Q4 is Just Around the Corner
With Q4 just around the corner, it’s time to implement this year’s remaining IT projects and start planning your IT budget for next year.
Now is a good time to communicate and gain consensus for next year’s IT budget and strategy. IT projects are more easily justified at budgeting time when everyone knows their purpose, impact and objectives than if budget season is the first time anyone hears of it.
If you don’t already have an IT strategy, use the budgeting period as an opportunity to develop a strategy that’s presented immediately before your budget. If you have a cohesive and well-conceived plan, the money to execute that plan is less likely to be questioned. Anticipate capabilities that will be affected if you are required to make significant reductions to your IT budget.
Where to Focus Your IT Budget
As you plan for next year, here are 10 budget must-haves for many IT departments:
- Extra licensing fees – When new employees come through the doors, it’s important to be ready with the tools for them to get the job done, including extra licensing fees. This should cover productivity software, antivirus/malware (if you run a Windows platform), Exchange licenses (again, if you run a Windows platform), and any other piece of software necessary for business operations.
- Emergency hardware replacement – No matter how careful you are, no matter how well you’ve evaluated, deployed and administered your company’s hardware, it will eventually need to be replaced. Hardware replacement can be expensive and it’s important to have an emergency fund wrapped into your budget.
- Mobile technology – Mobile technology continues to become increasingly important. You should allocate a portion of your budget to cover mobile, if you haven’t already done so. This might be in the form of covering the cost of devices or data plans.
- Upgrades – Software and hardware need to be frequently upgraded. If you’re running outdated versions of your productivity software or outdated hardware, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading. Make sure your IT budget is prepared to upgrade software and hardware when necessary.
- Staffing needs – If your business expects to grow so much that you have to expand your IT staff, you will want to be prepared. Think can help with outsourced IT needs to help save money for your business.
- Cloud solutions – Cloud solutions can be in the form of a third-party solution or an onsite cloud solution. Either way, you will need room in your budget not only to deploy new cloud solutions, but also to expand existing cloud solutions.
- Software – Beyond purchasing updates for existing software, at some point you’re going to need to purchase new software or SaaS (software-as-a-service). New software will ultimately help your staff become more productive.
- Training – Technology is constantly evolving and tech standards from five or 10 years ago may no longer be relevant. Proper technology training could be imperative to keeping your company’s data secure.
- Data pipe – Who pays for your connection to the internet? Who pays for the failover connection? Who is responsible for the cost when your connection needs an upgrade? The answer to those questions is most likely “Your budget.” If your business depends upon an internet connection, you need a backup, even if it’s significantly slower.
- Data protection solution – Your business needs to have a solid, reliable backup solution deployed so that, should disaster strike, you can recover. Even if you happen to roll your own backup, you will still need to ensure that the backup hardware you use is always in working order and that there is a secure location to house the rotating drives.
Use IT or Lose IT
Now is the time to use your IT budget for remaining projects. If you’re not sure where to use your funds, take another look at the list above.