In Parts 1 and 2 of this series on cutting IT spending waste, you learned about the low-hanging fruit as well as the ever-so-slightly tougher IT expenses to find and cut. In this article, you’ll learn about the type of IT budget cuts that take a bit more time and effort to identify but are so worth it.
Ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work on these more time-consuming projects that reduce IT spend? (Or better, ready to hire an expert Seattle IT support team who will roll up their sleeves for you and take care of everything?) Here’s what to do.
As cloud services increase, this is becoming a bigger issue. Companies can end up with critical, yet duplicate, cloud services without even knowing about it because a small group inside the company will adopt a new cloud tool – and then that tool quickly becomes hypercritical to that small group.
This all sounds innocent enough (at first), but usually the team using the tool chooses it simply because it’s cool or because they don’t realize the company already has tools that cover that functionality.
This situation is probably something you’re already familiar with. In fact, it has a name in the IT world. We call it “shadow IT.”
Most companies discover they have at least some shadow IT once they start digging into the budget. These lurking tools are really frustrating for IT departments because they force the IT team to think about quickly securing new points of data storage that they never had a say in – not during the selection, the design, or the implementation process.
As you can see, these redundant cloud services lead to IT spending waste because they require you to pay for something you already have. They also hurt your IT budget because they require unnecessary extra attention and management from the IT team. What a waste.
Although it takes time to figure out what your cloud service duplicates are, it is well worth it to identify and eradicate them. You’ll be glad you did.
Shadow IT is such an important and costly issue that we’re going to drive this point home.
Let’s take Microsoft, for example. It seems they’ve been heavily targeting the most popular third-party tools over the past few years by incorporating similar functionality into their stack:
Microsoft can now duplicate or approximate nearly all of the functionality that was separately available in Google Drive, Box, DropBox, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Slack, Asana, Basecamp, Trello, various PBXes, IFTTT, and more.
In short, Microsoft now covers storage, collaboration, communications, project management, web programming, and a whole bunch more. So, if you’re using the Microsoft stack as well as those other tools, you probably have room to consolidate.
Expert tip: We recommend that you reduce IT spending waste by paying attention to the new Microsoft 365 feature coming up called “Lists,” which is basically a simple yet flexible database for almost any kind of data storage and retrieval (based on the beloved and powerful, but buried, SharePoint feature). Many popular third-party tools, such as Asana, can be easily replaced with Lists.
It’s pretty easy to see when your paper files have become unwieldly. Whole rooms at your office might be filled with old files until someone finally decides that they should take all the boxes from the ‘90s straight to the shredder. Unfortunately, it’s pretty rare that anyone is paying attention to the number of digital files you have – and that means no one will ever notice when your digital files become unwieldy.
Except… perhaps… your accounting department. They see that your digital file storage and backup costs grow each year, but they rarely question those costs. After all, storage is important, right?
Well, maybe not.
Often, we see clients fill up their backup storage with a cluttered mess of old files or emails, and they think they have to get a new backup solution to handle the additional load. This, of course, will significantly increase their annual cost.
After digging into what is being stored, it’s pretty common that our outsourced IT support team comes across quite a few key areas where we can make more room by deleting a bunch of unnecessary files. Recently, we cleared up space for a client by getting rid of a lot of old, out-of-focus marketing photos from the early 2000s. That saved the client a bundle.
Though it takes some time to sift through all those old files and clean out those digital “file cabinets” you have, it’s a great rainy day activity for departments. It’s far better to clean out the files than to keep paying extra time and energy resources, plus cash, to support old, unmanaged file systems.
If you read through this series on IT spending waste reduction tips and found yourself taking notes and/or cringing as you read – well, that’s probably a sign that you’ve been wasting at least some of your IT budget.
Fortunately, now is a great time to plan how you’re going to lower those high IT costs – and as soon as you have questions, the friendly IT experts at Interplay will be happy to help out.
For 20 years, we’ve been supporting small to midsized organizations that want to get the most out of IT with practical, cost-saving solutions to tricky IT problems. Need a hand crafting a solid cybersecurity plan, the best backup strategy, a handy hardware update, the niftiest network management (or the awesome-ist alliterative sentence you ever saw)? The IT team at Interplay is here to help you – and our IT services company is right here in Seattle, just like your business!