Computers were originally seen as the ultimate cost cutting tool. By computerizing work, we would replace inefficient workers with a system that could do it perfectly every time. 50 years later, computers are a necessary part of nearly every business. Here are some ideas that may help you to reduce costs during uncertain economic times.
- Have a plan. Act rather than react. This seems simple, but can be difficult to remember when the economy is crashing around you. Computers can help with the planning process. What areas and functions are critical, and where could technology help if you need to become more efficient? Work with an IT consultant who can tell you what technology can do for you, and how you can save on costs – it is changing all the time.
- Prevent problems rather than fixing them. It will save you money. Make sure all computers have adequate antivirus and adware protection. Make sure your web browser has a filter for malicious web sites. Have a firewall. Keep your computers patched and up to date. Make sure your backups are adequate. Have a computer use policy for your staff, and enforce it. If you have an in-house expert (or you’re it), make sure they know their limits, and have resources to get good advice when needed. It’s what you don’t know that you don’t know that can cause problems.
- Take advantage of discounts and special programs. Microsoft offers accountants and nonprofits substantial discounts on software. Financing programs are available directly from some IT vendors where credit might be tight elsewhere. Consider buying used or refurbished equipment.
- Make full use of your accounting systems. Every business has 2 or 3 critical measures that tell you if your business is healthy. Is your IT system giving you that information in real time?
- If you are a larger company, consider outsourcing your IT needs. Outsourced help desk services, and people at varying skill levels at varying prices can help you pay only for what you actually need.
- Become more efficient. Time and task management are a skill. Use a PDA/Phone, which keeps your calendar, contact, and email information with you. Use RSS feeds and similar tools to let filtered information come to you.
- Make sure your business is taking full advantage of the web. See www.toriangroup.com/business for more information.
When taking cost cutting measures, strengthen your ability to make profitable sales. Your business, and the economy, depend on it.
By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc.