Oxford is a hub of innovation and enterprise and a place where new ideas can thrive, but that doesn’t mean running a business is completely without its challenges. For example, an IT budget can be a big drain on the finances of a small or medium-sized business (SME). However, there are several things you can do to minimise the cost of keeping your IT systems running, and ensure that everything goes smoothly without putting too much strain on your funds.
The cost of equipment can be one of the biggest drains on an SME budget, especially when the business is just starting up. However, there are several ways this cost can be reduced.
Refurbished computers are becoming increasingly popular with both consumers and new businesses. As long as they are bought from a reputable supplier, which can sometimes be the manufacturer themselves, buying a refurbished computer is little different from buying a new one. A refurbished item should have been thoroughly repaired and tested to ensure it is suitable for use, but the price will be much lower than that of a similar new item of hardware.
No matter how reliable your equipment and how well-constructed your network, it is likely that your business will at some time need to seek technical support. For smaller businesses, this expense can be unwanted, partly because it is often unexpected.
Choose a reliable firm for your IT support. Not only will this minimise problems but it might mean lower costs as a quality firm could be able to complete the necessary tasks more effectively and efficiently. It is also best to choose a local firm specialising in IT Support in Oxford as dealing locally will usually mean faster responses and smoother transactions.
Your business will almost certainly have specific software needs, whether this is a simple office package or a specialist tool for tasks such as graphic design. Buying these software packages, especially with a business licence, can often be expensive. This can be a huge problem and even huge barrier to the potential success of businesses that are just starting up.
There is a range of cheap and (in some cases) free software packages available that can significantly reduce costs. Some people are suspicious of free software, especially when a business relies on it, but there are some popular packages that have been recognised as high-quality and successfully employed by a broad cross section of business enterprises.
For example, many businesses and even government bodies have found they can make significant savings without losing productivity by replacing Microsoft Office with LibreOffice or its discontinued predecessor OpenOffice. However, it is important to ensure that a free software package will properly meet your needs before choosing it over a paid for package.
While OpenOffice and LibreOffice have been successful for businesses, many other free software packages just cannot compete with their paid counterparts. Furthermore, some free software packages, particularly antivirus and security software, have performed well when tested against alternatives but are only free for home use and require a paid licence for commercial purposes.
If your local IT support company is on the ball you can get a lot of information and advice before spending a single penny.