One of the biggest challenges organizations and businesses face is the dreaded process of budgeting. For most, this time of year is when that process is front and center because most companies in the US follow the calendar year as their fiscal year. The interdepartmental arm-wrestling for financial consideration is typically won when there is an accurate forecast year in and year out, where the frequency of an unexpected expense is nearly absent. However, most small businesses and mid-sized businesses fail to budget for IT appropriately – most simply take their IT spending from this year’s ledger and use that for next year’s budget with little consideration given to what projects or areas within IT need attention.
It’s easier to budget for IT expenses than you think. There are 2 main categories with various sub-categories to be mindful of when you work to establish your budget:
1. Maintenance of IT Network
a. Internal IT Staff
b. External IT Staff (outsourced help)
c. Support Contracts
d. Hardware Warranty Renewals
e. Software Licensing/Support Renewals
f. Software Subscriptions
g. Security Services (if desired or required)
a. Consulting Needs
b. Hardware Considerations
i. Age is Becoming a Liability
ii. Performance or User Experience is Becoming a Liability
iii. Going End of Life and Support/Warranty is Discontinued
c. Software Considerations
i. Performance or User Experience is Becoming a Liability
ii. Security Concerns Exist within Current Software Version
iii. Going End of Life and Support/Maintenance is Discontinued
For most, adjusting the budget annually after the initial year of breaking down these two categories becomes far less daunting, especially on the maintenance side. Projects are easier to forecast if you have and maintain documentation of all hardware & software along with the age of those items. Any device approaching, or beyond, 5 years old is worth discussing and researching to understand if it’s time to make a change.
If you aren’t sure your budget is accurate or that all aspects have been accounted for, call in a consultant or work with your external IT Staff to ensure you’ve covered all the bases before submitting your proposed budget for approval.