CXO

How one IT specialist saved his agency $50,000

When you work for a nonprofit, every dollar saved is a dollar needed. Find out how IT specialist Omar Morales saved one nonprofit $50,000 with three practical and efficient changes.


As the information technology specialist for the nonprofit organization International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Omar Morales’ job is to find low-cost, but effective, technology solutions.

“We have users all over the world that need to be kept in the loop,” said Morales, who is based in New York. “My project was to make it happen—quick, easy, and cheap.”

With just three simple steps, Omar Morales saved his employer nearly $50,000 in IT spending last fall. “These savings are probably not equal to those of a large corporation, but to a nonprofit organization, they make a very welcomed difference,” said Morales.

He sent his ideas to TechRepublic in response to our “Economizing Technologist” contest. And while we received many good ideas that we’ll be sharing with you in future installments of “IT on a Shoestring,” we choose Morales as our winner because of his impressive savings total, which he achieved in just four months. He will receive $50 and a TechRepublic T-shirt.

Morales’ cost solutions for IAVI


Whether you work for a government agency, manage a nonprofit, or just want to be an IT cost-cutting hero, you may be able to use these three steps to achieve the same IT benefits for less money.

Reevaluate your PC requirements (IAVI savings: $8,000)
IAVI purchased Compaq Prosignia 330s and Presarios at $2,000 each. But Morales, who had done consulting for financial institutions in the past, decided to reevaluate that choice and determine what the company actually needed to see if he could cut any costs. Among the questions he used to evaluate the agency’s needs:
  • What does IAVI use its current computers for?
  • How much expansion have we done or will we do on them?
  • What will be the life span of the new equipment?
  • How cheap can we go without sacrificing usability (performance, expansion, support, etc.)?
  • How does the vendor fit the philosophy of our organization?
  • Do we purchase from one vendor or from several?

After evaluating what users needed versus what they had, he determined that they were not presently using (and would not ever use) the expansion capabilities of the proposed new model. So he decided to try the iPaq 733 Legacy Free, which costs around $1,000, including the monitor—significantly less than the Prosignia 330.

  Doing More with Less
    Do you need creative solutions for stretching your IT dollars and making wise purchasing decisions? Check out our collection of articles for advice on outsourcing, planning projects, working with vendors, and increasing efficiency.  
       

    Do you need creative solutions for stretching your IT dollars and making wise purchasing decisions? Check out our collection of articles for advice on outsourcing, planning projects, working with vendors, and increasing efficiency.  
       

“Since the first one arrived, I have purchased seven more,” he said. “They do the job excellently…a great blend of price/performance, not to mention being ‘easier on the eyes.’”

If Morales had simply continued with “business as usual” instead of taking the time to evaluate the true needs of the company’s users, IAVI would have spent an additional $8,000.

PC-based phones (IAVI savings: $30,000)
IAVI wanted a phone system that could support:
  • IP telephony
  • Fax integration
  • Unified messaging

The agency also wanted redundant hardware. A traditional system would have cost at least $70,000.

Instead, Morales found a PC-based system that met the same needs for significantly less money. Televantage, by Artisoft, cost approximately $40,000 and included:
  • 36 phones
  • A year of software upgrades
  • A year of tech support
  • Training

Storage (IAVI savings: $8,000)
Morales managed to save IAVI an additional $8,000 when the agency needed to increase its storage capacity.

Expanding the company’s file server would have cost $12,000. Instead, Morales opted for Maxtor's MaxAttach, a network-attached storage (NAS) solution. The cost for MaxAttach was approximately $4,000.

The MaxAttach adds ad hoc storage to an existing network and provided IAVI with an added 320 GB of storage.

Share your ideas and win $50
Everyone likes to save money, particularly when the economy is in turmoil. In response to this need, TechRepublic is introducing a new column called “IT on a Shoestring.” In upcoming weeks, we’ll be sharing more cost-cutting ideas submitted by members. If your idea is published, we’ll send you $50 and a TechRepublic T-shirt. To submit your idea, e-mail us.

 

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