Austerity Software?

No, not the heroine of a new open source comic book (but there’s an idea…it’s mine!), but a description of open source that sprang to mind when reading this Marketing Donut article about how to keep your business afloat in tough economic times.

It can be a hard call deciding which costs can be cut without compromising the operational integrity of your business, and as the article sagely points out, your company needs to be poised for growth the moment things start to improve. If you’ve sold off equipment, lost staff or eaten capital, you could be sunk. Fear not however, there are costs you can cut that will not only ease your balance sheet but improve your efficiency and probably be one of the best business decisions you’ll ever take. Tune in next week…no, just read on, I’m not that mean.

Before I do the big reveal, ask yourself if you know how much your company spends on IT each year. I’m not thinking so much of hardware though that does come into it, I mean software purchase, licensing, upgrade, expansion and support. If you don’t know how much you spend then get out pencil and paper because it could be thousands of pounds – thousands perhaps that you can’t afford. If you lost staff are you wasting money on licenses you bought for people, roles or tasks that are no longer needed? The larger the company, the larger the bills for these items can be – if you use Windows or other proprietary software. The simple way to remove these costs is to switch away from proprietary software to open source.

Chances are if you’re reading this blog that the words ‘open source’ have at least floated across your consciousness at some point. In short, open source software is free to acquire and implement across as many computers as you like, no quibble. The lines of pretty little squiggles that we in the business call ‘code’ and that make the software do its stuff are also open and free to play with. If you like you can change some of the bits and make the software do different stuff, but we’re getting a bit A-level here. For these purposes, switching every possible application from word processing to email to server management from expensive and complex to license proprietary packages to free-as-a-bird and nice and simple to deal with open source software will save you money, no question. And coming back to my point about hardware, a computer or laptop struggling under the burden of a stodgy Windows install will often have a new lease of life if a light and zippy Linux operating system is installed instead – we’ve seen it happen time and again, when otherwise a client was expecting to spend hundreds on a new machine.

There, one saving you can make that will actually leave you better placed than you were before, and with a healthier cash-flow. If you’d like to ask us a question please email, or please leave us a comment below.

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