Preparing the annual budget for the IT department can be a real headache. Perhaps its something you completely dread. However there’s opportunities to be savvy when creating your budget to make your dollar go further while also ensuring your IT department is well looked after and runs effectively.
The budget isn’t just a wish list – it can also be used as a strategic tool to help your department drive its strategic priorities.
When it’s time to work on your next budget, these tips can be used to ensure you make the most out of it:
1. Review the previous budget
You can’t move forward without looking back. Go through your previous budget with a fine-tooth comb and determine what areas of expenses could be reduced or better directed.
Endeavour to review both assets and purchases regularly to determine if there is value. Is there any duplication or waste?
2. Involve your IT team
As early as you can, involve the IT team in the budget planning process. IT is embedded in so many initiatives within a company that members of your team will have a handle on what will be required of the department over the next 12 months and beyond.
Involving the team will enable you to design decisions and budget your resources in a way that captures all this knowledge.
3. Invest in Cloud technology
Traditionally, hardware and software have taken up a large chunk of companies’ IT budgets. With Cloud computing gaining in popularity, it’s becoming a bigger player in IT departments and can be a more cost-effective solution.
4. Pay attention to salaries
One of the biggest items in an IT department’s budget is salaries – it can account for around 50 to 60 per cent of the total budget amount. If your people want a pay rise, you’ll nee to be even more careful with the rest of the budget in order to accommodate it.
5. Look for cost-effective ways to be more efficient
Examine all the tasks your department regularly carries out. Are you getting the best bang for your buck? Are there other things your people would be better off doing than the same old time-consuming tasks that dominate their time? If the answer is yes, determine what the issue is and look for innovative ways to solve it.
For example, if your IT helpdesk is routinely swamped with calls whenever there is an outage or other company-wide IT issue, consider ways to circumvent this such as by using DeskAlerts, an internal communication solution that allows you to send mass notifications to the entire company at once. This in turn takes pressure off the help desk, allowing those staff to get on with finding a solution.
6. Measure your ROI
Without measuring the return on investment of your various budget initiatives, you have no way of telling whether or not they will have any long-term or lasting benefits on your organization.