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Updated by Charles Bystock on 08/12/2014

it-cost-reduction-ideasEvery company is constantly on the lookout for new IT cost reduction ideas they might be able to put into play. But achieving maximum savings isn’t simply a matter of plugging in the latest IT cost reduction ideas and watching your expense lines shrink. Every enterprise has to approach savings from a strategic standpoint, based on your individual business goals and other big-picture factors as well as daily operational needs.

With that in mind, here are three conceptual approaches and one hot-off-the-press specific idea. The three approaches won’t be news to you, but have you been using each of these strategies to the fullest advantage?

Cost reduction.

We tend to lump every effort to improve the expense side of the ledger under this category, but that’s not accurate. Nonetheless, have you examined every opportunity to directly reduce expenses?

Cost containment.

Things cost money, and you can’t just eliminate everything, especially when it’s critical to maintain service quality and delivery at levels which won’t appear dimmed by employees and customers. You also can’t control the fact that costs will rise. But you can set reasonable parameters or thresholds, based on your history and requirements, so that your spending is predictable and controlled as much as possible.

Cost avoidance.

Greater internal analysis – more detail, more frequently – tells you how much you’re spending and where. Review all your IT contracts to be sure you’re not paying more than marketplace average now, and renegotiate to lower future increases. Approach your provider about gain sharing – where you both reap the benefits of cost-saving measures. If you aren’t already outsourcing, look into it.

Assessing your current IT situation with each of these options in mind gives you greater latitude in implementing IT cost reduction ideas that will ensure highest possible performance and lowest possible cost for your particular enterprise. Let’s not forget that total cost of ownership – taking a holistic view of both expenses and performance – is the only way to really cut costs.  

Timing matters, too. To be most strategic, you have to consider time-to-implement and also payback time. Ideally, you want to adopt some cost savers that will kick in quickly as well as some that may take longer to get up to speed but which will generate commensurately greater returns.

Just announced: Intel says cooling doesn’t have to be so, well, cool.

If you’re in the market for the very latest IT cost reduction ideas, this one’s for you.

Intel’s Jeff Klaus, General Manager of Data Center Manager Solutions, says smarter hardware and middleware and closed-loop control are altering the definition of normal data center operation.

He’s excited – and you will be, too – because you can save about 4% on your cooling costs for every degree decrease in ambient temperature in your data center.

You can get there with more intense real-time thermal and power monitoring – pinpointing hot spots to better adjust cooling requirements and gaining better visibility of peak and low usage periods to improve planning. Over time, the additional data automatically collected will show you patterns to further improve planning as well as operations. And further increase savings, of course.

Closed-loop control automates continuous adjustment of cooling needs for greater efficiency. Klaus notes that the largest data centers in the world use this type of dynamic workload management along with power capping to optimize energy usage and resulting temperature variations. 

Taken together, monitoring and closed-loop control can lower your data center energy and cooling needs by 10-15%. A cost-saving corollary? You can eliminate the need to purchase and maintain an overabundance of back-up computing and cooling power. These technologies aren’t expensive, and they are universally useful no matter what hardware you’re using, so you can expect a quick return on your investment.

Ultimately, the most valuable IT cost reduction ideas are ones that help keep your enterprise balanced. Which ideas will you implement next?