Supporting your IT effectively is essential for driving a competitive, fast and reliable business operation today, but it’s also important to get the best value from your IT. This starts with mapping your IT outgoings to get a realistic picture of your IT support costs, and from there, opportunities to reduce them while boosting performance. This is true for business IT support in local areas like Boardman and Mahoning County, just as it is for businesses in Paris and Dubai!
In this blog, we help you to break down the types of IT expenses to watch out for, so that you can take the first steps towards controlling and optimizing your IT budget, and how it may develop in the future.
The Chicken and Egg Problem: IT Strategy or IT Budget?
Accounting for your IT budget goes hand in hand with a realistic IT strategy; on the one hand, your IT budget needs to fully reflect the costs arising from your IT-related spending, while on the other, the budget should include investments that enable your business to implement new technology that empowers its strategic success.
It’s possible to fire on all cylinders here, you can use the categories below to capture the IT-related spending of your business as it is, and roughly anticipate more variable costs such as ‘maintenance and upgrades’. You can then survey your software, infrastructure, connectivity, and other aspects of your tech to increase your business’s growth, scalability, efficiency and productivity. This can include opportunities for creating digital transformation in your business.
Types of Business IT Expenses
By documenting these IT expenses, not only will this help you to capture your spending, but you can also delve more deeply into these areas to find superior performing but cost-effective alternatives.
Hardware and Software Purchases
The most apparent IT expenses are hardware and software purchases. These include computers, servers, networking equipment, and the software licenses needed to run them. Staying updated with the latest technology is a valuable practice but can also cost more than it needs to in many cases. Cloud-based solutions for hosting, applications, or leasing hardware can help you to lower upfront costs and to manage your spending on a month-by-month basis.
Maintenance and Upgrades
Maintenance is an ongoing expense that often gets overlooked. It includes regular software updates, hardware maintenance, and the replacement of outdated or malfunctioning equipment. In regions like Mahoning County, where businesses might not have large IT departments, outsourcing maintenance can be a more cost-effective strategy, ensuring that IT systems are up-to-date and running smoothly without the need for full-time staff.
IT Support Services
For growing businesses eventually there will be a need to build an internal IT support function or an outsourced one. This happens because of a rise in complexity, gaps in knowledge, and often the need for leaders and managers to move beyond serving as the business’s ad-hoc IT support.
Outsourcing IT support can be a more economical option that is able to wrap around the IT needs and goals of your business and cater to them within a monthly package with a predictable cost. IT support providers can often take care of all of these categories and help you to streamline them into one bill. These include cybersecurity, managing cloud services, and monitoring, maintaining and optimizing your IT environment to work at its best.
Cybersecurity is a critical investment for businesses of all sizes. The cost of protecting your data and systems from cyber threats can include firewalls, antivirus software, and other security measures. Cybersecurity is a growing concern in Ohio and contrary to some popular beliefs, any business, including smaller ones, can be targeted by cyber criminals today. We would advise allocating resources towards cybersecurity measures in your business as it continues to grow.
Cloud Services and Data Storage
Cloud computing makes it possible to host your business’s data and digital services via the internet. For example, instead of having on-premise servers, you can have your hosting held across multiple data centers through one provider, who is able to charge on a more precise ‘pay for what you use’ pricing model, as well as offer more reliability, performance and scalability for your business’s infrastructure.
It’s worth examining where cloud technology, including cloud-based software can benefit your business. If you’d like help with understanding if the cloud can add profitable value to your business, get in touch with us for a personalized consultation.
Training and Development
Another often-overlooked expense is training and development. Depending on the business and the industry, training on IT tools can take up time from the working week and this is an expense worth documenting.
Telecommunications expenses involve internet services, phone systems and other communication tools in your business. With the rise of cloud services and remote working, ensuring that this aspect of your business is delivering the best bang for your buck is vital. These costs can add up over time, and alongside better deals and alternative products and solutions, this area is worth tracking for making sure the digital fundamentals of your business are cost-efficient and working powerfully.
Websites and E-commerce Platforms
There’s a strong chance that your business has a website, which as a minimum will involve hosting and domain costs. For other businesses, particularly those selling products, it’s also important to document the cost of their e-commerce platform accounts
Consultation and Outsourced IT Projects
Occasionally, your business may need to use outsourced expertise to help you to plan or undertake specific IT projects in your business. These projects may include undertaking an office move, undertaking a networking project, or migrating your files and tools to a cloud workplace platform such as Microsoft 365.
Balancing Your IT Costs with Needs
The key to managing IT support costs effectively is balancing your needs with your budget. This requires a strategic approach that can help you to prioritize your investments and spending:
- Regularly Review and Audit IT Expenses: Keep a close eye on your IT expenditures to identify areas where you can cut costs or need to increase investments.
- Prioritize Investments: An IT strategy and a practical technology roadmap helps you to align your technology with your strategic goals, and to prioritize your investments accordingly.
- Consider the Total Cost of Ownership: When purchasing new equipment or software, consider the total cost of ownership, which includes maintenance, upgrades, and support.
- Explore Outsourcing Options: Outsourcing can be a cost-effective way to manage your IT needs without the large financial and time-based investments of building a full-time team.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest IT trends and solutions, to make informed decisions that can save money in the long run and help you to sharpen your competitive edge.
Businesses in the local area of Youngstown and the wider Mahoning County can all benefit from tracking and optimizing their IT spending. An IT support provider can greatly help to simplify these efforts and take the time, stress and complexity out of getting the best from their IT both in the day to day and wider strategic operation of your business.
We’re Cyber Express – Exceptional IT Support, Cybersecurity and Technology Solutions for Ohio Businesses
From our home in Boardman, Cyber Express provides IT support, technology management, cybersecurity services and class-leading solutions to businesses across Youngstown, Mahoning County and the wider region. Our approach to IT support ensures our clients enjoy a proactive, friendly and tailored service that addresses key challenges and delivers growth-enabling technology. Get in touch today, to discuss your IT support or computer repair needs. Our friendly team can’t wait to take your call.