As a leading provider of IT infrastructure and software solutions, Ergo has a big part to play in helping its customers navigate their way through the new economic landscape. This month Ergo managing director John Purdy looks at the difficult decisions that have to be made around IT investment.
It is the obvious approach but rather than cut costs by 20 per cent and scale back, a better strategy is to look at ways of taking 20 per cent out of your operating costs. There are always ways of squeezing greater efficiencies out of processes and infrastructure but what you can’t afford to do is reduce the level of IT service to internal and external clients.
You can’t risk a softening of the infrastructure. Businesses are built on IT infrastructure and it has to be maintained and improved. If you keep it in good shape, it will put your business in a better position to spring forward when the economic tide turns.
So continue to invest in a robust infrastructure and the technologies and applications that add value to the business. The trick is to think smarter about what those investments should be.
In boardrooms all around the country, managers are looking at ways of taking out cost. In most cases it comes down to getting more productivity out of employees. You will get a better return on investments with IT solutions that address people-based processes.
It is about giving employees the tools they need to bring greater efficiencies to their work. The less downtime and more automation you can create around them, the better the return you are going to get.
The time is right for more web-based applications and a greater level of self-service computing.
The case for virtualisation was always strong but it gets better in a downturn. Not only will it help you consolidate to an IT environment that delivers more for less in terms of numbers of servers and processing power, it offers tangible savings because it is the foundation for a data centre that uses less power and less air conditioning. Cutting down on energy costs is an easy win.
We also think it is a good time look at thin client computing. Because applications are hosted centrally, it is easier to manage from an IT perspective but it also brings efficiencies to the network and software purchasing. And at time when companies are unlikely to embark on a hardware refresh, you can reuse old PCs as thin clients.
Absolutely not. What we are seeing is that anything that doesn’t have a clear and demonstrable return on investment in the short term is unlikely to go ahead. It is a challenge, but businesses still have to look beyond quick wins to longer-term benefits.
In bigger transformation projects the typical drivers are around greater efficiency. We have one customer who is trying to automate workflow and take steps out of paper-based processes that have too many manual interventions. This type of IT project is now more relevant than ever.
As an IT provider we have a level of innovation around the delivery of services as a hosted offering and the skills to get more out of existing infrastructure.
We are seeing a continued investment in managed services. Organisations are unlikely to be taking on new people at this time so it makes sense to hand more non-core functions to external providers like Ergo.
When it comes to existing infrastructure and processes, we carry out audits that will always expose areas of inefficiency. In print management alone we regularly go back to clients and demonstrate how they can make a 20 per cent saving simply by re-engineering the way they do things.
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