26 Sep 2016

6 Tips for Preparing Your 2017 IT Budget

While some small businesses do not spend a great deal of time on budgets, they can be quite useful. Whilst we are currently in September, it’s good to plan in advance for the new year as it’s going to come around quickly; so here are eight tips that can help you prepare an effective IT budget for 2017:

Take the Time

It takes time and thought to create one that will help your company grow, so make sure you take the right amount of time to compile it. An effective IT budget also requires input from your management team as your IT system is being used in many different areas of your business.

Align Your IT Budget with Your Company’s Strategic Goals

IT systems can help or hinder a company’s efforts to meet its strategic goals. Budgeting IT improvements in areas that support your company’s strategic goals will help turn IT into a profit centre rather than a cost centre.

Budget for Hardware and Software Updates and Replacements

Many companies have outdated hardware and software because they do not keep track of when these resources should be updated or replaced. As a result, employees often use them until they fail. These failures can lead to many other problems, including lost productivity, security risks, and even system downtime.

A better approach is to use an asset management system to track when hardware and software need updates or are approaching the end of their life – or get someone to do this for you. That way, you can budget for upgrades and replacements. This will help you avoid the additional costs and hassles of dealing with failed hardware/software and any other associated costs.

Invest in Measures That Will Improve Security

Cybercrime is on the rise, as studies by Symantec and ThreatMetrix show. However, many companies do not adequately invest in IT security.

A Symantec Intelligence Report for August found that the number of new malware variants reached 45.5 million in July —the highest level seen since the same time last year. This is likely due to an uptick in click-fraud activity seen during August surrounding the Trojan.Kotver family of threats.

Given the prevalence of cybercrime, spending more on security measures is a wise investment.

Do Some Calculations before Treating Cloud Costs as Operational Expenses

A Computer Economics study found that 56 percent of organisations plan to increase spending on cloud applications. In budgets, companies often list cloud costs as operational expenses so that they can increase or decrease them as needed. This gives companies more flexibility to meet financial goals. However, if you plan to use a cloud application for many years, it might be cheaper in the long run to treat the cloud costs as a fixed repayment expense.

Do Not Postpone or Cancel IT Training to Reduce Costs

Training is a discretionary expense in budgets, so companies often schedule IT training later in the year. That way, if they need to reduce costs, they can simply delay or cancel the training and remove that cost from the budget. However, delaying or canceling IT training can lead to more problems down the road, especially if it is security-related training for employees.