Developing an IT budget is one of the most challenging aspects of being a decision-maker. If your budget is too low, your service suffers, making it difficult for your team to be productive. Too high and it gets rejected by executives. These tactics will help make the process smoother and keep everyone on your team happy.
What is the Company’s Expected Growth?
This factor will require input from other managers. Each new employee hired is more overhead for IT, administration, and infrastructure. You’ll need to incorporate growth including the possibility that more staff must be hired.
Account for Large Infrastructure Projects
Project managers gain insight into what’s needed by business stakeholders. Then they plan projects to account for changes. These changes could be software, infrastructure or both. You’ll need to identify if any of these changes affect your proposed budget. For instance, marketing might have plans to build new websites around analytics and user data. IT must plan and deploy solutions, so this greatly affects your budget and the resources required to maintain it.
Emphasize That Your Team is Valuable
IT often goes unappreciated. Because employees usually don’t what IT does behind the scenes, it’s hard for them to appreciate the effort that goes into the work. Organizations may also see IT teams as a revenue drain, so it’s even harder to convince executives to see value in each team member.
To win the budget battle, you’ll need to detail goals, solutions, and what IT did for the company in the previous year. Helping executives understand the value the IT team brings to the business helps strengthen the argument for a better budget to support your unique team.
Compare Spending to Competitor IT Budgets
No one wants to hear that their competitor does it better. Take your business’s main competitor and compare their infrastructure to your own. You can often estimate a competitor’s budget and use it as leverage to convince your executives to provide a better budget for your team. Use the comparison to highlight possibilities of what can be improved to increase revenue. Even a website speed boost can increase revenue, and that can be added to the IT budget.
Draft Your Budget and Be Detailed
The person reviewing your plan is likely not technical, so you need to explain why you need your desired budget. A draft that highlights benefits and a roadmap of future IT projects and the importance of each project will help demonstrate the importance of your budget. If you just say you need more equipment, it might not be obvious to the reviewer why more infrastructure is required. Putting requirements and a roadmap in layman’s terms will help drive your point home. It could be that network resources are overburdened. In this case, you can tell executives that a slow network cuts into employee productivity which ultimately cuts into revenue.
Describe Key Stakeholders that the Budget Effects
Any change in IT, including budget, affects stakeholders. Stakeholders are anyone that manages a department up to C-level executives, including the CEO. They must agree to the changes, but with the help of your project managers, this process should be fairly smooth.
Leveraging the needs of stakeholders helps you develop a plan that includes IT upgrades that positively affect these stakeholders. Some organizations have more to spend than others, but IT’s budget can span multiple departments and the benefits should be highlighted.
Having your budget approved isn’t easy, but once it is, your team and the people you support will be happier. The happiness of users helps improve productivity and gives you additional leverage when planning for the future.