Technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, and every industry has been affected. IT plays a role in most aspects of doing business, from connecting with clients to producing products and services.
Allocating an IT budget is no longer optional.
You simply can’t compete without digital communication and efficiency tools, so a certain amount of investment in IT solutions is crucial to your success. However, unrestricted spending isn’t practical. The key is finding a balance between the IT expenses that are critical to your business and those that add unnecessary costs.
Category 1: Basic IT Expenses
At first glance, it may appear that your basic IT expenses are non-negotiable. Many organizations carry the costs of IT hardware, infrastructure, applications, and related maintenance over from year to year with minimal review.
However, this assumption can be costly. As technology advances, replacing obsolete systems can add efficiency and productivity with little or no additional expense.
For example, if you still use an on-site storage system, you may wish to explore the opportunities offered by cloud storage solutions. If you are struggling with an outdated software application, look into cost-efficient, cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) options.
The bottom line is that none of your expenses should be carried over without proper examination.
Category 2: Projects with IT Components
Once you have considered the must-haves, review your plans for developing and expanding your business in the upcoming year. As your business grows and changes, your IT needs will change as well. Avoid unpleasant surprises by budgeting for related expenses.
Some examples of project-related expenses to consider:
- New licenses for additions to the staff.
- Additional offices that may require improvements to your infrastructure.
- Regulatory changes that may bring IT-related compliance obligations.
- Branding campaigns, client engagement strategies, and upgrades to business efficiency platforms.
All of these rely heavily on your IT capabilities, and you will need to account for them in your IT budget.
Category 3: IT Safeguards
The final group of expenses to include in your IT budget are the services that keep your systems secure and operational. No business is totally safe from cyberthreats, as today’s rogue actors target organizations of every size, in every industry. Schemes typically involve various forms of data theft, such as holding your data for ransom and stealing personal information for sale or use in identity theft schemes.
In 2017, ransomware payments exceeded $2 billion – double the figure from 2016. Cybercrimes have grown more sophisticated, and the number and variety of schemes is difficult to measure. Fraud through business email is particularly difficult to combat, and associated costs are expected to exceed $9 billion in 2018. Protecting your company must be at the top of your priority list, and standard security software may not be enough. In today’s complex security environment, engaging an experienced IT support service may save you the costs associated with a data breach.
Building an IT Budget with Expert Assistance
Organizations that rely on a salaried IT professional often learn that a managed IT services firm offers more value per dollar when it comes to preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, and repairs. Such firms ensure real-time support on an as-needed basis, and they have an expert staff with diverse skill sets to ensure a fast solution to any IT-related issues.