As part of our ECI Unlocked programme we recently welcomed tech leaders from across our portfolio and network to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities facing CTOs today.
We were joined by Mark Rotheram, CTO at BCN, to discuss something front of mind for lots of tech teams. In today’s inflationary market, how can teams manage tech costs, with the challenge of balancing innovation and cost? Not only is there the cost of maintaining existing systems, the complexity of multiple licenses, but companies are also facing growing cyber threats, and don’t want to be left behind on innovation.
Businesses like BCN, a provider of flexible managed IT services, can help. Here are Mark’s top tips for staying on top of tech costs:
1. Have a solid tech roadmap
If you have a good tech roadmap as your foundation, it should provide clarity to the strategy and costs of the year. This helps to make sure everyone understands where the business is investing, and what will happen if that investment doesn’t happen.
That doesn’t mean that tech roadmaps need to outline everything you want to happen. It is about having a solid process that considers both risks and costs. It should be agile as you go through the year, but the roadmap should have board approval so everyone has visibility as to what needs to happen and can refer back to it as things change.
Tech contracts should be negotiated, and where possible volume discounts utilised. It is the benefit of using a partner like BCN, who not only understand how the price compares, but importantly understand the level of service you are getting, so that you haven’t negotiated a cheaper rate at the expense of requirements. Negotiation is an art, and it’s crucial to understand where you’re losing and gaining.
3. Open-source code
Open-source code provides a fantastic opportunity to save costs in your business. It is free and flexible so worth exploring.
One caveat here is that what is free now doesn’t always stay free, so there is a risk to take into account around future uptick in costs.
While automation is much easier to say than to do, there is still a lot of automation opportunity that is being underutilised. If done right it can reduce costs, particularly around maintenance.
One of the keys to getting it right is progressing slowly. This also means not trying to reduce team need too quickly. Instead gradually reduce team commitment as automation starts to take on some of the lower value tasks.
Microsoft in particular has lots of capabilities around automation that are not fully exploited. A partner can help to understand potential scope and determine whether processes could use a low-code/no-code solution.
Teams may have been burnt by seeing automation go wrong, which is why it’s important to set ground rules. At the start the strategy should be absolutely clear and any ancillary impacts considered.
It’s important to be very rigorous on costs, which means first reviewing the technology you have and deciding if you still need it. Go back to your roadmap and assess your existing tech stack against it. Do you still need everything you have? Some tech can be retired, but it often becomes BAU if it’s not being looked at properly.
Similarly, lots of companies are often overspecced for their needs. That may be using products that aren’t fully utilised, or with excess licenses hanging around. Check licenses against usage, in particular if they are being used by third parties.
Another way to optimise is that often vendors have consolidated since your initial purchase, and that means so can your licenses.
BCN have helped many companies move to the cloud, and the real value is about how to deliver more efficient business processes and ensure tech is delivering value. There are some areas where it is important not to try and skim the fat too much – cyber being one of them, as short-term savings may lead to long term costs both financially and in reputation. If you have your tech maintenance well managed and cost-effective, it allows you to invest in innovation, confident that you are adding value. Get in touch with one of the BCN team here if you’d like to find out more.