IT budget and expense management need to be predictable – this is key for any business. Making IT spending predictable can reduce unnecessary stress, and minimize unexpected investments.
4 Expert Tips That Make Your IT Budget More Predictable
1. Set a timeline for updates, upgrades, and replacements for hardware and software
Replace your machines and update your infrastructure at set intervals.
You can plan almost exactly (not including any emergencies) how much you’ll spend on new machines each year. For example, if your company has 60 machines and you plan on a 5-year rotation, you know you’ll have to invest in 12 new machines per year.
This may seem a little excessive, but it’s necessary for security, productivity, and scalability. Having a set rotation also creates a backup stock of computers in case a machine fails before it’s due for a replacement.
2. Sign a contract with set expenses through a managed IT services provider
If you don’t have your own IT department, consider contracting with a managed services provider.
A managed service provider gives you a set number of hours each month, or you can even buy blocks of hours. This ensures your machines will be maintained, and you can budget an entire year’s cost at once for IT issues.
Even if you have an in-house IT department, it can be helpful to have a consultant come in if you have major IT projects going on. They can assist with everything from server migration to IT infrastructure design to setup and configuration for Office 365/Google Apps.
3. When you budget for an IT project, make sure to overestimate (a lot)
Speaking of projects, this is where you’ll see the largest disparity in proposed spending and actual spending. If you don’t plan your project well and don’t account for inevitable delays, it’s an easy way to overshoot your budget and mess up your entire IT budget plan.
4. Always leave plenty of room for scope creep
Proper planning can limit scope creep (which can absolutely destroy any budget you have in place for a project). Scope creep means you plan to install two new servers, and suddenly you’re doing two new servers, a network upgrade, and a full overhaul of your backup system (all of which you probably needed desperately).
One of the biggest causes of scope creep is a project manager who doesn’t fully understand the project, or has problems managing all parties involved in the project. This means slow progress, bloating costs, and major delays.
Follow these tips to make IT spending more predictable. Predictable spending means less stress throughout your organization, from the executives to the boots on the ground in your IT department.
Remember, the onus is ultimately on YOU to stick to the budget you’ve outlined. Good luck!