Creating the ideal IT budget that works for your employees and your company takes time. However, it’s certainly worth all the time and effort.
I’m sure your mother told you to just be you. Sorry if this is a tough wake-up call, but being yourself isn’t necessarily an ideal business strategy.
While you don’t have to budget like the crowd, you should at least be conscious of their tactics. Knowing your rivals allows you to show your boss how you regularly outperform them.
Take a look at how your IT budget compares to others. What do similar-sized companies spend on IT? Especially with a tiny firm, every dollar must be justified.
You (and your CEO) know that as a small business, you will spend a smaller percentage on IT than larger companies. This knowledge helps determine costs and create expectations for similar businesses. As a rule, small businesses will spend 6.9% of revenue on IT, while major organizations spend half. How much do your industry’s companies spend on IT? Small businesses are unique. Business models and expectations of IT departments vary per industry.
You can expect to spend far more on technology if you work in a regulated business like banking. Similarly, you also spend more if you are with any other company that deals with sensitive personal data. Again, knowing your company helps you set expectations for yourself and the budget approvers.
1. Ideally, differentiate your tech team.
Here’s your time to talk about what makes your team distinctive. Explain how and why you differ from other teams. Do you pay more than comparable firms? Possibly because you prioritize paying your top employees? Do you save money on hardware?
Demonstrate how you can afford an improvement or reallocate cash to another category or project by demonstrating your present efficiency.
2. Do a deeper diver into your company’s IT activities.
Ideally, your CEO knows everything about your IT department and your competitors’ IT departments. Your tech team isn’t isolated.
No? Time to go deeper. Get to know the rest of your team. End-users want the IT decision-makers to assist their business goals, and their budget should reflect this. If you don’t know the aims of other departments, how can you support them? Will your marketing team need help to implement a new email marketing system? Interested in testing a new eCommerce feature?
Ideally, a simple log-in or request for a report may be all it takes to discover your company’s goals. A company-wide OKR system is another option you can propose to your employer.
Knowing how to work with and for other teams is critical in today’s world of increasing dependency on technology. Together you can create something amazing. Consistently achieving your organization’s overall goals is, of course, ideal.
3. Recognize your assets and ideal needs.
To begin budgeting, first determine what you have, then what you need. Organize your resources. What hardware do you have? Will it last a year? How about software? When are your licenses up for renewal? What will that cost? Do you have enough seats for new employees if you’re hiring?
Remember to consider payroll while talking about your staff. Who on your team deserves a raise? Will you require a new engineer soon? Your CEO — or whoever is in charge of keeping track of your company’s goals — must be on board.
Track it all with IT asset management software, for example, ITAM. Consider using Smartsheet, which offers free Excel templates to get you started if you’re not ready to invest in an IT asset management system. Find out how well you’re using your resources and where you could be lacking. Ideally, avoid duplications and needless purchases.
4. Don’t wait until the last minute to track your money.
I hope you aren’t waiting until the last minute to track your resources. This isn’t the way to write a budget!
ITAM software can help you track resource usage. But don’t wait until the end of the fiscal year to think of anything your team could require.
Throughout the year, keep track of what you use and need. It saves time and prevents your team from being short-handed next year due to your forgetfulness. Remember to keep a running wish list, too.
5. Ideal planning involves everyone.
Why not find out what your team needs directly from them? Assist your department’s members in identifying useful and ideal tools and resources. You can discuss budget items and priorities in a separate meeting. Or you might ask for everyone’s top three wishes.
Asking “Who wants to help create the budget?” should look more like this. Creating an ideal budget that works for everyone requires understanding their needs.
We’ve already discussed how your IT department helps the whole company. Therefore, demand more from your IT people. In addition, ask other departments and teams what you can do to help them. Never impose your will on your team. Acquire information from your team and others.
6. Keep in touch after submitting your ideal budget.
That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to people after you’ve decided. It’s always ideal to communicate.
Remember how I said you should keep track of your possessions and needs? Checking in with your team and other teams is important, too. Regular check-ins with everyone help avoid overspending on a job. It also helps you decide where to ideally reallocate resources if you’re short on funds. An email or a face-to-face meeting is usually sufficient.