Let's set some ground rules for IT.
1. IT is ruled from business needs. Exception: There are IT business out there and these guys are thriving, because businesses need IT or rather buy IT. There is a difference between needing IT and buying IT which I hope to cover later.
2. IT is viewed as a cost to the business. Exception: Unless they start a shared service center and start charging other departments, but that's still funny money.
3. IT is expensive and difficult to quantify. Exception: This is normally comparative, but even comparatively, the figures are all fake, so don't believe the sales people.
So with those 3 rules in mind, we can tackle how to reduce this unfounded cost for the following business functions:
- Emails - reduce cost by moving to a service provider if not get a service provider and bargain to death
- Office software - reduce cost by using free versions of office or google docs, apps, etc. Microsoft office isn't really that expensive as well depending on scale, but it's only good when you can pick up the phone and ask Microsoft where the print button is, otherwise, it's the same value as Open Office.
- LOB apps - this gets a bit varied and not a one size fit all solution. Depending on the complexity of the application, we are normally set in the limitations of the software. This means that the problem lies within the software. All I can say is prevention is better than cure. Make sure you get the right application so that you do not have to undo the extensive damage and commit to all that extra $$$ you don't even know you're spending.
- Helpdesk support - larger organisations might need this and you get someone to run by and help, the ideal answer to save costs is not to do this, transitioning to that state with service management.
- Infrastructure - everyone says virtualisation, I say just turn what you don't need off and also organise your machines, centralise where you need to centralise and distribute where you need to distribute. Utilise desktops as nodes where there is less criticality, etc. What works at home, works at work. VMs are also useful for specific purposes of course, at the moment mostly for development work.
- Backups - some people say you can't stinge for a proper backup. I agree, but there are multiple ways you can do backups and save those dollar. Software: most backup software is already included in the operating system or even given free, e.g. rsync, DFS, etc. Hardware: buy good value storage and organise your data. Practise Information Lifecycle Management and age your data.
- Office IT supplies - do not burn CDs, keep everything in soft copy and use virtual clonedrive if you need to use an ISO. Do not print, read off the screen and bring your notebooks to meetings. Use natural light when you can and leave work early to go home :)