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From IT Budgeting to IT Investing: Align Your Technology Budget with Your Organization’s Success

Jeff Loeb

According to a recent study, 93% of small and midsize businesses recognize that IT is strategically and operationally critical, yet the majority say their current IT is not keeping up with their growing technology needs. Taking the time to properly budget for technology plans and initiatives will allow you to invest in the right staff and equipment, as well as enable you to use IT to achieve the goals and objectives at your organization.

For many, it’s the dreaded B-word: budget. Budgets are an integral part of running a business, and effective budgeting is key to organizational success. But for many, the mention of budgeting is followed by groans, sighs and eye-rolls; many associating the term as a painful process that prevents them from doing what they want to enable business growth and development.

It’s especially true for IT budgets. IT budgets focus on an organization's information technology systems and services, including compensation for IT professionals and expenses related to the construction and maintenance of enterprise-wide systems and services. For those business and IT leaders who despise the budgeting process, it can be tempting to make minor edits to last year's budget, keeping your budget stagnant.

Here’s a few important things to keep in mind when determining your organization’s IT budget:

  • When allocating funds, remember to think of your organization’s overall goals: What are the key initiatives for the coming fiscal year? How will corporate goals be met short term and long term? What role does IT play in the process? You need to be sure that you understand what the goals are for your organization, so you can budget accordingly. This will help offer a long-range view of operations instead of operating on a day-to-day or crisis-to-crisis level.
     
  • Make sure to receive input on your budget from essential IT personnel within your organization and outside IT professionals: There’s a lot of moving pieces when it comes to the technology you use: hardware, network, internet, software, maintenance and support, training – just to name a few. You need to work with your internal IT team to assess inventory, and seek guidance from a trusted technology partner to help define your needs both now and in the future.
     
  • Make sure you’re aware of what IT assets your company is using, what they currently cost, and upcoming service or end of life dates: It’s important to move away from reactive planning towards costs and considering IT an investment in your organization’s future. The longstanding adage of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is one that many small and midsize businesses follow with their technology. This methodology could save you money in the short term but can lead to significant costs later down the road. You can work with a partner to budget for the best technology that will increase revenue, decrease costs, improve productivity, and enhance customer experiences.