In an increasingly difficult economic landscape, UK small businesses are looking to drive down their costs. This applies as much to their IT provision as it does everywhere else. Yet, as analysts from IDC and Gartner have argued, focusing on cost reduction alone could be disastrous; businesses need to reprioritise and refocus their IT spending without affecting their ability to compete. This is a tricky balancing act, but possible if you take the right steps.
Your existing PC fleet was a match for the old normal, but how well does it fit with the new? Old laptops or desktop PCs might have worked for the office, but do they fit new remote and home working environments, where bulky form factors, poor performance and low battery life might hold your workers back?
Businesses need to review their device fleet and check that every worker has the right hardware, software and services to do their job. It means looking for cost effective ways to meet changing requirements – with newer systems, upgrades to RAM or a fast SSD could be enough – but also replacing older or slower PCs with newer devices featuring the latest Intel Core vPro technology and Intel Optane memory. Not only will this boost Windows performance, but speed-up access to the most frequently-used data and applications, while easing the workload of management. New hardware can boost productivity while still reducing long-term costs.
Large enterprises regularly review their relationships with IT vendors, so why not scale this down for your smaller business? Analyse your spend with each of your vendors and look for opportunities to rethink. Are there other vendors in the same area offering more competitive products and services? Could you consolidate on a smaller number of key partners? Look at where you’re paying for ongoing support and work out where you can pull back. Be careful about compromising business-critical applications, but there could be ways to trim your costs.
If you’re not using cloud, reconsider. IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Study showed that 81% of organisations are already using cloud-based services or running applications from the cloud, and that most expect to reduce their use of commercially licensed software in favour of Software as a Service (SaaS). Switching to SaaS or a cloud platform can reduce costs, improve performance and make applications and data more accessible. It’s also faster to provision new cloud-based infrastructure on-demand.
Cloud isn’t the answer to everything, and some applications may still be run more cost-effectively in-house. Cloud creep and zombie cloud instances can, unmonitored, push costs upwards. Yet this isn’t a reason not to use cloud, merely that it needs proper management.
Reducing spend on infrastructure and hardware is one thing, but many firms forget about ongoing software licensing and support costs. You could spend years paying for licenses or upgrades on applications that aren’t being used extensively – or using expensive ‘sledgehammer’ solutions for relatively minor ‘walnut’ functions. Could these be handled by another, cheaper product or more cost-effective SaaS?
Virtualisation and containerisation can help you do more, with less. Virtualisation enables you to run more applications and services from a server, and even consolidate your servers to reduce management and energy costs. Containerisation takes this one step further, enabling you to shift applications into lightweight and portable containers, more of which can be run from a single box. As a bonus, it makes the business more scalable and flexible, as containerised applications can be migrated to the cloud or spun up on demand.
Some of the above might sound impractical for a hard-working small business with a small (or non-existent) dedicated IT team. If so, think about Device as a Service (DaaS). With DaaS a technology partner handles all your IT hardware needs for a fixed monthly price, without any upfront costs. This makes DaaS more predictable and affordable than buying, and the provider works with you to find the right devices to meet each worker’s specific needs.
What’s more, devices featuring the latest Intel vPro technology reduce IT workloads even further, enabling DaaS partners to deliver hardware-enhanced security, out-of-the-box, along with regular updates and management features that reduce the manpower in supporting a PC fleet. Dell’s PC as a Service solutions can help reduce total day-to-day management costs by up to 25% over a device’s lifecycle – and leave your IT teams to focus on projects that generate real value. No wonder that a recent IDC survey found that almost 20% of the commercial PC market was expected to move to a DaaS model by 2022.
It’s hard to invest in IT when cash is tight, but shifting to DaaS moves PC expenses from capital expenditure to day-to-day operating expenditure. What’s more, there are other options. For instance, Dell Financing offers 0% interest financing and 90 day deferrals on desktops, notebooks and workstations, along with full lifecycle asset management solutions that can help control expenditure and keep your PC fleet up to date.
You might think a big corporation doesn’t understand small business, Dell Technologies Advisors know the challenges and the role of technology in enabling small teams to do more. For free advice and expert support on tailored intel-based technology solutions that improve productivity while keeping long-term costs under control, visit Dell Small Business Solutions.
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