Shape the Future of Your Business with IT Planning and Budgeting
- Post by Janet Gehring
- November 21, 2023
Your IT planning and budgeting process has importance beyond the numbers and spreadsheets. The technology you use and how you implement it will help shape the future of your business, including your day-to-day operations, how you engage with customers, and how you outpace your competition.
You may not need the “latest and greatest”, but you also don’t want to fall so far behind that you eventually require a major, unexpected tech investment. In our experience, delaying IT refreshes does not pay off in the long run. Here are the benefits, challenges, and tips for how to approach IT planning and budgeting.
Reviewing your technology and budgets regularly will help you improve:
The right technology and automation can streamline your processes, reduce manual tasks and eliminate obstacles. Over time, this translates to increased cost savings, optimized resource utilization and faster response times.
Effectively using digital tools enables a deeper understanding of customer preferences, behaviors and pain points, paving the way for personalized and seamless experiences. This, in turn, results in stronger customer loyalty and increased sales.
Embracing new technologies creates opportunities for experimenting with new ideas, products and solutions which foster innovation and agility. This enables you to respond to customer demands swiftly, seize market trends and capitalize on emerging opportunities.
A carefully considered, effective IT strategy positions you for success, ensuring long-term sustainability and growth.
Leveraging technology yields valuable data, insights and tools to understand customer behaviors, market trends and operational performance. This data-driven approach leads to better decisions.
Technology fortifies risk management by enhancing data security, business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities. This equips you with better protection against cyberthreats, downtime and data loss.
If regular IT planning and budgeting is new for your organization, you may run into a few roadblocks. Here are some challenges we’ve seen and ways to overcome them:
This is more common than you might think. Integrating new technologies with existing legacy systems can be complex and costly, or sometimes simply not possible.
We’ve seen too many instances where a potential client is forced to completely overhaul their legacy IT. Often, it’s due to outside influences such as compliance goals, insurance requirements, or software end-of-life deadlines. (Microsoft is the most disruptive when it comes to end-of-life cycles, but this happens with other software applications, too.)
When shifting from or attempting to integrate with legacy systems, a phased approach is best to manage costs and minimize disruption to operations.
No surprise here. The degree of concern will be directly correlated with the level of changes needed to achieve your goals. If you regularly refresh your technology, you’ll minimize surprises on the financial front.
During a significant technology upgrade or change, there could be risks with backup and cybersecurity tools. It’s crucial to prioritize cybersecurity throughout the tech refresh. The more often you refresh, the fewer cybersecurity risks you’ll encounter.
Change can be hard, especially when it affects your day-to-day routine. Staff may be hesitant to embrace new technologies or processes. You can help overcome resistance through effective communication and training.
Your IT advisors know your environment and can make technology recommendations, create budget options, and handle the implementation. They will help you:
Consider your overarching business goals for the next few years. Maybe you’re expecting significant growth, an ongoing need for secure remote work options, shifting to a hybrid model of on-premise and cloud services, or a need to meet new compliance requirements. Those plans will impact how you plan and budget for IT.
Thoroughly evaluate your existing processes, technology infrastructure and data capabilities to identify pain points, inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Think about what’s working and what isn’t, what new technologies could increase efficiency and save money, and which “shiny new objects” you should avoid.
Identify the gaps in your current technology and how that affects progress toward your goals. From there, rank your technology initiatives based on their potential impact on your organization’s success and alignment with long-term objectives.
Establish specific and measurable objectives, outcomes and metrics that align with your strategic goals.
Delve into a detailed analysis of anticipated return on investment (ROI), including when your IT upgrades will begin delivering their intended value.
Match the technology to your identified needs as precisely as possible. Be careful not to overbuy. Make every dollar you spend today work for you in the coming years.
Identify potential technical, operational and regulatory risks associated with the changes and develop mitigation plans for each. Ensure robust cybersecurity controls are in place to protect data and systems throughout the refresh process. Integrate security into every phase.
Ensure that the rollout of your refresh stays on course and within budget.
Continuously review the budget, making adjustments as necessary based on your progress and shifting priorities.
Regularly monitor progress and refine your strategy to ensure continuous improvement. Each refresh is part of an evolving journey that requires adaptation to changing circumstances and technologies.
Work with a firm that has proven experience in all phases of IT planning, budgeting and implementation and a solid understanding of your business and your priorities. You’ll benefit from their teamwork and depth of expertise to help you use technology effectively to shape the future of your business.
If you’d like to know more about how CRU Solutions can help with IT planning and budgeting, contact us.