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Passwords, Vendor Management, Standards

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-12-01 Print this article Print

Baseline examines easy, practical technology strategies that will cut IT costs quickly and streamline IT management so you are more efficient in the long run.

11. Automatic Password Resets

Help desk costs can consume a big chunk of the IT budget each year. Most of those costs are personnel related, and, sadly, a lot of staff hours are eaten up by relentlessly repetitive tasks that could easily be automated. Take password resets, for instance. The process of manually resetting a password can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the system and the organization. In a larger organization, installing automated password reset technology can help shave hours off of a monthly help desk budget. This affords IT managers the flexibility to immediately cut headcount or reassign smart workers to more important areas within the department.

12. Streamline Vendor Management

Examine your vendor contracts to see how much the department is locked in for and then see how much can be cut from the services, leases and products which you aren’t contractually required to continue.

“Be pretty ruthless about going back to the users of those services and saying 'Are you really doing this?' because what I find in many organization is that the path of least resistance is to just not change anything even if a service is underutilized,” Hayes says.

For example, he recently helped a company that was spending over $100,000 a year on a service that the user base was actively avoiding using. The user liaison was even reporting that users were using the product because he thought they’d get in trouble if he said otherwise.

“They may as well have been flushing the money down the toilet,” Hayes says.

He also says this is the time to find out who your friends are among your current vendor pool. Separate the wheat from the chaff by talking with your vendor contacts and seeing how well they can work with you to reduce costs in the short term with the expectation of your continued business in the long run.

13. Take Advantage of Standardization Frameworks

Following practices laid out by standards frameworks such as ITIL are a fantastic way to improve process efficiency. And the great thing about them is that most of their best practice information is available for free. Sure, many organizations spend a mint complying with standards, but many of the costs involved revolve around certification, compliance auditing and the requisite consulting fees. Don’t worry about all of that stuff, just try to use the often common-sense guidance offered by the frameworks for now.

“I’m kind of killing myself as a consultant here, but I’ll tell you, everything is out there on the web nowadays,” Hayes says.

If politics precludes strict adherence to standards, at least take internal stock of practices, Hayes says. Find a few efficiency measurements and apply those as rulers to the different IT groups. Find out what those that score well are doing and apply those practices across the board, while eliminating or changing the practices of those groups that don’t do so well.

“In that case the expertise for making meaningful changes is all right there within the company,” he says.

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