So, the business has decided to set aside resources and properly invest in IT. As the finance officer, you are now tasked with IT budget management to control expenses - plus ensure you’re investing in the right technologies to move the business forward.
Creating a robust IT budget, however, is not an easy task. With technologies and business environments changing at a rapid pace, you need to be able to develop a budget that will reduce costs and meet business goals - without sacrificing workplace productivity and efficiency. It takes time and careful planning.
This post will help guide you through the process of preparing and managing an IT budget for the business. It will give you the necessary steps to track technology spending, allocate funds for operating costs, and plan for future investment and expansion.
Here are a few things to consider when preparing your IT budget management:
1. Start with an audit
Before crunching the numbers and creating your IT budget, we suggest starting with a proper audit of your IT environment. This includes assessing your entire IT infrastructure – all your systems, networks, machines and applications.
The audit should be able to:
- Identify any inefficiencies, plus highlight areas where you can cut costs, streamline processes and reduce waste.
- Detect any security risks and vulnerabilities.
- Help you determine what needs to be updated, improved or replaced.
2. Align your IT budget management with business objectives
It is important to align your budget with the overall objectives of the business. By setting an IT budget, the business can centralise and standardise technologies, and create a shared service for some or all IT services.
For instance, the company can decide to invest in a tailored Managed Print Services (MPS) solution that optimises your entire print and document environment.
The MPS solution can reduce printing costs, enhance productivity, and improve data protection, while minimising your impact on the environment.
Your IT budget, therefore, needs to enable the company to not only control costs, but invest in new and innovative technologies that move the business forward.
3. Look at past budgets
While it’s good to have a view of future spending, your IT budget also needs to take past budgets into careful consideration.
Past expenditure on systems, devices and services can give you valuable insight on how money has been spent over the past few years, meaning you can:
- Identify areas where spending can be reduced, or funds can be reallocated.
- See any trends that can impact the current and future budgets.
- Have a benchmark on IT spending - which, in turn, makes it easier to estimate future expenses.
4. Allocate budget to enhancing security
Security is an ongoing concern for many businesses. With your computers, printers and mobile devices continuously connected to the internet, this can open the doors to a potential hacking and data breach (think about ‘The Cabinet Files’ incident).
So how secure are your applications, networks and devices? It’s important to allocate enough budget to enhance your IT security.
Be sure to upgrade all machines with the latest security features and invest in new security measures to protect your data and systems.
5. Budget for upgrades and updates
Outdated machines and software are not only a huge security risk, but can create lead to increased maintenance costs, downtime, loss of productivity and other operational issues.
This is why your IT budget needs to allocate funds for upgrades, updates and regular servicing - so you can avoid the unnecessary stress and costs of failing devices, and you can be sure that systems are always running at optimum levels.
6. Communicate and share your budget
Technology involves every aspect of the business, from operations and logistics to sales and marketing. It’s important that you properly share your IT budget with management, IT staff and other key people in the different departments. Make sure you clearly communicate how the budget can affect them, their work, and their team.
Communicating your budget also ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. It helps people understand what needs to be changed or improved, and what the business would be focusing on in the years to come.
IT budget management for the business can be an overwhelming task. But with some careful planning, you can create a budget that not only reduces costs and enhances security, but also helps achieve your overall business objectives.
Use the above steps to help you get started with the process, but make sure to customise each step based on the specific needs and preferences of your business.
We can help you calculate the total cost of ownership for your print devices and avoid unnecessary spending. Printing is typically the third-highest business expense after rent and payroll, but it's often overlooked or calculated using only the sticker price. Download our Guide to Calculating Total Printing Costs to learn how to correctly assess your device's total cost of ownership and avoid unnecessary expenses.