Budgeting season for 2019 is here. Are you ready? It’s time to pitch the powers that be on top priorities that absolutely must go into the IT budget plan, like cybersecurity and updated software. But how can you make sure your mission critical projects get funded?
Here are four ways you can put the IT department at the forefront of your organization’s budget planning, so you have the resources to properly safeguard sensitive data, keep the lights on, and deliver game-changing technology advancements.
1. Align IT priorities with business priorities
IT leaders must spearhead innovation, but they also need to ensure their budgets align with business priorities. Otherwise, IT risks being perceived as stuck in its own bubble and out of step with the organization’s direction. Accordingly, it’s wise to speak with people from other areas of the business and make sure they feel their needs are reflected in the IT budget proposal.
While you’ll want to advocate for your own IT budget plan, you’ll also need non-IT allies who will go to bat for you and explain in business terms how the projects you’re proposing enable their success. When that happens, executives will see IT as a trusted business partner and not a renegade technology evangelist pitching shiny new gadgets that don’t serve the organization’s goals.
2. Fortify your proposal with benchmarks
Sitting across the desk from a spreadsheet warrior whose only response to your IT budget proposal is “I’m afraid that’s not possible” can feel isolating (unless you’ve rallied some allies to your cause). As CIO recommends, another tried-and-true way to prove you’re not just making a fanciful wish list is to fortify your proposal with benchmarks.
Similar to how you feel comfortable speaking techno-jargon, with terms like QoS and IoT, finance professionals feel most comfortable when evaluating arguments in numerical terms. In other words, you need to meet them on their playing field. Provide them with statistics and survey findings that demonstrate the value of your project. Putting your requests in context by showing your organization’s IT spending in comparison with others of similar size and type will also help your case.
3. Lay out a bold vision
IT is in the midst of an identity crisis, straddling two roles. Some office professionals might still regard their tech colleagues as glorified maintenance drones. It’s hard to dispel these preconceptions when you’re busy fighting fires, mopping up malware instead of directing innovative technology changes.
How can you balance these dual realities? First, make sure your IT budget plan lays out a bold vision while including expenses that keep the lights on, positioning IT as a leader rather than an order-taker. You can also start by pursuing projects that build your capacity to take on even more ambitious projects. You still need to include a line item for that updated software the sales team has been pestering you to buy but don’t forget to advance your own vision, as well.
4. Maximize the benefits of strategic partnerships
Every IT leader grapples with a lack of time—there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. There’s also the persistent perception of IT as a cost center and the inevitable skepticism that follows during budgeting season. Strategic partnerships can come in handy in both these cases, augmenting your IT team’s capabilities while maximizing budget resources.
You may decide to automate certain functions or engage a partner who specializes in tasks outside your team’s core competencies. With a timely strategic assist, you can focus on achieving your top priorities. And—cherry on top—as you demonstrate that you’re aggressively pursuing IT efficiencies, the folks in charge of the purse strings will be more likely to favorably consider your future budget proposals.
For example, HP’s managed print services offer proactive maintenance that can keep your printer fleet running smoothly, freeing up time the IT team would have spent maintaining those printers to focus on higher level priorities. Meanwhile, insight into usage patterns and total printing costs could help you conserve budget. MPS solutions can also improve accountability, security, and compliance, ensuring your print investment aligns with your business goals.
If you’d like to see how much HP MPS could help your organization save, take this free HP Managed Print Analysis, co-developed by InfoTrends. Within minutes, you’ll be able to pinpoint inefficiencies in your office printing and identify opportunities to boost productivity and cut printing costs.
Budgeting may not be the average IT leader’s idea of fun, but it is a unique opportunity to demonstrate IT’s value to the organization. Successfully making the case now may require extra legwork, but it’s well worth taking the trouble, so you can move your tech priorities forward in 2019.