Thursday 5 January 2012

Business ICT for less than 150 GBP/Month

Our business involves a lot of international travel for the principal consultants. However as a UK company we are bound by Company Law, UK Taxation laws and of course the needs of our clients that we must maintain long term records in an easily accessible form. We depend greatly on the availability of the Internet, voice/video conferencing and telephones. We often work across time zones so access is required to our systems pretty much 24 hours a day.

With the exception of physical documents stored for tax and company law reasons we hold no paper documents on a long term basis. Occasionally we'll print a document to work on it, but essentially all records and collaboration procedures are electronic. By the nature of our business we have to be mobile and often geographically dispersed, but we also need to have good access to our computer systems at all times. We need good document management so that we have a good document trail and also ensure that everyone works from the most current version of a document. We have the facilities of a large enterprise.

If a 747 aeroplane dropped from the sky onto our offices we could be back in business within two hours or less; excepting any people squashed in our offices. We wouldn't lose any documents, our contact lists and our phone system would be intact. We'd maintain all of the design, planning, accounting and billing systems. If there was a regional power outage or a flood the impact would be the same; none at all.

How often do we test our business recovery process? We don't. Resilient distributed working is part of our daily routine. Our systems are all configured to work seamlessly if some part of the whole system is unavailable. We also have local resilience at our office in terms of Standby power generator, UPS power, resilient Internet and Wide Area Networking.

This all sounds rather expensive, but it is not. These are our typical budgetary costs per person for technology per year:

Personal computing/portable: - £400
Power:- £150
Phone (Mobile & Land line):- £400
Internet Access:- £250
Office software:- £0
Software Maintenance:- £0
Support Technician/Help Desk:- £0
Servers:- £0
Email:- £0
CRM:- £0
Cloud Services:- £300
Web Hosting:- £150
Office rental, cleaning etc:- £0
Document storage:- £0
Specialist design software:- at cost

Total annual cost: £ 1,650 to provide resilient office and technology per employee. Circa £140 per month. If you want to know more contact me. I'll be happy to discuss, for free of course.

Here's some background to one of the techniques: - Google Apps

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