Lately, I’ve heard a lot of talk from TechRepublic members about shrinking IT budgets and technology-spending cutbacks. As the U.S. economy becomes more sluggish, it makes sense that IT budgets will also grow more slowly than once anticipated. This problem is compounded by the passing of the Y2K spending frenzy that allowed IT departments to throw money at anything they thought would keep the lights on after Dec. 31, 1999.
With no immediate threat on the horizon and the economy weakening, your IT organization could be forced to do more with less. If this is the case, we want to know how you are handling the cutbacks. To begin the discussion, I’ve put together a few tips that can help battle spending reductions. You can add your own suggestions below.
In Response offers a weekly roundup of feedback from TechRepublic members intended to help inform you and your peers about critical issues in the world of IT. This week, I’m asking TechRepublic members to share their opinions on the prospect of shrinking IT budgets. Post a comment or send us a note and let your voice be heard.
Four tips to stretch your IT budget
Here are four tips to help your IT organization get the most out of every penny in your budget.
- Lengthen your PC life cycle. A recent Gartner Research Note suggested that users keep laptops between 24 and 30 months and desktops for 36 months. I think this is a good start, but in leaner times it may be necessary to replace PCs only when they fail or are too old to perform effectively.
- Upgrade software only when necessary. In my article “Don't upgrade MS Office unless necessary, Gartner analyst recommends,” I discussed Gartner analyst Chris Le Tocq’s view that it was not necessary to purchase each successive Microsoft Office release. Instead, skip releases and upgrade only when it’s essential.
- Don’t replace the monitor with every new PC. Monitors routinely last longer than the rest of a PC, and there is no reason to replace them unless they fail. In fact, I still have a 10-year-old, 15” Samsung SyncMaster 3 that I use at home. While everything else on the computer has been replaced at least twice, the monitor still runs like a champ.
- Not everyone needs everything. I know they’ll be disappointed, but the people in customer service don’t need 1-GHz machines with 256 MB of RAM. Make sure you tailor the PC to the person and his or her position.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.