As a small to mid-size business specialist, it’s often our responsibility to take over the entire IT provision of our customers, not only offering cutting edge support and services, but also acting as the IT Manager or CTO.
Part of this responsibility is analysing spend, and we regularly sit down with customers to review their budget and look at ways to create efficiencies using technology.
So, how do we go about this? We do this in three ways…
1. Implement regular IT strategy reviews
What is an IT strategy review?
At least once per year, we carry out an IT strategy review with our supported customers. During these face-to-face reviews, we spend time discussing several key areas, looking back at what has gone well and looking forward at new technologies that could improve things in the future.
A look back at the last 6-12 months considers what has gone well, what has gone wrong and whether there are any recurring problems or themes that need addressing. We look at the current state of software licensing, license usage, a breakdown of current users and who is using what software and service subscriptions. Adjusting and tightening up on licences is one of the best ways to instantly reduce unnecessary spend.
A look forward to the next 6-12 months explores what technology has recently been made available that might be of benefit. We think about whether it would fit the organisation and – of course – how much it costs!
Why carry out an IT strategy review?
We don’t view our communication with our customers as just a break/fix IT helpdesk (although, we do that too!), instead, we see the value in long-term relationships. To achieve this, we take on a business’s IT provision as our responsibility and treat the business as we would our own.
Part of this practice is ensuring businesses are getting the most from their current technology, removing inefficiencies, and helping lower operational costs so managers can just concentrate on growing their business instead of worrying about IT.
How does an IT strategy review help me save money?
The feedback we’ve had over the years is that strategy reviews provide the opportunity to be brought up-to-date with changes in technology in areas that have a real and genuine impact on the business. One example is a multi-national business that managed to reduce their Microsoft Office 365 spend by around a third on our advice.
This type of improvement is often the result of industry changes, such as alterations in how cloud backup works. Without regular strategy reviews and ongoing consultation, these changes might not be identified as quickly.
2. Annually audit the nuts and bolts of an organisation’s IT infrastructure
What is an annual IT audit?
Each year we produce a comprehensive report of the IT infrastructure of each organisation we work with. Where our IT strategy is carried out by a solutions specialist who assesses commercial elements, including new products and services, an annual IT audit sees an IT engineer dig into the nuts and bolts of the organisation’s entire IT Infrastructure.
Why carry out an annual IT audit?
We think that providing detailed insight into the current state of IT systems is vital information for every business to have. By having an up-to-date inventory of assets, both physical and digital, an organisation is in a much better position to make informed decisions.
The final third of the document details our recommendations for the coming year, for things which may otherwise have gone unnoticed, such as ageing computers, expiring licenses or out-of-date software.
How can annual IT audits help me save money?
The recommendations we provide are often directly linked to creating more efficient ways of working, therefore improving productivity. These recommendations are not vague or intangible but practical, for example, we might suggest the replacement of the four computers in the marketing department that have been showing signs of very high resource usage leading to drops in performance. Or we might encourage the installation of more memory in the server which hosts the main company database, to create a significant performance gain for all staff who use that application.
3. Technical account managers and solutions consultants keep an eye on customers' IT systems
Who are technical account managers and solutions consultants?
Once a business gets to a certain size – typically above 10-15 staff - we allocate the business a dedicated technical account manager. A technical account manager is responsible for the day-to-day running of the IT in the organisation, whereas a solutions consultant is the go-to for consulting on ongoing issues.
Why do we structure our staff like this?
Our goal is to create a partnership for all things IT, rather than being a faceless helpdesk on the other end of the phone. To achieve this, we know we must be proactive and available at all times.
How do these roles save money?
We have found it to be significantly more efficient having dedicated points of contact. A technical account manager becomes an extension of a business’s team, growing to understand their unique needs and tech set-up. This insight means problems are resolved much quicker, reducing downtime. Likewise, the solutions consultant is familiar and quickly accessible via telephone should improvements need to be implemented efficiently.
Outsourcing IT provision should be much, much more than having a third-party fix problems when they go wrong. We have seen huge success from our customers when we simplify overly complex IT infrastructure, reduce overall costs and create a much more efficient way of working. Within a few weeks of a business signing up with Resolve, we dive headfirst into IT strategy reviews and the proactive management of the business.