Top five tips for reducing maintenance costs

Joe Svetlik

Friday 31 July 2015

IT maintenance can be an expensive business – according to Gartner, it accounts for about 60 per cent of the total IT spend worldwide. Here are a few ways to keep your costs down while ensuring your systems stay up to date.

IT maintenance can be an expensive business – according to Gartner, it accounts for about 60 per cent of the total IT spend worldwide. Here are a few ways to keep your costs down while ensuring your systems stay up to date.

1) Defer noncritical key initiatives

Look at your key initiatives and focus on the ones that bring near-term gains. Not sure which those are? Ask yourself three questions: Does it support a high-priority business initiative that needs to be completed in the near term? Does it lower the maintenance cost structure in the required time frame? Does it lower risk by upgrading equipment to prevent outages and deterioration of hardware?

2) Consolidate multiple maintenance contracts

Are you paying out every month for a technical support service you hardly ever use? Chances are you can save a bundle by co-terminating (setting a common expiry date) and managing multi-vendor maintenance contracts through a single point of contact. Also, opt for flexible monthly service agreements with third-party providers, instead of getting locked into multi-year contracts. This will let you customise your level and type of support based on what your business needs. Otherwise, you’re choosing an all-you-can-eat option and then only having a nibble.

3) Extend the life of your equipment

That said, don’t jack in the support altogether. It could save you a lot of money. According to Forrester Consulting, up to 79 per cent of organisations refresh their wired network infrastructure every five years. Get the right support, however, and your equipment will last a lot longer. Another way to reduce your costs is to have your IT procurement professionals look out for lifetime warranties on equipment. These often include hardware replacement and technical support.

4) Re-examine networking costs

The data centre and the network usually account for the majority of IT maintenance costs. Almost half of the network expenses end up in the pockets of telecom service providers, so make sure you continually renegotiate your contracts with them. Find out what the market rate is and make sure they’re not charging any more. If they are, it could be time to find another vendor.

5) Assess, assess, assess

Assess your network assets and your business objectives, and you should identify mission-critical and secondary components. This should throw up a whole host of areas in which you can reduce costs, plan for future applications and find alternative support options. It might seem a slog, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

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