Information technology changes so rapidly, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up. This is especially true in a tight economy, when most IT departments are struggling to accomplish more tasks with fewer employees. As a result, IT systems can become unwieldy over time. Many businesses rely on systems that are poorly optimized amalgamations of old and new technology, which can be needlessly expensive to support.
With the help of an IT consulting firm, however, these businesses can save both time and money by optimizing their systems. Through consolidation and IT managed services, organizations can put a lid on uncontrolled information technology costs and maximize their IT potential. Here are some of the ways IT consulting can help a company improve productivity and cut costs:
Standardization of IT Systems
It’s easy for organizations to become insular and continue doing things the way they’ve been done in the past, rather than actively seeking more efficient tools and processes. Unfortunately, most companies are still clinging to IT systems that are poorly optimized for their needs. An IT consulting partner brings to the table a fresh perspective as well as hands-on knowledge of how high-performance companies handle their information technology.
With the help of an IT consulting expert, businesses can standardize their technology systems to align with industry best practices. Standardization of IT infrastructure creates uniformity and cohesiveness throughout the company. It also improves workforce productivity by streamlining processes, reducing the risk of error or failure, and enabling the company to better plan for future changes. Perhaps most notably, standardization saves companies money on IT support costs. A poorly optimized system is more expensive to maintain than a streamlined one; research has shown firms that standardize their information technology systems can save 7 percent or more in baseline costs.
Task Automation and IT Managed Services
A talented information technology staff is a valuable asset for any business. However, this asset goes to waste when employees must spend time on repetitive maintenance tasks – such as software updates, support requests and backup monitoring – instead of innovating to improve the company’s competitive edge. An IT consulting professional can help spot such inefficiencies and suggest areas where tasks can be automated to free up employee time for projects that support the bottom line.
Similarly, by partnering with an IT managed services provider, companies can offload many of those tedious yet essential tasks that suck up valuable company time and resources. Instead of paying costly full-time employees to perform grunt work, you can have an IT managed services firm take care of it in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner. Network security, data backup, software updates and strategic planning can all be handled by an IT consulting professional, leaving your staff to focus on boosting company profits.
Virtual IT Solutions
Another area where many businesses are discovering cost savings is in the “cloud.” When implemented carefully, virtualization and cloud computing – the use of web-based software and data storage – allow companies to expand and utilize the latest information technology without a huge upfront investment in infrastructure. For example, by creating virtual servers, a business can increase its data storage capacity without purchasing physical servers that will depreciate in value as they become obsolete.
Virtualization and cloud computing present challenges of their own, however. In order to ensure data security and compatibility across platforms, the transition process should be overseen by someone who is well-versed in helping businesses make the switch – someone who is familiar with common pitfalls and solutions. Thus, an IT consulting partner can be an invaluable asset. He or she can help pinpoint the most relevant and efficient cloud technologies, seamlessly integrate them into existing IT systems and manage vendor contracts to keep things running smoothly.
In today’s tech-driven marketplace, your information technology department should be a nexus for innovation, not a drain on resources. By bringing in an IT consulting firm that offers IT managed services, businesses can get technology working in their favor, which will ultimately improve productivity and cut costs.