05 Jul 2012

IT priorities - do more with less in the new financial year

It might be a new financial year, but business imperatives haven’t changed. The drive to lower costs and efficiencies will continue in 2012/13 – helped along by some new technologies. While the GFC established a strong low-cost ethos in many IT departments, doing more with less is still high on the agenda. Whether your business still has a way to move when it comes to costs, or is on the look-out for ways to make the most of its 2012/13 IT spend, it might pay to consider the following: DR to the Cloud DR to the Cloud is not only a business saver in the event of a disaster, it can also be a cost saver as well. The case study in this newsletter, for example, details how investment services provider Lincoln Indicators cut their DR budget in half by adopting the solution. There are also the benefits of rapid failover and improved flexibility, with cloud DR users able to run their infrastructures directly from the cloud in the event of a disaster. Virtualisation The general consensus is that Australia is a leading light when it comes to virtualisation adoption. However, with a new physical Windows server switched on in Australia every five minutes, there is still huge scope for virtualisation to add breathing room to IT budgets. With the right strategy in place – going virtual is likely to reduce your server costs by anywhere from 30% to 70%. All things cloud Most businesses well aware of the cost savings that cloud computing can generate. Many of these stem from the efficiencies that are generated by cloud providers operating at scale. But most important is the cloud’s cost model: OpEx funding, with a pay-for-use, pay-as-you-go approach. To a large extent, businesses have already picked off the low-hanging fruit in terms of easy-to-adopt cloud systems such as Microsoft Exchange or various software-as-a-service offerings like Salesforce.com. The challenge is now to unlock the next level in cloud systems: true, whole-of-infrastructure solutions. Unlocking savings If budgets are particularly tight however, some businesses can struggle with the project and migration expenses that must be met before the economic benefits of the cloud begin to flow. To meet this need, new options have begun to emerge. Some businesses for example are using business loans and other financial instruments to help them smooth these up-front costs over the life of a cloud agreement. Others are using financiers who assist with equipment purchases – rolling ‘soft’ costs into hardware agreements. Such arrangements won’t suit every business, but if you consider one, be sure to negotiate when it comes to honeymoon periods, interest rates and conditions around the transfer of ownership of equipment.   Stephen Sims is Brennan IT’s General Manager for Sales and Marketing.