Triaging Your IT Needs When Cash Is Tight

By Fred Dugach

2008 was a very tough year for many businesses and 2009 will bring an even greater challenge especially when trying to find money for IT. However the bigger challenge will be to utilize much of what has already been invested in IT in order to support and grow your businesses.

Beginning this year you will probably hear words like, “this group of PCs will okay. This group will need CPR and should be fine, but these, just pull the plug!”

The basic theme here should be efficiency and productivity. Sound familiar! You’re right. This was and has always been the purpose of these electronic wonders, to support the goals of your businesses.

Here are five ideas on improving efficiency and productivity:

  1. Tighten up on unrestricted use of computers and the Internet
  2. Remove those unnecessary programs and started tasks
  3. Empty those INBOXES and take out the Trash!
  4. RENEW those expired Anti-Virus subscriptions.
  5. Work less on fixing systems and more on their intended purpose.

Tighten Up
Companies really need to tighten up on the totally unrestricted use of computers, smartphones and systems for anything that does not support the bottom line. Far too often it seems that we are supporting our IT habits instead of our IT supporting the bottom line.

Start monitoring the use of your IT resources and let everyone know that this is being done. With just about any firewall you can block access to the more popular websites like eBay, Craigslist, MySpace, etc.

When monitoring the use of these resources, a company should inform the employee with an Electronic Information Policy. And to prevent lawsuits, have them sign it. Download an example here.

Remove the unnecessary
One of the biggest complaints I hear is “Why is it running so slow.” This is usually because people allow things like Weatherbug, Quicktime, Realplayer, AOL, and even Dell’s update services to detract from performance. Any halfway decent IT guru should be able to clean this up and improve performance.

Empty the Trash
Running a close second is unbelievably large inboxes. In Outlook if your main PST file exceeds 2GB you are heading for a brick wall! Archive anything over a year and then Empty the Trash. Do Not “store” old files in the trash! This goes for the desktop too.
A How-To is here.

There are also other temporary files that can be eliminated too. Like the ones your system creates as a scratch pad and the ones that you download while using Internet Explorer.

Renew subscriptions
For your anti-virus and anti-spyware products, even at the corporate level licenses. This is your basic defense against lost productivity.

Many people ask which one is the best. My answer is just about any of the top brands. But if you are behind the company firewall you probably only need anti-virus and anti-spyware software and not the more resource intensive anti-everything or Internet Security products.

Work Less on Fixing Systems
Computers, phones, and smartphones are simply tools like ball point pens. If you are spending more time on fixing these systems then “pull the plug” and get a new or refurbished one. Computers are ridiculously cheap these days. If you have spent more that a couple of hours trying to repair them then you have almost justified the cost of a replacement mediocre system.

As Andy would say, fixing computer systems is not your Best and Highest Use! Using these systems as tools to becoming profitable in 2009 is!

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