Every IT manager knows that planning an IT budget isn’t easy. You have to consider an accurate reflection of your business goals, technology requirements, and economic realities.
According to the 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey, 2019 IT budgets for digital initiatives, shadow IT countermeasures, and cybersecurity have increased, thanks to the favorable business climate. This indicates that organizations are recognizing the significance and value of technology and are leveraging it to optimize their business processes. If this year’s budget is any indication, IT’s role in businesses will only continue to increase, along with businesses’ IT budgets.
If yours is a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) that doesn’t yet bother making IT budgets, auditing your costs can highlight the areas where you might need to invest more resources. For example, if you see from your budget assessments that you’re lacking in cybersecurity tools, you’ll be able to create concrete plans for the tools and technology you’ll be needing for your business’s cybersecurity. You’ll also be able to determine priorities and plan for what your team can accomplish in the coming year.
In short, creating an IT budget can only help you grow the entire business. But how does one go about setting one?
Here are seven smart tips to help you plan your IT budget:
Set budget goals
Identify related priorities. This will shape and refine actual budget results. Ask the following questions to guide you:
- Is it possible to maintain the budget and still provide the necessary services and projects?
- What are the items in your budget that can be reduced to compensate for limited funding?
- As soon as budget cuts are in order, how will essential services and projects be provided? How will you deal with employee shortcomings and end-user complaints?
Identify budget components
Discern how your IT funding will be spent, considering staffing investments, supplies, overhead, facilities, travel, and other related expenditures
Assses service priorities
What are identified priorities for your IT service portfolio and what are the related operational costs to deliver these services?
Determine business priorities
Based on your business type, current conditions, and circumstances, business priorities will likely include any or all of the following:
- IT acquisition and/or operational costs and related expenditures
- Improvement of workplace and IT management productivity
- Delivery of improved or new technologies
- Elimination of technology (system/operational) problems
- Improvement of IT service delivery and related customer service satisfaction
- Performance enhancement of in-place technology systems and solutions
Collaborate with stakeholders before presenting for review
Shadow IT is growing. This means that end users are the ones making technology buying decisions. Remember that your employees are stakeholders too, which means your success is their success. Because of this, CIOs are actively collaborating on the technology budget with end users, as the latter can be vital allies in budgetary reviews.
Challenge your staff
When budget season opens, invite your staff to provide tech recommendations. Ask them to identify their must-have items and justify their choices.
Revisit mature assets
Ensuring that your business is in order should be part of any budgetary process. Ask yourself, what aging assets are coming off depreciation schedules? Are they favorable to your budget formation? If they’re coming off the books, you might want to consider replacing them.
While these strategies will certainly help you plan your IT budget, you still need to anticipate good and bad years of revenue and expenses. As such, schedule your most critical discretionary expenses in a timely manner so you can make sure they get done. Items you can afford to defer can be scheduled at a later time.
You need to provide your internal IT department with strategic guidance. By partnering with a reliable managed services provider (MSP) like Prosum, you can focus on your organization’s growth. Let us take the complexity out of planning your budget and maintaining your technology. Call us today to get started.