply downgrading unnecessary software tiers, moving functions into the cloud and streamlining virtual collaborations, can lead to huge cost savings and improved efficiency.