Jan 8, 2014

Affording IT Solutions on a Small Business Budget

Eighty-five percent of small small businesses increasing investments in technology can expect higher revenue, according to the 2012 SMB Routes to Market Study. Business can't afford to ignore the benefits of implementing technological solutions if it means making money. Small businesses can implement IT solutions comparable to large businesses. There are many open source software solutions available to small businesses:


MySQL is the world's second most used open source database. Several paid editions that use MySQL and increase functionality include Joomla and WordPress. Paid WordPress themes start at $75 per year.
LDAP is an application protocol made for organizing a set of records, such as a corporate email directory. LDAP includes closed and open source software programs for client software from cross platform to Microsoft Windows.

Programming Environments

Python is an interactive programming language. It's open source and companies like Yahoo Maps and Google spider and search engine are written in Python.
With its automatic memory management and dynamic system, Ruby is an open source web application. Companies such as Amazon, BBC and NASA use Ruby.

Enterprise Class Technology

Compiere is an enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management system. It is a good solution for small and medium-size businesses. Its framework is designed with the intention to follow changes as a business evolves.
Open Bravo is used for small- and medium-size companies. There are open and closed source versions. The paid-for version offers functionality including updates and upgrades and administrative tools.
BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 takes away the concerns about security normally associated with BYOD and makes it easy to deploy, manage, secure and control devices — BlackBerry, Android, and iOS. Although not an open source solution, there is a 60-day free trial where businesses can test the mobility management for employee's devices.

Office Productivity Software

​Microsoft Office is the standard in most office environments, but there are other options that work just as well if not better and they are less expensive or free. Google Apps and LibreOffice are effective business productivity suites and are significantly cheaper.
LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite designed to be compatible with Microsoft Office. It has a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, vector graphics editor, mathematical application and database management program.
Google Apps makes collaboration easier. Most small businesses don’t benefit from bulk-purchase prices offered by Microsoft. Most people only use about 10 percent to 15 percent of the features in Microsoft Office Suite, so to use the open source software saves the cost of the proprietary solution.

Photo Retouching

GNU Image Manipulation Program is an open source software that offers many of these advantages at little to no cost. Small businesses should research whether these cost-effective options will work for its firm, suggests Business Bee.

Cloud Storage

Many small businesses are migrating to cloud services for tasks like data storage. Migrating user storage from user's pictures to a centralized location like the cloud reduces strain on client machines; there is less writing to drives and more over the network. It is also easier to backup all end-user data from a single location.
Dropbox allows users to share documents and photos across multiple devices. The free storage capacity is 2 GB, but for businesses that want as much storage as needed can pay $795 a year for five users and an additional $125 per year per user.
Microsoft SkyDrive allows people to replicate files on multiple systems and is best for small businesses. It's free up to 7 GB, while adding 200 GB is $100 more per year.

Web Teleconferencing

Communicating with employees, clients and vendors in other cities or countries can be expensive for small businesses. Web-based teleconferencing allows businesses to make video and voice connections without the need for special equipment or huge phone bills. Web-based teleconferencing, such as AdobeConnect, can also help companies manage their networks of mobile and social media connections.

Migrate to Linux

Most businesses have migrated to web-based tools. On a Linux box, there is no need to worry about virus infections, corrupt registry entries, or installation of malware-infested applications. Linux machines can still use closed source software, such as Microsoft Office.

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