Tech improves business communications, increases productivity, and streamlines workflows for better efficiency. However, all of these benefits cost money — often, a lot of money.
Because technology investments are rarely cheap, it’s critical that you don’t make unnecessary or unwise purchases. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a sound IT budget.
1. Business needs alignment
Before deciding on an IT purchase, make sure you clearly understand your needs. What exactly do you want your technology to do for your business? Which features are necessary to achieve your goals, and which are nice to have but you can forgo? With a good grasp of your organizational needs, you can avoid needless IT spending or investing in tech that doesn’t positively impact your business.
2. Cost of ownership
The cost of ownership includes not only the initial purchase price but also the ongoing costs of maintenance, support, and upgrades. And unless you have someone on staff who is already familiar with the technology you choose, you'll also need to budget for training. So when budgeting for tech-related expenses, be sure to consider these additional costs to have an accurate estimate of how much you’ll actually spend.
3. Reliability and vendor support
Remember that reliable solutions often cost more than their substandard counterparts. As such, choosing a trusted market leader (e.g. Windows for operating systems or McAfee for antivirus software) is one good option to get the best value for your money. However, don’t forget to do your research and read reviews before making a final decision.
Downtime can also cost your business, so examine vendors' service level agreements that outline their terms of service. This can give you a good idea of what to expect regarding support, such as the vendor’s average response times and customer service availability if an issue occurs.
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for modern businesses, so make sure you choose solutions or systems with built-in security features that can be easily updated as new threats emerge. This allows you to save money in the long run in several ways. For one, this will enable you to protect your data and avoid costly data breaches. Getting technology that thwarts attacks is also much cheaper than buying tech that would require you to implement a bevy of cybersecurity solutions afterward.
As much as you want to invest in affordable IT solutions, you also want to make sure the ones you choose are easy to use. The last thing you want is your employees spending hours trying to master the new tech.
It helps to ask your employees for their input to make sure that the IT you choose meets their needs. This can also prevent the use of shadow IT, where employees find their own workaround solutions because they can't figure out how to use the company-provided system.
6. Present and future compatibility
Tech investments can break the bank, so you’ll want to lessen any costs on top of your initial purchase. One way to do so is by making sure the tech you choose can work well with your current IT infrastructure. This is important for data sharing and collaboration, as you don't want to end up with a bunch of siloed systems that can't communicate with each other.
Also, choose technology that’s flexible and scalable. You never know when your business might need to make changes, so it's important to have tech that can be easily adapted. This could mean things like being able to add new users or features or integrating with other systems, allowing your technology to grow with your business and not having to replace it after just a year or two.
Budgeting for IT can seem like a daunting task, but if you keep these things in mind, you can find solutions that will meet both your needs and your budget.
Whether you’re thinking about your next major IT purchase or simply want to cut IT costs, Cutting Edge Network Technologies can help you maximize your technology budget and make the most of your investment. Drop us a line today.
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