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hand placing coins into a jar, to highlight the concept of cost control

Why cost control is the best way to future-proof a business

Talk about cost control in most businesses, and the first reaction is that it is a sign that the company is on its way out, with greater cuts to come.

That is probably true for a lot of companies, but cost control should not just be seen as a last-ditch attempt to salvage a failing business.

Rather, cost control done properly is something that can make a business more efficient and prepare it for the future. Technology is a big area where cost control can pay huge dividends, but it should be seen as a long-term project, not just a one-off.

As Jim McGittigan, research vice-president at the technology adviser Gartner, says: “All organisations attempt to optimise IT costs. But those that do it best focus on cost optimisation as an ongoing discipline, not as a one-off exercise.”

Good cost control is working out where money can be saved now while leaving flexibility to expand (permanently or temporarily) to meet demand in the future.

For that reason, the first thing that all businesses need to do is look at all existing processes to work out each one’s IT costs and where the inefficiencies are. Benchmarking against industry averages is a good way to work out if you are spending too much money in one area.

Using this method, companies can quickly see where they are spending unnecessary money. The trick is not just to cut cost, but work out how the process can be best delivered now and in the future. Across all IT projects, there are some common themes that should be explored.

Moving to cloud services

Cloud computing is the biggest revolution to hit businesses since the dawn of the internet. By moving to a cloud service, your company stops buying software and instead moves to a subscription model, which is fast becoming the industry norm.

Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner, says: “Customers have moved from buying or leasing technology, via buying IT services, to ‘buying’ long-term relationships with providers. A hybrid cloud/on-premises model is rapidly becoming enterprises’ deployment model of choice, and most software providers are becoming businesses that deploy using a cloud model.”

With cloud services, you get several significant advantages. Your IT team no longer has to maintain and upgrade software and hardware, with this requirement shifted to the cloud provider. Planning also becomes far easier, as cloud services can easily be scaled up or down at the click of a button. With the cloud offering huge cost savings and better agility, it should be a no-brainer for most companies.

See why cloud computing should be at the heart of your business.

The cloud is particularly advantageous when replacing a proprietary legacy system.

Software licence optimisation

Cloud or otherwise, companies can save money by optimising the software licences that they use. According to research from Gartner, businesses can save up to 30 percent on software costs by optimising their licences.

Software is often complicated to buy, with many options. The default choice is often to buy the most expensive, fully featured option. By analysing what each user needs to do, it is possible to cut costs by downgrading licences.

Next, businesses need a way to recycle existing licences. When an old computer is retired, or an employee leaves or moves jobs, it is crucial that existing licenses are moved elsewhere in the company or, if possible, cancelled. Many businesses are sitting on thousands of pounds of software that is not being used.

Managed hardware

Just as cloud services can save businesses a lot of money by switching to a subscription model, the same can be said of managed hardware.

For example, with Brother’s Managed Print Services, you can upgrade your hardware, have predictable costs and move the burden of management. Buying in hardware this way also means that you are hiring in expertise that it is unlikely your company will have.

This means that you get a bespoke system, tailored for your company’s needs. Managed hardware services are flexible and can grow with your company. See are major firms wasting capital expenditure on in-house IT?

A continued process

These examples have a common theme: they reduce IT burden, save money and make a company more flexible. For continued success, it is important that cost control continues to be at the heart of all IT decisions, with continual reviews.

With these plans in place, companies can grow easily and weather tough periods more easily.

Learn how small businesses from various sectors are employing technology to their advantage by visiting Brother’s business solutions homepage.

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