THE HELP DESK
Seven Tips for Keeping Technology Costs Down
by Sophia Guevara
If you manage the technology budget for your organization and are interested in keeping costs down, you’ll have to come up with solutions to get to that goal. Here are seven tips to help your organization meet its technology needs without breaking the bank.
TIP #1: GET DONATED OR DISCOUNTED PRODUCTS
Be aware of groups that can help provide you with discounted technology. If you are a nonprofit, you may want to learn about TechSoup (techsoup.org). TechSoup can give eligible organizations such as libraries access to donated and discounted technology products. TechSoup’s product catalog (techsoup.org/get-product-donations) offers software such as Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Its available hardware includes refurbished desktops, monitors, and laptops. It also offers headsets, projectors, and internet or networking equipment.
TIP #2: ADOPT OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE
Make use of open source software for your organization. Several solutions exist that include options for computer OSs, servers, and word processing systems. With that being said, it is important to remember that while you may save money on license costs, you may need to think about hiring an open source software support firm if you don’t have a technology team or if your existing team doesn’t have the technology skills to support open source solutions.
TIP #3: FIND FREE ONLINE TOOLS
Look for free solutions and tools online. Use Google Hangouts (tools.google.com/dlpage/hangoutplugin) to connect with colleagues located at a distance or to make free phone calls. Use FreeConferencePro (freeconferencepro.com) if you are interested in holding a free conference call. It also provides an option to record a call so it can be shared with those who were unable to participate.
TIP #4: LOCATE A DISPOSITION WAREHOUSE
Check out local disposition programs that are open to the public. Universities and community colleges are a good place to start. In my city, the public can access a large university property-disposition warehouse that is also open to staffers and students at the university. It offers deals on technology such as screens, speakers, keyboards, and mice. At my local community college, a property-disposition program makes items available on eBay. Large screens, monitors, and laptops are provided at a deep discount.
TIP #5: ASK VENDORS FOR DISCOUNTS
Seek discounts from a vendor representative you may be negotiating with. Check to see if the vendor provides bulk licensing discounts for larger purchases, and check with other departments in your organization to see if they may be signing contracts for the same product from the vendor to determine if their purchases can be included in a single contract for your organization, especially if bulk licensing discounts require a minimum number to kick in.
TIP #6: REVIEW YOUR LICENSES
Check the licenses your organization is being offered to see if there are auto-renewal clauses. Sometimes, unneeded technology is renewed unintentionally because someone didn’t let the vendor know about a cancellation early enough.
TIP #7: NEGOTIATE YOUR CONTRACTS
Determine if your organization can do without all the bells and whistles of a particular solution. Ask your vendor representative if there is a lower-cost solution that meets your needs. Do you have a technology solution that fits your organization well? Why not ask your vendor if your current agreement can be transitioned to a multiyear one? Sometimes, vendors will approve a multiyear agreement to save time at the negotiation table, but they will ask for the full amount in advance. If possible, try to enter language into your contract that will allow you to promise the vendor business for the multiyear agreement without requiring your organization to pay the total upfront. If you get pushback, ask your representative to get approval from the vendor’s legal department.