Business IT Solutions: Breaking the Budget?
What’s the real cost of upgrading your business IT solutions? As many companies move away from cost-center models of IT and embrace the idea that CISOs, servers and even security technology can help drive ROI, there’s a growing spend trend that has organizations laying down cash to upgrade or migrate mainframe data centers.
Consider an example offered by Forbes about a retail chain that saw a $4 billion slide in revenue over four years; now, the company spending big on the cloud in hopes of regaining lost ground. But what happens when you can’t afford a cloud migration or hardware upgrade? Is it worth breaking a budget to stay competitive?
The first option most C-suites consider when legacy systems start to struggle is a move to the cloud. Why? Agility is one key driver. Who doesn’t want to tap the benefit of scalable resources and on-demand access? As noted by a recent JAXenter article, however, the underlying motive is cost, based on the idea that OpEx spending is a better deal than going all-in with capex purchases.
But migration isn’t always free of complication; if your legacy system doesn’t play well with existing clouds or employees are resistant to this new way of operating, your spend starts to ramp up. What’s more, opex always outpaces capex over the long term, meaning you need a plan to make best use of the cloud’s real value-add: time.
So what’s the solution if whole-cloud migration isn’t an option? Start small. One key benefit of maturing cloud technologies is the ability to adopt services incrementally; move what makes sense and falls within your budget right now rather than overspending to keep up. The cloud will still be there when you’re ready.
Business IT Solutions: A People Problem?
You’ve also got the choice of upgrading or adding to existing hardware rather than moving off-site. Benefits here include total control over your data and the ability to find best-fit technology that doesn’t force you to spend time and money forcing legacy systems to play well with new devices. Possible problems? Here, hardware spend is actually the least of your worries — a more pressing issue is making sure you have enough IT staff to ensure a smooth upgrade.
As a result, your biggest budget hit may come from full-time IT salaries. As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment market for experts like computer network architects is expected to grow faster than average through 2022, with median annual salaries already pushing $100,000. Another area of concern? Finding trained staff to do the job. The cyber skills gap is widening, and as IT needs have become more specific, post-secondary education opportunities haven’t kept pace.
What does all this mean when it comes to upgrading business IT solutions? You could face hard choices: Spend on retraining current staff to handle new hardware upgrades or let some IT pros go to make way for new cyber experts. Another option? Outsource part of your IT effort. It’s now possible to contract out IT expertise, giving you the benefit of hard-earned experience without the big price tag. By making better use of what you have — and outsourcing what you don’t — it may be possible to stave off big spending until you know exactly what you need.
When it comes to business IT solutions, breaking the budget seems to be the new best practice. But there’s no need to play follow the leader here; instead, consider incremental cloud adoption or working with what’s already in place until you’ve got the cash to spend and a long-term strategy in place. Bottom line? Don’t rush to spend. Slow and steady may be out of fashion, but it never goes out of style.