As a gut-wrenching, chaotic 2020 enters its last quarter, IT budgets and plans for 2021 are starting to materialize. In many cases (although this varies by industry), economic uncertainty means tech budgets will be reduced or, at best, stay flat in the upcoming year.
Coupled with the continuing need to support an in-flux workforce, this means that IT priorities will change from what was expected. Spending that was earmarked for cutting-edge technologies will have to shift. Focus on stability and security, as well as continued efforts to support mobility, will increase. And, of course, costs will need to be cut wherever possible.
Saving money will undoubtedly be important in 2021; however, it is also important to maintain focus on the future – on the stability and safety of the business. That said, the following are seven ways that businesses often try to save dollars up-front, but which end up costing them down the road.
1. Not investing in digital transformation efforts.
COVID-19. Need I say more? Businesses that had already invested time and energy into digital transformation came out ahead this year. They were better able to adapt business processes and services to today’s needs quickly. They had teams up and running in remote work situations faster. If today’s pandemic hasn’t taught businesses the importance of digital transformation, what will?
Giving employees the chance to grow their skills elevates the organization overall and keeps IT teams from falling behind.
2. Skipping security training.
Studies show that 60% of breaches are as a result of human error, meaning people make mistakes (not updating software, not using a VPN, using outdated browsers, etc.) that result in a breach. Saving money on training today is simply not worth the risk: You could suffer direct financial losses, negative PR exposure, fines from data protection agencies and more. The costs of not training your people is simply too high.
3. For that matter, cutting job-related training.
Poorly trained teams take longer to get the job done. In addition, they can lack the perspective needed to see the bigger picture, to evaluate the impact of their decisions and to help move the organization forward. Giving employees the chance to grow their skills elevates the organization overall and keeps IT teams from falling behind.
4. Working with grey market providers.
At the onset, these businesses look like a great deal. They often price their services and support below market value. But, buyer beware . . . after the initial outlay of dollars, you often end up stuck with a system that can’t be updated, that costs too much to support due to lack of knowledge on the part of the provider and that leaves your data at risk. Work with the product manufacturer to ensure you get real safety and long-term value.
5. Not upgrading.
Certainly, not all upgrades are of equal benefit. However, putting off an upgrade that offers true performance or security benefits is not a wise move. The business ends up wasting time (money) or opening itself to unnecessary security risks. For example, the most recent OTRS agent interface was a significant step forward in terms of agent-level personalization and the use of modern features. Now, when agents use this interface, they work faster and more thoroughly than ever before, saving money every time they come to work.
Like upgrades, making this choice comes down to evaluating the long-term waste of time that can result from not purchasing a license upfront – extra steps, rework. mistakes.
6. Trading licenses for a “work around.”
EIt can be tempting not to purchase a seat because there’s a manual way to get around using the solution. After all, does every user really need one? Like upgrades, making this choice comes down to evaluating the long-term waste of time that can result from not purchasing a license upfront – extra steps, rework. mistakes. If the workaround slows things down, then there’s no savings happening by skipping the license.
7. Cutting employees without considering what they know about your business.
No one wants to admit that there are times when it is necessary to let go of good employees. But, if that time comes, it can be tempting to think about saying goodbye to those who have higher salaries. Often, however, these people have been with the organization for some time. They have institutional knowledge that simply can’t be replaced by bringing in a lower-paid employee. Be careful to consider this in the event that cuts are needed.
While it can be tempting to start slashing line item after line item, jumping at the cheapest option isn’t always the best long-term choice. Doing so can leave your business exposed to cybercrime and instability. Take heed as you jump into the 2021 budget cycle that you aren’t making short-term choices that will impact your long-term stability and security.
What else would you add here? What measures are you and your team taking this year to save money?