Four Ways to Control SME Operating Costs

Four Ways to Control SME Operating Costs


After all, who doesn’t like to save money? One pain point that consumers, enterprises and small businesses share is their energy consumption.  But it’s not just the heat of summer or the cold of winter that ratchets up the kilowatts.

If you are an SME, your IT systems have a significant impact on your energy consumption. The good news is that there are things small businesses can do to make their energy bill more bearable year-round.

The impact of your IT

Most SMEs don’t realise just how big of a footprint their IT equipment has on the environment and how much they could save by reducing it. You can make laudable changes without compromising the quality and performance of your equipment or processes.

In fact, it’s not hard to have the best of both worlds: high product performance and low energy use.

Below are some tips for fostering energy-efficient computing in your small business. Some of these are simple changes and others will require new approaches to IT, but every little bit helps in the long run.

  1. Know where you stand. Know where you are so you can get to where you want to be. SMEs can perform energy audits themselves with the help of an inexpensive metering device such as P3 International Corporation’s Kill A Watt meter. Among other things, these devices display power draws in watts and track cumulative power consumption over time in kilowatt-hours.
  2. Use more laptops. Many SMEs are already doing this because their workforce needs to be mobile. But for those that are still using desktops, laptops bring another benefit beyond enabling your road warriors—laptops can save anywhere from 40 to 100 watts, depending on the desktop units they replace.
  3. Consider virtualisation. SMEs can also see savings from both desktop and server virtualisation, which can enable small businesses to utilise fewer servers and desktops to maintain the same number of applications while also decreasing electricity consumption and waste heat. A recent study conducted by Symantec found that the majority of small businesses are interested in virtualisation, with a full 70 percent of them at least considering it.
  4. Unplug it! It may sound obvious, but too many of us still walk away with something unused still plugged in. Most devices consume electricity even when they’re switched off. By unplugging your PC, other devices and chargers when they’re not in use, you’ll see more benefits than a power management system alone.

A few tweaks in habit here, a few energy efficient devices there, and noticeable reductions in energy bills and operating expenses will occur. All of this can be done with no negative effect on operations. It’s a cost-savings opportunity for SMEs that makes perfect sense.

David Ribeiro
David Ribeiro is a Partner Account Manager at Symantec South Africa. He is responsible for managing the relationship between Symantec South Africa and the managed reseller Channels. During the past years with Symantec, David has been recognized for his dedication and achievements both locally and on a global level. In addition to receiving the Small Business Team of the Year awards for EMEA in 2008, he was also named the Small Business Salesperson of EMEA for FY10.
  • Davids’ simple changes are very practical. Implement it and you will see results. The idea of cost cutting habits can be very exciting.

    However, operationally we plug a few holes here, and put out a few fires there, yet there will always be one or two other costs that cannot be kept down, and that rears its ugly head in our master plan.

    In business, unforeseen operational errors and problems, have the horrendous effect of pushing up operational costs after much saving has been done. At the end of the day it seems to all balance out again.