Enterprises must continuously invest in new compute platforms, software, network devices, and corresponding infrastructure to stay competitive. It seems like the cost of technology is continually rising. However, the cost of these continuous upgrades has declined over time and is much more affordable (and accessible) than ever.
What exactly is influencing the rising cost of your enterprise’s technology and IT investments, then? What should you be aware of before making future budget decisions? Below, we break down the elements that add up to higher-tech costs and consider ROI discussions to ensure any future tech investment is well worth it.
It’s no secret that hardware, software, and the compute devices used across industries are becoming more advanced and more performant. Ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to virtual reality and automation, technology can do more now than ever before for essentially any industry. The more it can do — or the more you need it to do — the more expensive it may be.
While a new platform with higher performance and capabilities can be costly, so can the implementation of new software, programs, or the associated training needed to ensure those capabilities work for your needs. Custom programs necessary for accelerators like GPUs and FPGAs or code enhancements help adapt the tech to a specific enterprise function, i.e., to allow for financial transactions, client management, data management, and so forth. New technologies are always associated with a new employee or IT team training to ensure those features and benefits are being used properly.
While the additional cost can deter new tech investments, the price will continue to go down as more solutions with even more capabilities enter the market. It’s essential to invest in enhanced capabilities that replace outdated processes or inefficiencies that cost your enterprise more money in the long run. It is imperative to keep in mind that acquisition cost isn’t the definitive determination for new technology when developing your ROI evaluation. More importantly, you must evaluate the opportunity lost by continuing with outdated technology.
Setup and implementation
According to Gartner, 80% of total IT costs occur after the initial purchase. Examples of these additional costs include:
- Required hardware
- Future software updates/upgrades
- Outside consultants or contractors
- IT and staff training
But even before purchase, resources are spent on research, development, implementation, or even external consulting. Before entering into any decision to update tech or hardware, ensure that your board or team understands the full picture of costs associated.
Maintenance and oversight
Just as technology is necessary for businesses, so are the people who manage it. When you invest in new devices or tech solutions, you may need to plan on a new hire or a third-party resource for ongoing maintenance, updates, upgrades, and troubleshooting. Depending on your industry and enterprise’s size, you can expect to spend anywhere from 2 to 6% of your annual revenue on maintenance and support.
Remember, though: These costs are worth the investment to ensure any new technology is used to its fullest extent and kept up-to-date.
Expected lifespan and IT reuse
Plan for a heftier upfront investment on technology stacks built to last for several years or even decades. Low maintenance software and hardware will also be more expensive upfront. Depending on your enterprise, these longer-lasting investments may include project management tools, HR programs, internal communications systems, cloud-based storage, and even some desktop or handheld devices.
Investing in technology that can be repurposed, for example, open-source software, compute platforms, or even storage arrays, is a great way to extend the life of your technology budget. While longer-lived or enterprise-wide technology may be the most costly, it can be a better value by saving staff-hours and future modification investments. Just be sure to do a cost analysis to determine if/when a payoff is expected and understand the device’s lifespan or hardware you’re investing in. Selecting enterprise-wide solutions and implementing cross-department tech and risk assessments can also reduce your total cost of investment.
Data security and protection
The cost of technology goes up if it is not adequately protected. That’s why so much attention is paid to (and investment made) to mitigate the impact of malware and ransomware. It is paramount that you understand these risks and the potential of internal threats against your data storage and applications. While that may add to the cost, data durability is crucial for any enterprise’s tech infrastructure. Why?
Aside from “simple” data protection, enterprises must contend with compliance requirements, internal retention policies, and the value of long-tail content data. Data protection (when done well) requires an aggregated process based on multiple defense mechanisms and not a singular response to an event that could risk the entire enterprise. Integrating the business owners of the data is critical. The development of a protection scheme will be based on these business needs. These needs may vary from department to department. Understanding individual RPO, RTOs, and retention requirements will help with a tailored data protection approach.
While protection and risk assessment can be costly, the alternative can be even more so. For example, hardware failure is the number one cause of data loss and accounts for 45% of unplanned downtime. For businesses, that can cost an average of over $17,000 per minute. As for cybersecurity and data breaches, each lost record’s average cost is $150 — which can accumulate to millions with a single breach.
Enterprises need to invest in data security and protection solutions that continue to evolve with their technology and ever-changing threats. Along with an IT or cybersecurity team, this can contribute exponentially to the cost of technology. However, it’s a necessary investment. It doesn’t just protect your workflow or systems from downtime; it protects the longevity of your business, its reputation, and employee or customer data privacy.
Keep your enterprise and its technology secure with Sanity Solutions
Before you make any investment for your enterprise’s IT infrastructure, it’s important to evaluate more than the devices, hardware, or infrastructure itself. Consider payoff dates, added or associated costs, longevity, and ongoing protection.
Sanity Solutions can provide tailored solutions for you and your business that help you protect your investment, revenue, and the security of your enterprise and its customers. Whether we’re working with your current infrastructure or preparing for upcoming advancements, we can help ensure your biggest investments stay protected.
Let’s talk about all the ways we can help protect your enterprise, your investments, your customers, and their data. Contact Sanity Solutions today.