Dave Kinsey 2012-12-12 01:11:59
The highly compensated staff of a law firm makes outages or chronic technology problems extremely expensive. This is an important and often overlooked component of your overall IT costs. An excellent approach to controlling IT costs involves a peridic review of your technology A small firm may need to do this annually, while larger firms should perform a review more frequently. A good IT partner will proactively schedule regular meetings with you to review your technology plan and costs. A few key items to consider: IT Support Labor (internal & consulting) - Labor expenses include both in-house resources as well as outsourced vendors. People by far represent the largest expense. During your review, eliminate chronic problems by addressing root issues. Don’t repeatedly fix the same problems. If you choose to have internal IT staff, it’s important that they have the right partner vendors to assist them. Additionally, investing in ongoing training is essential to keep skills upto- date. office efficiency is a key consideration as rapidly evolving technology can improve productivity and lower costs. During the review, it’s important to evaluate technologies with proven returns on investment. Changes in process, training, or possibly an application change may be beneficial. Hardware & Software (including maintenance agreements) - Hardware is best managed on a proactive basis rather than reacting to failures. Software must be updated on a periodic basis, not necessarily for new features, but to ensure that critical applications remain supported. Diligent application of the latest security patches is essential to help protect against viruses and other malware. Reacting to hardware or software issues is much more expensive than proactively avoiding them. Telecommunications (phone, internet, cell) is an area with new clients where I often find a huge opportunity to reduce costs and improve performance. I have clients where we’ve doubled network bandwidth and simultaneously cut costs more than in half. Backup & Disaster Recovery – Backup of business data is critical. Far too many firms think they have good backups, only to be unpleasantly surprised when files, databases, or e-mail need to be restored. Furthermore, your backup costs may be too high if you are relying on older, less reliable technology such as tape backups. The most important thing is to have a checklist and a commitment to review it routinely. This leads to stable IT budgets, far less downtime, and fewer unpleasant surprises. Otherwise, it’s easy to keep doing things the same way you always have, and one day find that your costs and risks are out of control.
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