How to Create a (Realistic!) IT Budget Aligned with Business Priorities

If you’re questioning how to make an already-stretched IT budget expand to cover new innovation, you’re not alone. Here’s how to align your priorities for the most significant impact.

What do you get when you add political and economic instability into an already-complex and overwhelming process? IT budgeting now has additional layers of complexity that were unexpected only a few weeks ago, and CIOs and other IT leaders are scrambling to put emergency plans in place — while attempting to balance tight budgets for the coming year. From the immediate need for secure remote working solutions to ensuring that your operations can continue with an unexpected strain on internal resources, IT directors have their hands full ensuring they will have the budget required to keep projects moving forward for 2020 and beyond.

Level-Set Your Budgeting Goals

Will your budget be the same as the prior year, receive a nudge up or be slashed back to the bones? Understanding your budgeting goal allows you to jump-start thinking about which upgrades need to be completed in the coming year and which can be pushed off for a later date. It’s also important to note that technology leaders may have to be more proactive about sharing their needs with business units, helping senior leadership to understand why a particular project or service upgrade is necessary and the business goals that it represents. Being able to articulate this information may be what makes the difference between gaining the budget you need to be successful — and spending your year apologizing because projects are falling behind. Not all IT leaders are comfortable with this conversation, so it may be helpful to recruit external support to make a compelling business case.

Setting Working Priorities for Your Budget

Once you have a solid understanding of the dollars you will have to work with. It’s time to narrow the field of consideration. Carefully review upcoming business priorities with your peers, defining which projects are expected to yield the most significant results in the coming year and the IT requirements to support those projects. Consider the breakdown of IT budgets between capital investments, supplies, training, overhead, facilities and staffing by reviewing the budget and any misses for the past several years. This retrospective gives you a broad overview of where you can expect to overspend and should allocate additional funds and ensure that you are removing the allocation for expenses related to projects that failed to culminate.

Get Aggressive in Defining Business Goals

Technology is an increasingly important aspect of business success, affecting not only internal operations but the way products and services are delivered as well as the overarching customer experience. Compliance with privacy and data storage standards are also at the forefront of the organization’s consciousness due to the high potential of liability and risk associated with these activities. Assigning support dollars to these more significant initiatives can be a challenge. Still, it’s essential that you review what will be required to sustain these projects in the coming year as the priority — not as an afterthought. Once these dollars are assigned, you’ll have a better understanding of where to allocate additional budgeting based on upcoming essentials such as hardware or software upgrades as well as new business initiatives that are coming down the pike in the coming years.

Aligning business priorities with IT budget reality is a challenge for organizations across the globe. The only way to maintain space for innovation is to ensure that your company has the resources needed to meet critical infrastructure security and compliance requirements while planning to manage future technology needs proactively. While aligning your objectives will not happen overnight, thoughtful collaboration with key vendors and service providers helps ensure you have a holistic view of your organization, the climate in your industry and the future of technology. The professionals at Radius Executive IT Solutions will help ensure you have detailed strategies in place that will help you meet the most aggressive business goals. Contact our team at (978) 528-0110 to learn more or to schedule your complimentary initial consultation with our technology experts.