Software licenses can be a big chunk of the costs associated with having a small business, as computer are vital in order to perform many business tasks. However, many businesses spend too much money on corporate software, money that they don’t actually need to spend. Look at the following ways of saving money on business software to see how to cut your IT bills.
Using Open Source Business Software
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The first thing you should do in order to lower your IT software costs is look at potential open source alternatives that you could be using instead. This may not be suitable for all trades, and generally you may want the programs you use on your core business to be commercial to enjoy paid technical support for example. But spending thousands of pounds on a graphic editing suite when you just want to adjust the colours on some pictures is a waste of your small business money.
Before paying for something because everybody else seems to be using it, or because the salesman is actually aggressively trying to push it on you, take a look at available open source or independent programs that may be able to do exactly what you need, or close enough to be worth the savings.
Check Out Offers At Your Business Association or Trade Group
One of the benefits of networking is that you can get great deals on business software just by belonging to business groups, trade associations or even having an accountant who can negotiate deals for you. Make a point of not paying the full price for any software product without first researching alternatives, as most products will have coupon codes and online vouchers you can use to reduce your costs. Even your bank could be offering deals for new business in order to increase their value to their customers.
This is particularly important if you are looking to get your business software in the cloud using a subscription model because I can tell you, 90% of mainstream products have some sort of voucher or introductory offer that can save you a pretty penny.
Leveraging Software As A Service (SaaS)
Using services available on the cloud is a great way of saving money on your business software needs. Instead of purchasing licenses you subscribe to a service, available online usually through a browser, and the business running that service ensures that there’s no shortages and everything is kept secure. Another way of referring to cloud services is Software as a Service or SaaS, and that describes exactly the philosophy behind it: Pay only for what you actually need and use, forget about licenses.
There are usually different subscription models, usually based around the number of accounts that can access the service, and you can upgrade and downgrade depending on your needs. Your SaaS providers will be in charge of back-ups, system updates, adding new features and you’ll always be working with the latest version instead of having to run your own servers and keep everything safe and up to date yourself. This means you’ll be saving money both on software and on IT maintenance. IT giants such as Microsoft, Apple and Google offer versions of their products as SaaS which can save you a lot of money instead of purchasing a license upfront.
Avoiding Oversized Business Software
In some cases, businesses spend excessive amounts on software just because they choose products that aren’t adequate for them. For example, purchasing licenses for an expensive full HR suite when all you needed was some payroll software for small business (that you could get on the cloud as SaaS) would require less money and much less training and give you exactly what you needed.
Be realistic about your business size and requirements. If you are testing a potential business idea it’s probably a bad idea to purchase the most expensive web design software available, especially if you don’t really know how to use it, even if it’s really cool and people make great websites with it. If your goal is saving money on business software the first step is making sure you don’t pay for things you don’t need or cannot use effectively.