IT budgeting tips: “Help for even the seasoned budgeter.”

Regardless of what industry you work in, IT budgeting is essential and sometimes tricky. With the shift to a more remote workforce, the changing economy and uncertain future, making the right budget projections are even more critical. With a few tips below, you can plan and forecast your IT budget with better accuracy.

The “Top 3” areas that are key when budget planning rolls around are:

IT support services

You may have onsite in-house staff to manage and maintain your technology systems day-to-day operations. However, even they need assistance from outside experts from time-to-time to solve complex focused issues, troubleshoot system anomalies or lend an extra hand when staff becomes overwhelmed. Plan to set aside a percentage of your over-all IT budget for external consulting services you may need to exercise if issues come up that require more expertise than you have on-staff. This budget placeholder should be rolled forward from year to year with small increases.

IT equipment

Hardware budgeting can be a bit daunting and not knowing just what needs to be replaced now, in the short term or several years down the road. Luckily IT staff who work with the hardware day-to-day should have a good handle on the replacement track. Utilizing an outside consulting resource to help assess the current state of the infrastructure will help guide the replacement process. Implementing asset tracking inventory software and procurement procedures will help to reduce the amount of time and stress for this task. Break down the placeholders in your hardware budget for immediate, intermediate and long-term equipment needs, utilizing the data gathered from staff, consultants and inventory management software to prioritize the purchases. Be mindful of critical infrastructure that may qualify as a capital expenditure like servers, firewall’s and mobile resource pools such as laptops and tablets. Be sure to set aside a small percentage of your budget for “on-fire” items that may crop up through the year unexpectedly and be sure to carry this amount forward year over year.

Human resources and added growth

All the new technology in the world won’t add efficiency if the staff you employ to install and maintain it isn’t properly trained. For in-house staff there’s nothing more frustrating than being told to implement a technology or hardware solution without the proper training and knowledge. With so many resources available online for training, adding a placeholder in your budget for development is a must. This would include support staff development as well outside of the IT area. If a new software is implemented and the end users who are required to utilize it daily aren’t properly trained, efficiency and productivity will quickly suffer. Support staff along with your IT resources will become frustrated, the software won’t be embraced fully, and the implementation expenditure can quickly become a burden. Performing a “human knowledge inventory” will help to determine which staff members need what type of training and assist you in budget planning.

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