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Top five money-saving tips

Here are the top entries from our "Doing More with Less" contest. Find out how these five IT pros are getting the most out of every dollar.


As part of our Doing More with Less series, I asked TechRepublic members to submit their best money-saving tips. From the flood of suggestions we received, I have chosen the top five for being the most useful, innovative, and practical. These tips illustrate real-life IT professionals making the most of their budgets. Congratulations to our five finalists, who have each won a TechRepublic T-shirt.
In Response offers a weekly roundup of feedback from TechRepublic members to help inform you and your peers about critical issues in the world of IT. This week, TechRepublic members offer suggestions on how to help you stretch your IT budget.
Share voice and data over a single pipe (T1)
Member Brian G. suggests using a single T1 line for both voice and data communications. Brian’s organization had 41 lines with 25 being used for their voice system and the rest for fax and data transmission. Each line cost around $30 per month, and long distance was 14 cents per minute. Their average telecom bill was close to $3,250 per month.

To reduce these costs, Brian’s organization installed a T1 line with 16 channels for voice and eight for data. The T1 with 512-KB data costs about $850 per month, local service rates are 0.007 cents per call, and long distance is 0.052 cents per minute. With this new system, Brian’s organization has cut their communications costs nearly in half, and in only four months they have recovered all startup and equipment costs.

  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.  
       

Rethink your desktop standard
Gino M. suggests trimming desktops down to the bare essentials. Last year, Gino’s organization changed their standard desktop computer. The old $999 model included a CD-ROM, floppy drive, and legacy ports. The new $629 model does not come with a floppy, CD-ROM, or legacy ports. Gino said his organization has used this configuration on over 200 machines and saved over $60,000 by simply rethinking their desktop standard.

Use recycled toner cartridges
Jeff M.’s organization stretches their budget by using recycled toner cartridges. Jeff gives this example: At Staples, a new 92295A cartridge is roughly $65 and a recycled one is $56. After checking with several area companies that specialize in recycled toner cartridges, Jeff’s organization found the same cartridge for between $25 and $30. The vendor backs their cartridges with a no-cost, next-day replacement warranty, and Jeff’s organization has been using them successfully for six years.

A recycled toner cartridge is not a glamorous item, but when you are ordering five, 10, or in Jeff’s case, up to 100 cartridges every year, it adds up quickly. “Given the fact that the ’new‘ cartridges typically have recycled parts in them (read the box),” said Jeff, “why would you pay twice as much?”

Recheck your software licenses
Member Bruce B. suggests reviewing all your licenses and agreements before upgrading existing software. His organization was recently quoted a price of $70,000 to upgrade all of its PCs to Office 2000 Professional. After doing some research, Bruce discovered that his organization was entitled to free upgrades. “When we made our original purchase of Microsoft Office 97,” Bruce said, “we had purchased Microsoft Office Professional Upgrade Open Software licenses, which entitled us to free upgrades for 24 months.” Bruce contacted Microsoft, and they sent him the Office 2000 CD set for $23 (media cost), for a savings of over $69,900.

Ask for preinstalled software
Ed C. uses a simple solution to save his IT department hours of work. He asks his computer vendor to image every machine he purchases with the applications, drive mappings, and printer settings that his standard desktop requires. Ed has found many manufacturers that either charge a nominal fee or provide this service for free.

“By having the manufacturer image [our] hard drives,” Ed said, "our IT department saves hours.” Not having to image every new machine allows time to be spent on other problems and equates to thousands of dollars a year in employee savings.

Ed estimates saving nearly $8,000 in employee costs—and his vendor did the imaging for free. Ed also received the additional benefit of nearly 600 additional hours from his sole PC/network technician. “This is invaluable for me,” Ed said, “as I have over 130 workstations and 23 servers to maintain.”
If you have a great money-saving tip, we want to know about it! Post a comment to join this discussion.

About

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 supp...

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