By now we have all heard the of the pounding Wall Street is taking, huge investment banks are being devoured by larger commercial banks like Bank of America. Now I have a close friend that works for one of these global investment banks as an analyst, a bank that was about to be on the chopping block waiting to be taken over by yet another commercial bank, and I remember him telling me that after The Great Depression a law was passed that basically said that when a bank opens for business it can either be a commercial bank, the kind that we are all used like Citi, and Chase or an investment bank, like Morgan Stanley, this little piece paper signed into law was called the Glass-Steagall Act. I am no economics expert so I have no idea why the government is allowing these purchases to occur, so “why bring this up you ask?” Simple if these behemoths are suffering like this what hope do the rest of us have?
As a typical IT freak I read a lot of literature, some on new products and technologies to keep myself current and others that deal with the way large enterprises handle their enormous data flow, all this got me thinking about ways for small business to cut back on spending. You may say that as small business owners we don’t have the same headaches or the same spending habits these large institutions do, but I beg to differ. True we may not have a large global supply chain to manage, or large work force numbering in the thousands or even large data farms that span states and countries but just like them we still have to pay the bills at the end of the month. We still have to pay for things like heating and cooling, and electricity, and while our balances may not be in the hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions, when trying to keep a business going often on a wing and prayer every little bit counts!
A few weeks back I posted an article on Virtualization for small business, in there i mentioned how relatively simple it was to run a small business of 50 or less using virtualized servers, what I didn’t think of at the time was how much of a cost saver it would be in the long run. Let’s forget all the tech talk for a moment and think about this as regular business men and women. If you have any sort of IT infrastructure like networked computers it’s a safe bet that they are pretty much never offline and worse if the infrastructure includes servers you are basically watching money fly out the window and into the wallets of your bill collectors and that affects your bottom line.
This is where virtual servers can come to the rescue. Now I won’t go back into the various technologies and vendors again since I already covered that in the last article I wrote about the topic, but since you are basically running a few physical servers and a bunch of virtual servers your electric bill will probably be lower than it’s ever been and also with fewer physical servers to cool you can also save further on electricity and water because less servers equal less heat.
Once you have reduced that IT carbon footprint it’s time to get rid of all of that paper. By moving as much of your management and auditing systems to a centralized location like a server you can keep track of everything that you company does, and that information is available to anyone in the company that you give access to. And if this information is placed on web server users can also view and modify information from the road or any place with an Internet connection.
You may have noticed that while some of these require a small investment to procure the the needed hardware and/or software, the resulting expense savings will pay for them within months compared to years for a large business and you may experience a boost in productivity because everything is centralized and of course save you a few trips to staples to buy printer paper and toner.