Are you spending the right amount on IT?

money bag
What is a good benchmark for deciding how much to spend on IT for your business?

We have read the findings from leading IT research firms such as Gartner and Computer Economics and these are our main take-aways.

1. Proportion of income.

The general consensus is that businesses spend between 2% and 6% of their annual income on IT. Looking at it another way, Computer Economics tells us that the average cost per IT user in 2013 was $8,000. How does that compare with your business?

2. Differences between businesses.

IT budgets vary greatly depending on the size of business and the industry in which it operates. Small business tends to spend more as a percentage of income, as do the more IT dependent industries such as web, banking and finance. Large organisations tend to benefit from efficiencies of scale and industry sectors such as retail usually spend less than 2% of their revenue on tech.

3. Where the money goes.

No matter the company size or industry the majority of IT budget is spent on employing IT staff and services such as maintenance, upgrades, new projects, development and support. Hardware and software make up a surprisingly small percentage of overall spend (usually less than 20%).

You may use these statistics to benchmark your business but IT spend is not the most important gauge. The key is to be efficient with your IT budget and make sure you get the most out of your products and services. Quite often we will visit a new client that has made a lot of buying decisions without much due diligence and in some cases without consulting an IT expert. These buying decisions inevitably result in overspending on inadequate technology so my advice to you is to consult someone you trust before you continue investing in your IT.

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Five simple tips for recruiting in the New Year

Hire me
To have a successful business means recruiting the right people.

Finding, screening, interviewing then selecting the right candidate is a considerable challenge and can consume a huge amount of resources. The good news is there are now more ways to find suitable candidates and here are five for you to explore.

1. Word of mouth

Often the best candidates are closer than you think. Think about people you know. You may have come across them at trade events or conferences. They might work for one of your competitors and their details can easily be found on their current employers’ website under the ‘about us’ tab. Tap into your employees, who through their network of friends and colleagues, may know of someone either directly or indirectly that could fill the position. This is a cost effective and targeted way to find the right candidate.

2. Recruitment websites

This self-service solution allows employers to post job vacancies online. However, in order to avoid wasting time sorting through a mountain of responses from unsuitably qualified candidates, it is very important to clearly define the position description – including the minimum experience and qualifications required.  It may also be useful to provide links to your business website so that potential candidates can get a clear idea of the culture, products and services your business provides. Niche job boards are another effective way to find well-suited candidates. For example, universities and colleges often provide free opportunities to advertise vacancies on their student/alumni websites. Speak with the industry and careers representative at the institution as a starting point.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn contains the resumes and job profiles for thousands of members. Employers can broadcast ads to targeted members who possess suitable experience, qualifications and skills required for the vacant position. LinkedIn also allows businesses to set up a company page which can be a great way to communicate what your business does.

4. Your business website

One of the first places candidates look to assess their prospective employers is on company websites. Many websites have a careers section to capture potential candidates. Business websites are a great way of providing an insight to candidates about your business. You can also use the website to feature information about the members of your team and provide any further details about your business.

5. Facebook and Twitter

Over two-thirds of employers today use Facebook to recruit employees. Using functions such as the “Graph Search”, a filtering search tool, employers are able to reach out to potential candidates across the globe. Facebook and Twitter pages allow you to post jobs on social feeds and direct users to your business website.

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