57 ways to save money
Is your network a money pit?
IT networks have a remarkable ability to consume every last penny you can throw at them, and still demand more. Fail to keep a tight rein on spending and you stand to see things spin out of control in short order.
Take a look at Go Communications Systems' 57 Ways to Save Money on Your Network Infrastructure. Based on the company's extensive experience in network infrastructure, these highly practical tips can be applied immediately, helping you save money while building a more robust network. Dig in!
People care about their work, especially those who actually work for the company. People who are accountable are more likely to get the job done right so that it doesn’t need to be revisited unnecessarily.
There may be an unusual demand on a particular product or there may be a manufacturing delay. Sometimes a perfectly acceptable alternative can be used instead - it may even be cheaper. This is worth checking before the hardware order has been placed, as backtracking is normally difficult and often incurs additional expense.
Don’t automatically think you must pay a network manufacturer’s prices for memory products. It’s common for a manufacturer to publish a list of ‘approved’ memory products that can be purchased at much lower prices.
The practice of pre-ordering expensive new products that are not yet in the marketplace often results in disappointment. Manufacturers often encounter unexpected production and logistical delays with new product lines.
By the time those empty slots are populated you will have replaced your network. This applies to the majority of networks - ask any IT disposal company and they will tell you this to be true. Of course, buying extra slots for a pre-planned expansion is the exception rather than the rule.
If there’s an engineer onsite why have a 24x7 maintenance contract when you can have the same peace of mind by having not one but perhaps two onsite hot spares. Having a mirror of any switch or router is often far more economical than paying for an expensive annual maintenance contract.
While a supplier is gearing up for a delivery there are engineering ‘quiet times’ that can be utilised by perhaps preconfiguring a switch or router, upgrading memory, upgrading software and even uploading a config. This equates to lots of time saved by the engineer on site who then has free time to do other important things.
Is it worth considering changing your hardware manufacturer? Manufacturers can become complacent or service levels can drop. Either way, keeping your supplier on his toes will ensure you get the best service all round. Remind them who the customer is.
There is more than one way to make a sensible modification to an existing network. Someone else’s opinion of your network can be invaluable – it’s also very interesting to see the same subject in a different light.
A manufacturer is likely to offer you a much lower price for a traded-in piece of hardware than a dealer who has an order to fulfill for the same product.
A manufacturer will recommend purchasing a product’s direct replacement. Once a product becomes end of life, why not pre-empt this by opting to go straight for a product that is refurbished before it goes end of life?
This allows your supplier to analyse and compare products to try to identify potential technical conflicts well in advance, especially where software is involved. Having a piece of hardware arrive on-site with insufficient memory can be costly and time-consuming to remedy.
Before specifying a manufacturer for your network it’s important to investigate reliability. Don’t just check the manufacturer themselves, check newsgroups and other sources of a similar type before taking the plunge.
Why pay for someone else to do your work when you can do it yourself. Outsourced companies have the same costs as you but they need to put margin on top - you end up paying for this.
Manufacturers tend to release new products that are either less expensive than their predecessors or have a higher specification. So it’s well worth being on the lookout for a product that is new enough to benefit from one of these attributes, yet not so new that any teething problems have not yet been resolved by the manufacturer.
It’s inevitable that companies occasionally order the wrong part - sometimes these cannot be returned to the manufacturer and are sold to network equipment dealers. So ask your dealer if anything on your network shopping list is available ‘surplus new’. The product is still new but will be cheaper than one supplied direct from the manufacturer.
Apart from the obvious methods of disposals and trade-ins to take care of the recycling of electronic goods, examining the possibilities of re-using the equipment within your own network is always a good option.
If you were selling a car and wanted to get the best price for it you’d polish it and advertise it, whereas if you needed the money quickly you’d accept a cut price for it. The same principal applies to disposal of your network. If you have the time to allow an experienced dealer to sell it for you he will always get a better price for it on your behalf.
Make savings on near-to-end-of-life products by opting for refurbished alternatives. Checking product life-spans can save thousands.
You can buy everything new if you want to, but manufacturers will bring products to ‘end of life’ status at their convenience, not yours. When a product goes end of life you will only be able to buy that product in a refurbished condition from that manufacturer, so why not beat the manufacturer at its own game and order refurbished for a product that may become end of life soon.
If you have critical areas of your network that need maintenance contracts with a 4 hour response time, it’s sensible to make enquiries with the closest maintenance companies – they may be able to offer more competitive support prices if their transport costs are cheaper.
Taking time to plan the network as far as a year in advance will save time andmoney in the long run. Having a clearly defined goal and mapping a clear path to achieving it will help to avoid unnecessary expense.
Manufacturers will happily charge you full price for products, so why not ask about possible trade-in programs to dispose of your obsolete equipment. Sometimes huge savings can be made.
It’s important to use a dealer that uses serial number tracking technology. This allows you to trace and track components, allowing alien or unknown components to be identified and dealt with accordingly
This is a great way of preventing costly mistakes. In some cases products can be rented first, allowing for a truly informed decision to be made before committing to a purchase.
Even if it’s necessary to cover the critical areas of a network with a support contract, there are plenty of non-critical areas where stocking equipment spares provides a far more cost-effective backup.
In these economically challenging times, savings must be made. As costs are driven down, though, risks often rise. Lose control of those risks, and those hard-won savings – and more – could be wiped out.
While it’s quick and easy to simply accept the renewal proposal your maintenance supplier sends you each year, it’s also a sure-fire route to rapid cash burning.
It’s in your interest to maximise the return you get on your network infrastructure investments. That’s simple business common sense. And it holds good even when devices reach the point at which they can no longer form a useful part of that infrastructure.
Fascinating fact: as much as 6% of hardware equipment purchased new and delivered sealed fails to initialise on first start up.
Replacing existing equipment with the latest, even if not the greatest, is not always the financially prudent thing to do. Sometimes it’s wiser to keep your existing kit going a little longer, replacing it later on.
In the not so distant past, using third party network accessories was a risky business. Plug a third party optic into a network switch, for example, and you risked invalidating the switch’s warranty.
More ways coming soon. For a summary of all 57 ways you can download a PDF version here.