What to Do with a Slashed IT Budget
It's official. The rumors were true. Budget cuts are now inevitable and your supervisor wants you to make the cuts for the IT department. Fifteen percent of your precious IT budget has to be cut and it's your responsibility to make the hard decisions.
Don't panic, just yet. We explore several critical factors you should consider in the event of budget cuts and how you can cut costs, without sacrificing your efficiency or sanity.
1. Truly Assess What is Needed
First, you must honestly assess the budget circumstances for your department and team. A true assessment of unnecessary expenses and expenditures might save someone's job. So, be brutally honest.
Start small. Cutting even the most minor expenses can make a world of difference. You might be surprised how much money can be saved by something as simple as going with less expensive vendors for supplies and equipment.
With a little luck, cutting small expenses might be all you need to satisfy the higher-ups. But it's likely that you'll have to cut a little deeper to meet your budgetary goals.
2. Create a BYOD Environment
One significant expense that most organizations face is providing all of their employees with equipment. Between computers, smartphones, and tablets, purchasing devices for every team member can create a hefty line item very quickly. One way to reduce costs is to encourage employees to use their personal devices. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy is a smart, environmentally-friendly way to help out your budget in a big way.
In order to protect your organization's networks and data, it's important for your team to create an Acceptable Use policy that helps end users know the dos and don'ts of BYOD in the office. There are even a few sample policies out there that can help you get started.
Bonus: A BYOD strategy might give you the opportunity to sell off some assets. When you're in the midst of budget cuts, who doesn't love saying to the bosses, "Oh, and I made us a little cash too." As team members choose to participate in BYOD, it frees up assets that can be wiped and sold. There's a decent market out there for gently used computers, phones, mobile phones, etc.
3. Don't Cut Training
Your most valuable asset is your staff. So, eliminating their training is essentially shooting yourself in the foot. Being up to date on practices, software, and procedures is vital to your entire team and, more importantly, the organization's success.
Training may sound like a spendy item, but you don't have to break the bank. In the past, you may have sent your team to expensive bootcamps where you not only have to pay for training but also travel, lodging, food, etc.
However, a much more affordable option is online training. Employees can train at their convenience while really absorbing the information. Online training is more cost effective and is available on demand, helping your team address challenges as they arise.
An investment in online training can yield big savings due to increased efficiency, improved allocation of resources, decreased security vulnerability, and even increase staff retention. So, don't eliminate your training budget, just be smarter with how your spend these precious dollars.
4. Hit the Phones
Hit the phones hard. Any contracts you might have can be renegotiated to save some money. Whether you're working with big vendors or just the local guy who delivers your printer toner, your contracts might be a source of some potential savings.
Keep in mind that these negotiations may require some delayed gratification, forcing you to ride out an existing contract before a more affordable one can take effect.
5. Outsource, With Caution
One quick solution that might come to mind when needing to cut costs is outsourcing operations. But be smart. No one wants to cut jobs, but when you're asked to manage a huge budget cut, outsourcing is an option that may have to be considered.
It is imperative that the options you're looking at are reputable. Make sure that they have a current client list and a strong track record. The last thing you want is for your information, money, and reputation to be risked due to a hasty decision to save a few extra bucks.
If you do your homework and find an organization that's a great fit, outsourcing can save you some money. But most IT managers would consider outsourcing their teams at the last resort, so be sure to consider all other options first.
Having your budget slashed might seem like the end of the world, but once you evaluate your needs, you will have more solid direction in planning, and this will make all the difference in restructuring your budget. Hopefully, when your company starts gaining more capital, you can return to the bigger, spendier moves that you were making in the past, and gain more knowledge for having survived the budget-cutting process!
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