Key Strategies for Improving IT Cost-Effectiveness

In a fiercely competitive environment where cost efficiencies matter, CIOs and other C-level executives are always interested in new and innovative ways to hold the line when it comes to IT expenditures. Through popular social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, today’s CIOs are actively sharing IT cost-cutting strategies in hopes of gaining greater insight and knowledge into their operations, as well as an economical edge against the competition.

As a result, many C-level executives have developed a variety of approaches toward reducing IT costs. Here is a sampling of the ideas shared.

13 Key Strategies

  1. Maintain department staffing vacancies to further reduce IT costs. By leaving IT departments understaffed by 5 percent, some companies hope to recoup their staffing and resource costs.
  2. Shift IT team focus toward core competencies while relocating other ancillary functions to third-party organizations. Many companies have already questioned the wisdom of maintaining certain IT functions under their umbrella, as these functions often take focus away from their core competencies. Releasing such responsibilities to outside specialists creates greater incentives for IT departments, especially from fiscal and efficiency-related standpoints.
  3. Embrace the centralized virtual desktop model. This model is intended to replace the traditional cyclic PC desktop estate refresh, resulting in a more efficient use of IT resources at a lower cost.
  4. Expand the use of open-source alternatives for established industry applications.
  5. Develop greater openness toward capturing IT cost-cutting ideas from the field.
  6. Enhance employee training through self-paced learning.
  7. Promote shared services and products throughout IT and other departments.
  8. Harness the full potential of hardware and software assets.
  9. Review and realign management to technical staff ratios. A growing number of companies are doing this to reflect changing staffing needs and the continuing push toward improved IT efficiency. Such ratios may grow or shrink based on the company’s immediate and long-term goals.
  10. Realign team structures and restructure incentives to provide greater efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.
  11. Place vendor and product selection under greater scrutiny via auditing.
  12. Renegotiate IT maintenance contracts in reflection of company margins.
  13. Foster improvements in vendor performance and costs through holistic supplier sourcing and contracting. By taking a more holistic approach toward global procurement, companies are better able to act dynamically while reducing risk and improving cost-effectiveness.

5 Considerations for Successful Colocation

Years ago, businesses handled their data storage and management needs on their own, with a full-time in-house staff and a sizable budget. Since then, rising IT infrastructure costs and a growing emphasis on lean budgeting has driven more and more companies to relocate their data to third-party colocation facilities.

Many business leaders tasked with relocating data already understand the potential advantages that colocation offers. However, there are several lesser-known issues that a company must consider before moving their data.

#1. Stability Matters

Nothing lasts forever – and the same can be said for IT companies. Providers come and go, and in a volatile arena like IT, it pays to know where a potential colocation facility stands and how long they plan on standing. Any potential candidate for colocation should have a solid history as well as a solid reputation among users.

Candidates with a large customer base are also preferable – a large space is usually a sign that the company isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The company’s financial state should also be up for consideration, since a company that’s bleeding money is a much shakier bet when it comes to longevity – and longevity matters when it comes to relocating data.

#2. So Does Security

Security is one of the most important aspects to consider when relocating data. Various regulatory compliance measures such as HIPAA require a high standard of due diligence, and keeping up with the latest security practices is often a full-time job. It’s important for companies to carefully consider how a third-party colocation facility manages their customers’ security needs before proceeding with any data relocation plans.

Most colocation facilities are wellversed in the latest in regulatory compliance and security practices. These facilities may even offer their own suite of security tools and compliance expertise. Any good colocation center should always keep security at the forefront of their operational plans.

#3. Keeping Data Network-Neutral

Although there are scores of Internet service providers that are more than willing to provide colocation services, a network carrier-agnostic third party is often the best choice for businesses. The centers often have proven cost-effectiveness in comparison to their non-agnostic counterparts, creating greater financial incentive for third-party colocation.

In addition to promoting healthy competition among data centers, there’s also another reason why businesses come to them for their colocation needs:The inevitable outage does not negatively impact a business that relies on carrier agnostic services as it would for those dependent on an ISP for their data needs.

#4. Convenience and Customization

Many colocation facilities are more than capable of handling routine maintenance tasks on behalf of their customers, saving them from the unnecessary hassle of dispatching their own IT personnel to the physical plant. Colocation candidates should always have these outsourcing options available.

#5.Planning for the Unexpected

Extended power outages, natural disasters and even equipment breakdowns can put a company’s data in jeopardy and the company itself on edge. It’s easy for a company’s technology infrastructure to dissolve in the face of a disaster overnight, which is why colocation candidates should always have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place.

For additional insurance, companies looking to relocate their data should also consider full remote mirroring for their data. Having redundancies in place before disaster strikes allows for a quick and effortless recovery afterwards.

Keeping the above five points in mind can help make the transition to a third-party facility a smooth and seamless affair.