"Three Rock has consulted for me in three organisations to date and has worked on many varied projects. I have found Peter Mac and his team's expertise and honesty to be refreshing in this industry."
Peter Laws, ex CIO William Angliss TAFE College and IT Manager Department of Human Services
Given the current economic climate IT managers minds have been forced to focus on managing their budgets and ensuring they maximise the benefits of any spend. This article provides a list of possible steps your organisation can undertake to reduce your IT costs.
How many servers have you running in your server room? What's their performance profile? Would you be interested if you could reduce your server headcount to one third of its' current levels. Virtualisation is the name of the game. This is where you run multiple 'virtual' computers on the one piece of hardware. Each virtual computer has it's own operating environment and all it shares is the hardware resources with its virtual neighbours. Virtualization is the perfect solution for applications that are meant for small- to medium-scale usage and can save on hardware headaches that arise out of maintaining multiple pieces of hardware.
Open Source Software
In most organisations every PC has two cost factors. Firstly there's the cost of the hardware, then there's the cost of the hardware. The PC running on the receptionist's desk probably cost about $850 in hardware terms and another $600 for the operating system (Windows whatever) and the Word processor/Spread sheet software. There has been a trend over the last few years to see an increase in software functionality (bloatware) pushing the need for higher performance hardware.
Looking at open source software even on a limited basis (especially on new PCs) can see a reduction in your licensing costs and provide equal functionality as its' more expensive cousin. There's also the added benefit of not having to worry about license conformity...because open source comes with its' own license (and it's free).
How many phone lines do you have coming into your business? What's you line rental bill every year? Moving to Naked DSL means you get a piece of wire into your premises that allows you to make/receive phone calls without paying a telecom carrier for the pleasure. You move the cost of the line rental over to an Internet Service Provider who you were probably using anyway to provide you with an internet service anyway. Here at Three Rock, we used to pay $66 per month plus call charges on renting two lines. We also paid $69 for an internet connection. Now we pay $84 plus minimal call charges because all local land-line calls are free. That's a saving of about $600 per year and we've one less utility bill.
We often hear from customers that a PC that used to be working fine has started to slow down and they'd like to get a price on getting a new PC. Unlike the rest of us, PCs don't slow down. They keep working until blue smoke starts escaping from their nether regions. What has probably happened is the latest version of Office has been installed and unlike the last version that only needed 512MB of memory to run, this version needs 1024MB. So your trusty PC is now working flat out keeping up with all the fancy graphics and features now required to run you word processor. The solution: Stick another bit of memory in the box. It costs $70 in parts and $70 in labour to get you back in business. not $1000 on a new machine. The same also holds true for hard disk drives filling up with 'stuff'. A new hard disk can be purchased and installed for about $250 and keep you going for the next couple of years.
Don't Cut Corners
Huh? How's that going to reduce my costs?
A power outage in South East Melbourne (26/08/2009) saw the UPS systems we placed into customer sites pay off. Each UPS allowed us to switch off servers gracefully giving us a much better chance of rebooting when the power came back on. Computers don't like having power cut suddenly. In fact they positively hate it.
Is there somebody in your organisation who knows what to do if you get infected with a virus? If you can't scrub the offending computer clean, you could be out of business for days. For that matter is there somebody in your organisation who can tell if you're infected or not?
Backups, on-site, off-site fire-proof safes, in the bank. When was the last time you tried to restore anything successfully from a backup tape/disc?