What are your IT plans for 2014? Do you know, yet? Have you completed the budgeting process? Do your 2014 plan and budget align with your long-term IT strategy?
If you haven’t finalized your IT plan and budget for 2014, you’re not alone. According to a December 2012 survey by Spiceworks, only 53% of small and medium-sized businesses surveyed begin IT planning and budgeting more than six months out, and 25% don’t engage in formal planning and budgeting, at all. 50% of firms, per the Spiceworks survey, let individual departments make IT purchases out of their own budgets when needs or problems arise, without going through the firm’s IT manager or department.
These statistics confirm what we hear from companies, every day. We find that many SMBs engage in reactive―aka crisis-based―budgeting, with little to no planning or strategic thinking. Or, they have a budget and plan, but it focuses on new technologies they want to adopt (virtualization is hot right now) but fails to consider maintenance expenses, such as upgrades, license renewals, replacement cycles and other issues.
During the year, these SMBs often must expand their IT budgets to accommodate unplanned expenses. For many of these firms, such approaches make management uncomfortable, but it’s easier than finding the time to draft a formal, truly comprehensive plan.
Unfortunately, failing to plan for inevitable replacements and upgrades―or not planning at all―puts companies in IT fire-fighting mode, responding to situations and emergencies as they arise. Not only does it prevent them from aligning their expenditures with strategic business objectives, but it results in cost overruns and downtime.
If your firm has already completed its formal IT strategy, plan and budget for 2014, I congratulate you. If not, take a deep breath. You don’t have to go it alone. Professional, on-demand CIO experts can help you view the big picture and develop a realistic plan and budget for both future improvements and current replacement cycles.
They can help you budget to upgrade or update equipment before it reaches the point of failure, which is much more productive and cost effective. They can help you plan to take advantage of tax incentives, make purchases during the times of year when IT vendors tend to discount their merchandise, and sign up for volume discounts and other benefits to which you may be entitled.
Many companies save enough money by having a formal, properly researched and implemented IT strategy, plan and budget to more than cover the cost of technical experts they bring in for consultation.
If you’d like to learn more, give me a call. But don’t wait too long―The start of 2014 is barely four months away.