As your business evolves, managing your IT budget becomes more complicated and involved. To many, it’s a painful administration process that leads to a lot of hair-pulling, especially in today’s tricky business environment. We’re here to save your hair and help you control that IT budget!
At Smile IT we look at your IT budget as a manifestation of your overall strategy and direction. Similar to an IT roadmap, it provides a holistic view of IT and its place within your business. You can use it to prioritise initiatives and validate investments.
Managing your IT budget in 2021 should be about keeping your IT infrastructure current and able to handle the evolving face of office structures. You need to balance technological progress with being safe and secure online, all the while accommodating the rise in remote work. And of course, expenditure blow outs need to be avoided.
Four Steps to Managing Your IT Budget
So how does a business go about controlling and managing its IT budget? Here are some pointers.
1. Embrace the Cloud
The benefits for businesses adopting the cloud extend far beyond just budgeting. Cloud computing gives you access to systems, software and data at any time, from any device, no matter your location. In terms of your finances and budget, these are some of the benefits of cloud-based systems:
– Most cloud applications and systems run on a subscription basis. This brings a predictability to your ongoing expenses.
– Only pay for the service you use. Being able to pay per-month, per-user means you don’t have to find a huge initial outlay of cash to start utilizing cutting-edge services. It also means you’re not paying for resources you don’t use, and it’s easy to scale up or down as your company evolves.
– No need to hire in-house engineers, as customer service and support is offered remotely and (normally) as part of your subscription.
A solid cybersecurity strategy that implements a fortress-like defence for your business and its data should be a cornerstone of your IT budget. Prevention is better than cure, with ongoing cybersecurity costs being much cheaper than the exponential expenses associated with a cyber breach or hack.
In the US the government spends $15-billion a year on cybersecurity, while Microsoft part ways with over $1-billion annually keeping their online defences strong. It’s clear the importance governments and large corporations place on this in their budgets, so it’s definitely something you should be taking seriously. Cyber-attacks costs Australian businesses more than $29-billion per year, a statistic you’d clearly like to avoid being a part of.
Bear in mind that post-pandemic, remote work is here to stay. The security risks associated with it are higher than in-office work, due to the mobile nature of staff and equipment. Ensure your budget allows for adequate cyber security measures to take on this extra risk.
3. Managed IT Services
Managed Service Providers (or MSP’s) are external IT service providers who provide complete IT support to businesses for a fixed monthly fee. They basically become an off-site IT department, who you can ring anytime to solve IT issues.
In terms of managing your IT budget in 2021, a managed service provider helps in the following ways:
– A set monthly fee for a pre-determined level of service means you know exactly how much money your company is going to spend each month on IT.
– Proactive support and monitoring means IT problems are often solved before they develop or are even noticed by your business. This drastically reduces downtime and all the associated costs with it.
– Business continuity: In the event of an IT or network disaster, your MSP will know exactly how to retrieve the necessary data and processes and get you working again.
– There’s no need for an expensive on-site IT department.
– No need to juggle multiple vendors or licenses, which can result in paying for things you don’t use anymore or don’t require. Your MSP will take care of all your vendor management.
For many companies’ innovation is a budgetary expense they never think of. We want to ask though, what’s the cost of non-innovation? Innovative companies become leaders in their field. They don’t have to play catch-up with their competitors and enjoy the financial rewards of being the first to come out with a new product or service.
It sounds like a good reason to include innovation in your budget for 2021. The opportunity costs if you don’t, can be huge. If you don’t have the time or staff capacity to pursue innovation, you can outsource it to a local innovation specialist like JetLabs in Brisbane. Don’t let your good ideas go to waste!
If you want to talk to experts about managing your IT budget through 2021 and beyond, give Smile IT a call. We’re a Brisbane managed service provider that can help you reduce costs without ever compromising on quality of service and products. Get in touch today.