Improving It

Friday, March 04, 2011

Do mid-sized businesses have money to burn?

Windows mobileImage via WikipediaIts interesting that as soon as a company grows large enough to fill more than a shared services office space, they consider themselves big enough to throw money around like crazy. I offered my thoughts to reporter writing a story about how small and mid-sized businesses could save money in the IT department, and realized that many small businesses are way ahead of their bigger cousins in terms of working more cost effectively -- without losing anything in the way they work.


Since I didn't hear anything from my pitch to the reporter, I'm going to share this information with you. You'll look and say, "of course - that's ridiculously obvious", but really how many mid-sized businesses have taken the plunge into saving money rather than being trapped in overpriced 20th century technology? Bear in mind also that I have 15 years experience around software, so if you know how to manipulate Dell for a better offer, let us know! (I go to NewEgg for my hardware requirements - they offer small name PCs cheaper that work just as well as the big names).



  1. Productivity Suite: Use Google Apps as a replacement for Microsoft Office. It is significantly cheaper, especially considering how small a piece of the functionality of Office most people use.
  2. Dump Windows: Now that you have a friendly Office productivity apps in place, start using Linux on your new desktop and laptop PCs, when it comes time to replace them. Nobody is going to complain, since they are doing most of their work in a browser, and Ubuntu (my OS of choice) is as clean and simple to use as any Windows 7 machine for all the remaining desktop tasks a user may have. And with that, you save on buying licenses for resource and wallet hungry virus scanners.
  3. Save it to the Cloud: Install and maintain complex and expensive network attached storage? Why bother, when cloud-based storage is cheap, flexible and saves you not only hardware, but the hassle of backups too.
  4. Need Windows for Quickbooks? Some business applications just haven't been made workable in the cloud - Intuit's offering is an example where some users will still need Windows to install some real software. So consider using virtual machines with Windows installed to run them. Why? Because the next time you have to replace the hardware, you don't need to buy yet another license for an OS you already own.
  5. Work Better! All of this has been about saving costs for IT. How about giving back to the business a little? After all, its the reason IT exists. Encourage the use of process, content and collaboration tools that will help people work better, share information better and save emailing every document they work on backwards and forward a hundred times.
Let me know your tips that we can all use to work cheaper and better.  

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