“I’m told I need more IT security and management yet I have no choice but to cut costs.  What do I do?”

Business was humming along, budgets were expanding, and 2020 growth projections were inspiring entrepreneurs at the start of the year.  A few months later and most businesses are cutting back, reassessing, and redoing 2020 plans.  At the same time, security attacks have increased 400% and companies are more vulnerable than ever in this new work climate.

As an IT provider, this is a situation that we haven’t faced since 2011.  So many businesses need new IT systems and resources at the same time that costs must be cut.  Opportunity costs are dead. Businesses need real, immediate cost relief.

There’s no choice but to rethink everything in a HURRY. Since we know that decisions made in a rush aren’t always the best ones, here is some key information to help guide you.

Redo your IT budget in five days

Monday: List the systems and platforms you currently pay for

Businesses now use far more disparate systems and platforms than we did five years ago.  Cloud file storage, online meetings, expense management, etc.  Each of these things can be a completely different platform.  Nearly all businesses have overlapping systems.  We find that a majority of businesses are paying for duplicate systems for the exact same tasks.  You don’t need to pay for Dropbox when you have Office 365 or G-Suite and get file storage for free.  You don’t need to pay for Zoom when you have Microsoft Teams (it’s more secure anyway, and soon you’ll be able to see more than four people at once).

Key tip: Use a report from your accounting system or your credit card statement to inventory systems.  This is the true source of truth related to your expenses.

Tuesday: List the humans involved

Every business typically has four separate skillsets involved in IT whether they know it or not.  There is infrastructure management, user experience (tech support & training), security, and strategy.  Expertise in one of the four areas will conflict with another so there is no such thing as someone who is great at all of it.  If you have one person managing everything, you undoubtedly are filling in gaps that you may not realize. You should also catalog any skillsets you feel are missing in your IT team.

Key tip: Think about the people your IT teams rely on to understand your business and calculate their weekly investment in time.

Wednesday: Identify your top three risks in IT operations or security

What keeps you up at night from a business of technology perspective?  Work with your IT team to document the top three things and calculate a rough cost for addressing each.  If you don’t know what you should be worried about, ask your most trusted IT team member.  If you don’t have that, go back to yesterday’s step and make sure that you document your gap in having a trusted security resource on your team.

Tip: Many security gaps don’t require highly expensive solutions so don’t make assumptions about what you can and can’t afford.

Thursday: Calculate your “per employee” IT cost

The work you did on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday can now be compiled into a total IT cost per employee.  Add up annual costs for systems and people and divide by the number of technology using employees you have.

Key tip: Don’t forget benefits and equipment costs.

Friday: Move the pieces around and calculate your new desired costs

After you calculate what you are paying now, do it again.  This time remove costs of duplicate systems and inefficient resources. Add in the costs to mitigate the risks you documented on Wednesday.  Your new cost may give you the savings you need.  If it doesn’t, keep going.  Set a goal for your new IT costs and shuffle pieces around to meet that goal. Get help from your most trusted resources.

Key tip: The most impactful places to cut costs are usually the human side.  IT work rarely fits perfectly in a 40 hour work week for each person.  Without elastic solutions, IT can be very inefficient – especially when team members are not working in their area of strength.  Humans don’t need to do tasks that can now be automated.  Your goal isn’t to cut jobs here, but it is to save money.  Quality IT employees are in high demand and will continue to be in high demand.  Don’t hold your team members or your company back with inefficient IT.

Follow-up: Act fast

Budgeting is only part of the process.  Take your newly discovered financial clarity and move forward.  Savings are yours for the taking.

Greystone’s entire goal is to provide the Most Effective IT. Period.  That means that it also needs to be The Most COST EFFECTIVE IT. Period.  It’s easy to assume that less costly IT services will be less personal, less attentive, and less effective.  This is far from true.  When your IT team knows your business and your people, the inefficiency that can be overcome is massive.  There’s never been a better time for Greystone’s Upside Down Service.

Get more…  for less…  better.

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