Assess the needs of your business. When you suspect that you need to downscale your IT, the first step is to do an in depth investigation of your current setup. As businesses grow or shrink their requirements change. Technology is also constantly improving which means the way to deal with those requirements is also changing. Left unchecked a business could be left with technology solutions which don't suit them and, worst case, costing more than they should.
Optimise the equipment that you have. Once you know what you have, and what everyone needs, you can assign your resources more efficiently. You can make small changes, like taking away the many small printers scattered around the office and replace them with a single, more cost-effective printer that everyone shares. Sometimes these decisions can be hard to implement, like taking away the brand new laptop the director bought just for email, and giving it to the sales consultant who needs it on the road for professional presentations.
Replace costly hardware with cheaper alternatives. Depending on who does your IT, you can often end up with expensive hardware that you don't need. As an example, small businesses often overspend on a server solution when they start out. There are many good reasons for a server but if the costs outweigh the benefits then there are numerous alternatives like the Cloud or Linux based systems.
Replace high maintenance technology with simpler solutions. When it comes to networking and internet connectivity, there are so many options available at reasonable prices that a small change can save you a lot of money. If you have a high maintenance technology that requires a lot of attention when problems arise, consider replacing it with an alternative technology that is more reliable. Do you really need a dedicated leased line, or will a cheaper uncapped ADSL line serve just as well?
Do the Research. The best way to know what can save you money in IT is to know more about current IT. For instance processor (CPU) speed is not as important as it once was. Even an entry level computer nowadays will usually be more than fast enough for most people. Rather investigate the extra components like RAM (minimum of 4GB's!), screen size or battery life. If you are baffled by IT, or don't have the time to do the research, make sure the people responsible for your business's technology are knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Outsource your IT Needs. The cost and management time in having an internal IT department can be prohibitive and in most cases unnecessary. A good outsourced IT company should be able to do all of the work a permanent technician could do in much less time and with less impact on the company. In addition the backup knowledge and staff an outsourced provider can provide means that there is less reliance on a single person.
Rent your Computers. An option that may favour your business model is to rent or lease your IT solution instead of buying it upfront. By renting or leasing your computers, you help cashflow and are in a better position when your hardware becomes outdated.
Make Use of Cloud Computing. A Cloud based email system, for instance, can be extremely beneficial as it reduces support costs and the need to purchase an expensive server which sits at your premises. Remote email access is also possible at any time and from any location even if your office is offline. Flexibility is increased, allowing you to streamline your workforce where needed. Downtime and disruption is greatly reduced and by being in the Cloud, your important data will be always be saved in a secure location online, providing you with peace of mind.
Understanding your requirements, researching the right solutions and finding the right people to implement them can save you a lot of money. Bells and whistles might be costing you more than you think.