When there’s so much uncertainty out there, executives need to roll up their sleeves and get serious about optimizing how they spend money. Businesses are rethinking everything from R&D and operations expenses to personnel and cloud and technology investments. It’s also incredibly challenging – what steps do you take to make the most impact now? How can you balance the need for immediate cost reduction while simultaneously inflicting the least amount of damage to the business’s mid-and long-term health? Answering these questions is complicated, and it also depends on who you ask. Gartner recommends taking a structured and programmatic approach to cost optimization. Those companies that invest strategically are more likely to succeed. That type of advice is prudent but also too general.
What are some real-life recommendations you can take to optimize IT spend right now?
At brightfin, we offer practical and innovative strategies when it comes to these complex issues. Let’s dive into our top recommendations to get you started on the most profitable path forward.
Re-focus on virtualization
Virtualization is a concept we talk about often in the IT world, but we don’t often leverage it to its full capacity. It’s taking physical machines and turning them into virtual ones to reduce the number of hardware pieces a company needs to buy. Traditionally, companies applying this method utilized dedicated servers for various systems, such as disaster recovery servers, test servers, application servers, etc. So, what’s the problem? Many of these servers are not optimized, or they have low utilization rates!
To increase efficiency using dedicated servers, companies should consider partitioning them so that multiple applications share the same piece of hardware. IT Asset Management best practices such as partitioning servers using this approach can save big-time on hardware costs. Utilizing containers is another way to improve optimization because it builds a ‘self-contained’ environment. Because containers separate the infrastructure’s underlying applications and isolate properties from the host environment, it’s essentially environment-agnostic. By having multiple services run on the same server, ultimately, companies don’t have to purchase as much hardware or keep up with running and maintenance costs.
Leverage the cloud but be smart
There are indeed several ways the cloud can save your organization money, plus other benefits. Cloud resources are scalable, which means you only pay for what you use. Companies can also save money on energy costs and upfront costs for utilizing cloud resources.
On the other hand, utilizing cloud resources is challenging because it’s difficult to have clear visibility into spending. To optimize cloud spending, organizations need tools that provide cloud usage breakdowns by individual projects and departments. Cloud utilization tools can help IT and executives understand how they are using the cloud infrastructure and if it’s happening strategically. Heatmaps and dashboards can show immediate spikes and trends. IT can quickly address any unexpected bumps in usage and react, making adjustments to utilize cloud resources better over time with greater visibility. For example, does your development team need its testing environment running 24/7 or on the weekends? If not, they can shut it down and spin back in real-time when needed. Cloud visibility tools can help you monitor usage and automate provisioning according to trends and immediate needs.
Don’t overlook the cost vs. value angle
When thinking about optimizing IT and cloud spending, one final recommendation is to not just think about the cost of options in black and white terms. Whether it’s cloud resources or virtualization, the real story should be about value. It’s about what ROI you get out of technology, which can be more than dollars and cents. Refrain from thinking about leveraging the cloud to do the same thing you were doing before BUT doing it more cheaply. Instead, the cloud can open your business up to new markets, help you innovate, or become more competitive. Or put more simply – technology investments and the cloud should help your company do things you could not do before. Do you have more thoughts about optimizing IT spend? What short and mid-term strategies are working for your business?