For many businesses IT is a thorn in the side of the budget. Computers are constantly having to be replaced, licenses have to be purchased, anti-virus, third-party applications, support, administration costs...you name it and it's billable. For those businesses with deep pockets, this is not a problem. In fact, companies with the means actually include IT costs into the fiscal budget. Unfortunately not all companies can do that. In fact, the majority of businesses across the country fall into the latter category.
The majority of businesses, the ones that really hold up the country, are small businesses with few employees. These businesses are the mom and pop shops, the indie shops, the small entrepreneurial businesses that live quarter to quarter and hope nothing out of the ordinary happens to cause financial stress. For these businesses IT is a headache that wrenches all extra profit out of the bank. Think about the costs:
- network access
- office suites
- operating systems
- third-party software
- administration costs
- web hosting
- web development
It all adds up...and if you can't keep up you struggle or you die. But it doesn't have to be that way. IT doesn't have to be that white elephant in the room that everyone fears. That is very much one of the biggest myths in IT - if you want it to work well, it's going to cost you. That myth applies from the top down: From third-party software, to hardware, to support. It's simply not true.
How? In a word (or acronym to be more precise) DIY (Do It Yourself). Of course DIY isn't just a creative acronym for those that like, literally, do things themselves. DIY is a way of life - it means you look at things in a creative way and find creative solutions around problems that others might not think about. DIY means you save money by not following the trends - at least not in the same way others do.
And anyone can be a "do it yourself'er." All it takes is some creativity, patience, some planning, a bit more creativity, and a wide enough lens to take in the whole landscape of IT (in order to see the "things" no one else sees). And, of course, just like all aspects of life, doing IT the DIY way can not only be financially rewarding, it is also an exercise in character building, skill building, and troubleshooting. When you start to develop a sharper eye for DIY you will start seeing more skills develop than you thought possible and find yourself relying more and more on your creativity.
That is where this new blog comes in. With DIY: IT on a shoestring budget I am going to approach every day problems with not-so-everyday solutions so your problems can be solved on the cheap. In this blog you will experience solutions you might not have thought of, software you may not have ever heard of, and zero budget blowing possibilities. You will also, through this blog, get to know open source software as well as software intended for one purpose, but can be tweaked for other, more useful purposes. That is what DIY Is all about - making it work, making it work YOUR way, and making it work without going bankrupt.
And, as always, if you have a problem that needs a DIY solution, feel free to send it in to me <firstname.lastname@example.org> and I'll try to find a good do it yourself answer. But if you already have a good D.I.Y. solution, send it in and we'll show it off. You can never have too many solutions for a problem...especially when those solutions are of the do it yourself variety!
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.