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IT Budgeting in 2020

During the first lockdown many of us spent quite a lot of valuable cash on kit to enable people to work from home. Now as winter starts to arrive and we lift our heads up just a bit to look at the future we should prepare our firms to be fit for purpose going forward. Here are five steps you can take to reduce costs, make yourselves more productive, and rethink what the future looks like for you and your firm.

1. Reduce Costs

2. Plan for productivity gains

3. Redeploy resources

4. Question sacred cows

5. Start from Scratch

1. Reduce costs

Take your IT Spend for this year and look at every item. What do you really need to continue to operate? Separate your list into three columns: Need to have, Nice to have, don’t need. Bear in mind that your business will be different whilst the economy recovers. Anything you think you can do without get rid of it and cancel the subscriptions. Often firms lose money by having more licences than they need.

Negotiate, your software suppliers are expecting it so you should try most of them will offer a discount for a two or three year commitment. If they won’t then look at the market, there are providers out there who will give significant upfront discounts if you move provider for your core line of business applications.

You should be able to knock 20 – 30% off your IT costs without too much trouble.

2. Plan for productivity gains

Where you are making an investment, you should only be doing it where the payback is within the next 12 months, addresses an immediate problem, and increases productivity. One area worth consider is automated Credit chasing software Chaser. This is a no brainer for most firms, you can use it to improve your own debtor position, plus offer it to clients as a service. During a period where no doubt cash will become tight this is a real benefit to your firm and its clients

Use what you have properly; how much software do you have installed and not really using all of its features. Certainly, with the pace of change in Microsoft 365 you are almost certainly not using Teams, Planner, Stream, and Bookings as you might. So many firms are still using the key applications in the way they did when they first purchased them. Despite the fact that software vendors add functionality every year.

3. Redeploy resources

Look at your office-based infrastructure, for example large printers and photocopiers do you need as many as you once did? Can you get rid of some realise some cash and reduce on going maintenance costs? Looks at your servers with less people coming in can you redeploy some of the servers and slim down what you have left. Reduce the amount of kit you are supporting.

Support and Maintenance contracts

When you look at how your IT support maintenance contracts are calculated can you pivot and reduce the costs. Often there is slack built into the model can you remove that and move to a break and fix model where you only pay when you really need something sorted rather than a mixed model of retainer and pay as you go.

4. Question Sacred Cows

Often when I was in practice partners would continue with a service or piece of software because they always did it in the past. Now more than ever you should question every piece of software or hardware you have. Do you need it can you do without it? Does the cost outweigh the benefit, it might help but does it pay for itself and more? Be bold and if in doubt throw it out.

5. Start from scratch

Sometimes it can be difficult to get clarity when trying to dismantle IT systems that have been put together over years. A great way of seeing through the fog is to imagine you are starting your firm from scratch. Establish the basics and then aim for that simplistic goal. Declutter your IT estate and gain the cost benefits.

If you need any help with this please let us know happy to help.

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