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Reducing Information Technology Costs

Reducing Information Technology Costs
  Technology with Integrity

By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc. 


Every business wants to get the most for every dollar they spend to run their business.  Computers are one more expense that business owners must put up with.  On the other hand, you want to leverage technology to increase the productivity of your staff, and provide more and better services to your customers.  How can you spend the least and get the most?

The most important thing you can do is define your objectives. Just like having a business plan greatly increases your chance of success in business, having a technology plan, even if it is rough, can greatly increase your chances of making good investments in technology.  In many cases, you may need to start with business objectives, and get expert advice on how technology can be used, and just as important, what is not possible. 

For example, you know you want to increase sales volume, and think online ordering will open up a new market for your product.  Should you buy a server, or contract with a web service company?

By tracking costs against the original business goal, you can determine the return on your IT project.  This can be tricky, because many IT costs and benefits are indirect.  Without goals, it is hopeless.

Many small companies have just a few computers in the office, and perhaps a server. When they grow, they go down to the store and buy another computer, and plug it in.  Someone in the office knows something about computers, and helps out. Management may not pay much attention to them until something breaks.  Then it’s time to call the computer repairman.  This is in line with how typewriters were used. 

Smarter companies will either hire or contract with a skilled IT professional, who can assist them with an overall IT plan. This person will get familiar with the business goals and processes, and provide suggestions on how to best leverage IT for their particular situation.  If done right, the “Chief Technology Officer” provides feedback and guidance to management as business needs change.  The success of this will depend on the skills and breadth of experience of the person doing the planning.  Just like you go to an accountant for tax and financial planning, you should go to your IT expert for technology planning.  If you hire a bookkeeper, you don’t expect them to determine your financial strategy. Many companies can’t afford to keep a CPA on staff for the limited time they are needed for their specialized skills. Similarly, you may need to hire outside help for competent IT planning.  By planning well, you reduce your overall IT costs.

Tim Torian teaches computer networking at the College of Sequoias, and has owned and managed several businesses. He is president of Torian Group, Inc. which provides a full range of Technology Consulting services to local business, including computer services, networking, and custom software development. They can be reached at (559) 733-1940 or on the web at http://www.toriangroup.com


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