IT (Information Technology) will deliver its greatest value when it becomes invisible to users, when it’s taken for granted.
Nicholas G. Carr, Harvard Business Review
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IT outsourcing results in fewer computer hassles, energy savings

As a business grows, so does the necessity for energy and technology - and so do the costs in both arenas.

The cost of refueling has many reevaluating energy consumption in search of a more efficient alternative. For motorists, this could include the purchase of hybrid or smaller cars. For businesses, the alternative includes the strategic planning and purchase of energy.

All true energy markets vary in price daily, and in the past, local providers were an effective means of energy supply. But today’s market can leave the retail consumer paying the difference if they don’t have the expertise to manage volatile costs.

Since competitive suppliers are purchasing their power in highly volatile wholesale markets, knowledge of how those markets work and the optimal ways to structure energy contracts are critical.

For a business to run at peak performance, owners must be aware of the way in which their companies are consuming energy, the markets they have exposure to, and how much cost-related risk they are able to accommodate. By auditing the past three years of energy consumption, they will also identify any double payments, missed rate reduction opportunities and other common mistakes.

Since navigating through technical areas of expertise as a non-expert is like trying to fix a car without any mechanical knowledge, many companies rely on technical experts to guide them through these processes.

Likewise, instead of using in-house servers and storage, numerous Houston companies are running their data and applications remotely through “utility computing”, provided by a handful of Houston computer consulting providers.

By choosing from a handful of Houston IT consulting services, local companies can gather and deliver critical information in real-time without having to worry about the vulnerabilities of an onsite technology network. They can focus on using rather than managing technology.

Utility computing, unlike conventional networks, doesn’t transfer real data between the end-user and its centralized servers. Instead it displays frames of images at several hundred times per second, while keeping the data is secured, stored and managed by certified computer network consultants at the datacenter. In many instances, this creates a more secure environment against hackers and viruses than housing the data onsite - and contributes to a more predictable IT budget.

When all of the factors involved with energy, maintenance and technology advancements are lumped into one monthly sum, the cost of upkeep managed by companies is deflated over time.

Real-time computing also helps optimize energy costs. According to recent study released by Gartner Research, the accumulated expense of running servers has doubled in the U.S. and worldwide within a five year period. The estimated electrical bills for the life of each are $3, 700.

If a business owner feels he is not driving at peak performance, perhaps he or she should contact energy and Houston IT consultants who will place him back in the driver’s seat and his business back into the fast lane.

This article appeared on page 18B of the FOCUS: ENERGY section of Volume 37, No. 44 of the Houston Business Journal on March 16-22, — 2007

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