Rising IT Asset Costs and What They Mean to Your Small Business

The Health of computerToday’s businesses, from small, single digit employee startups to massive enterprises with global subsidiaries, rely on a highly tuned digital framework in order to increase their profitability and productivity. In the incipient stages of the digital age, many businesses could afford to get by with limited immersion in the network computing sphere. These businesses usually didn’t require much in the way of IT assets or personnel. Those days have largely passed, and in order to compete, even small businesses are forced to embrace basic digital models that can unfortunately bring with them a variety of unplanned costs and downtime.

Even a startup business, armed with just a few computers, a couple of connected printers, an Internet connection and an outsourced IT employee could suffer from a device or system failure. A computer that goes down can take weeks to fix, since it would likely mean a house call to an offsite IT provider who would have to stop by to diagnose and repair the problem. Additionally, a lack of regular maintenance can cause computers to deteriorate and malfunction at a higher rate.

With the potential headaches and expenditures involved in maintaining a basic networked computing environment, it’s no wonder that many businesses are unsure about embracing next-generation technology. Gartner recently released a study that found that CIOs continue to consider reducing IT costs as a mission-critical initiative. Often, this drive to cut costs can manifest as a lack of motivation to embrace new technologies. While there are sometimes hidden costs and risks that accompany new technologies, utilizing innovations with relatively proven track records can yield many benefits. Organizations that take a proactive approach to their IT, as opposed to a reactive or passive one, will be in a better position to handle new technologies and increase their PC performance and profits at the same time.

Alexa Bona, vice president and analyst at Gartner, recently outlined some of the most disruptive innovations that could wreak havoc on IT asset and cost management:

The Internet of Things

One of the biggest developments that promises changes for organizations and consumers alike over the next few years is the Internet of Things (IoT). IT professionals used to dealing with a few different computing devices will face many challenges wrought by the IoT, which envisions a world in which every electronic device becomes a network-connected, remote-controlled and data-producing endpoint. On a basic level, having more connected assets makes them harder to manage, both individually and as a unit. On a singular level, each added device poses one more potential source of maintenance costs and forced replacement. As a unit, one sluggish device can take down others. Previously, a slow computer creating network problems could be easily rooted out. With the IoT, identifying the root cause of a system issue could become substantially more difficult.

Maintenance Fees

Connected devices need software, but indications are that there could be trouble brewing in the market. Vendors have grown more dependent on revenue from maintenance fees, which account for nearly half the revenue of some of these businesses. As companies invest in security, program management and privacy software solutions that only accomplish one task, paying maintenance fees for a plethora of separate software could lead to increased IT overhead costs. Businesses should look for more comprehensive solutions that serve multiple purposes and can reduce not only cost but paperwork.

Cloud Computing

According to Gartner predictions, the global cloud services market could surpass $180 billion by 2015. It’s one of the hot new trends in computing, and its proponents tout the many benefits it offers for business infrastructure and operations costs. However, contrary to popular opinion, the cloud can carry many hidden costs, said News24 contributor Duncan Alfreds. For one, the seed for cloud computing migration could be planted to upper management, not IT personnel, as business leaders want to get the benefits of the cloud for their organization when in reality their IT infrastructure is not up to the task. Hidden security costs as well as violations of service-level agreements could pose spending headaches for businesses and result in a poor cloud relationship which can damage a business’ long term growth. Additionally, virtual environments like the cloud sound like they can reduce costs right off the bat by streamlining data storage and sharing, but diminished hardware requirements may not translate to reduced software costs, which could create further problems for IT asset management and control.

BYOD and App Stores

Business users, especially those in multi-device and bring-your-own-device programs, may be more lax with their computing practices. The drive for innovation can also cause users to enlist apps that have different security capacities, operating system requirements and vendor licensing. On the hardware end this practice can make computers slower as programs max out hard drives and bloat the registry. On a network level, it could pose a security risk.

A comprehensive tune-up and security solution such as iolo technologies’ System Mechanic Pro can prove to be a sound investment by reducing many of the IT related headaches above and cutting some of the unforeseen costs associated with them.

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UpToSpeed™ is iolo's ongoing article series written by PC experts for everyday computer users. Each article is packed with easy tips and practical advice on the latest issues affecting computers to help you get the most out of your PC.

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Rising IT Asset Costs and What They Mean to Your Small Business