As CIO’s Peter Wayner recently put it, “When times are good, the harvest is full, the granary bins are overflowing, and it’s easy for an enterprise to gorge freely. When times turn hard and revenue evaporates, well, it’s time to cut back by slicing out those wild expenditures and bold ideas that once made so much sense.”

As companies find themselves in this situation, it’s important to look for ways to trim excess from IT budgets without negatively impacting business outcomes. The following are a few ways in which to do this before it becomes a corporate directive:

Streamline your website

Chances are your site includes extra data or other enhancements that aren’t actually critical to operations. Stock market quotes, weather forecasts, sports scores, or teasers like “Only 2 left in stock—order soon!” are examples of features that can be cut to save money. In addition, it’s easy to reinstitute these enhancements when good times return.

Change architectural priorities

According to Wayner, “Development teams try to hit the targets provided for them. In fat times, many managers focus on metrics that emphasize speed, such as response time.” Given customers’ well-documented demand for speed, this goal makes sense in a prosperous economic climate. However, in tougher times, companies should revisit this goal and emphasize efficiency instead. Wayner elaborates, “Sometimes slowing things down by just 10 percent or 20 percent can save more than half the computational effort.”

Rethink disaster preparations

Experiences navigating COVID-19 should provide organizations with a clear picture of what is most important. For example, a fail-safe database for collecting and storing mission-critical healthcare materials is essential. But do your social media posts or blog platform really need a robust backup approach?

Downgrade service gracefully

According to Wayner, “One of the most hidden collections of fat lies in the resolution of many images and videos. Switching to lower resolutions was one of the first things that some of the major video streaming services did after the COVID-19 lockdown.” People generally don’t object to lower grades, and this allows companies to use fewer servers to deliver the data and save on bandwidth costs for its transport.

Scale back entertainment

It’s important to boost morale and show IT employees how much you value them. But team building and similar activities can often eat up a large portion of the budget that could be allocated elsewhere during lean times. This is not to suggest that companies eliminate these line items entirely, but rather that they are judicious in how they plan for staff entertainment. For example, consider temporarily replacing company-sponsored happy hour with bagel Fridays or another low-cost event.

Check out more of the above and other ways to trim your IT budget in Wayner’s article here, and ensure your organization is nimble, efficient, and prepared for the future.

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