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Sustain IT Budget Survival in Uncertain Times
- Consider Cost Mitigation - With teams being spread out geographically, it’s important to determine if costs can be mitigated. Are some of the corporate locations unoccupied based on stay at home orders? There may be services that are completely unused during this crisis. Consider contacting vendors to see what they are willing to offer to ease costs. Communicating with vendors proactively is the best way to avoid expenses adding up. Payments for unused services may be delayed for some time. Many vendors are forgiving late payment fees, interest accrued and disconnection. Most vendors have been offering substantial options to help customers weather this storm financially. They don’t want to lose business – or worse, be perceived as inflexible during this crisis.
- Assess the Damage - Once companies get back to a more stable business as usual scenario, it will be time to assess the damage. It’s important to track and identify what services are on your network and where they’re assigned. There are so many moving parts to a company network today; internet bandwidth, voice/VoIP PSTN services, application licenses, and cloud providers, to name a few. It will be critical to itemize what services licenses were or currently are in use and what the cost is. Organizations may find that these charges far exceed the projected 2020 IT budgets. One of the interesting predicted outcomes of this crisis is that employers will consider keeping some productive team members working from home offices. Managers will need to determine if users still need “freemium” services, or if it makes sense to move to a more permanent license or solution. Network integrity, cost, and security play a large role in this decision. With employees working from a home office, it may not be necessary to equip this office with desktop phones and other on-premises solutions. By deploying VPN and cloud solutions, it may become evident that the WAN needs to be reviewed for efficiency and performance. Network infrastructure managers may need to assess if these changes dictate alterations to the configuration. When the dust settles, and you are able to take a snapshot of what your environment looks like, it will be easier to consider various options going forward.
- Analysis and Optimization - Once costs are mitigated and damages assessed, the next step is to analyze and optimize. In a thriving economy, monies are budgeted for IT projects in growing businesses. However, just like the 2008 recession, many companies were able to fund necessary IT projects by auditing their existing technology expenses and economize. Those that will survive and thrive in the recovering economy will take advantage of opportunities to redesign and adjust their network infrastructure. Smart IT managers will evaluate their companies’ networks and budgets. The result will be intelligent and lean optimizations that positively impact budgets. If employee teams continue working at home, managers need to consider how that changes the network. Among items to consider are whether the services previously needed are necessary, if expenses are being duplicated, and do these changes impact current vendor contract pricing. Additionally, there may be many areas that are impacted related to equipment, maintenance agreements, volume pricing, and wireline or wireless services.
"SCTC Perspective" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.