Tips for IT Directors Planning a 2018 Budget

by Hillary Gamblin     Monday, December 18th, 2017.

The 2018 projected IT budget is bountiful. Spice Works anticipates that 44% companies of companies worldwide will increase IT budgets, 43% will remain steady, and only 11% will decrease IT budgets. If you’re the IT Director of a mid market or enterprise company, the probability of a budget increase is even more likely.

To capitalize on this opportunity, as you write your IT department budget for 2018, consider these two questions:

  • How do you keep your company investing in IT?
  • How do you spend your bountiful 2018 budget wisely?

Remind Your Company that You’re Worth the Investment

Speak Their Language

Companies are allocating more funds to their IT departments because they’re realizing the overall value of IT. So in order to keep this trend going, you need to present a budget that illustrates how IT directly contributes to your company’s objectives. In short, you need to speak the language of the company leadership.

This means that in addition to categorizing your overall 2018 budget into hardware, software, personnel, and outsourcing, Gartner’s IT Budget 2017 also recommends dividing your entire 2018 budget into three “strategic IT spending categories”:

  • Run the business
  • Grow the business
  • Transform the business

These three categories speak to the leadership that holds the company’s money purse. So if you frame your IT budget in these terms, you’ll better illustrate the value of your department. If you have a hard time figuring out what budget line item belongs where, here’s a handy infographic that Gartner included.

Gartner IT Budget 2017 Graph

Emphasize Business Growth & Transformation

On average, IT departments spend the majority of their resources (70% or more) keeping the business running smoothly. And this is the perceived primary responsibility of an IT department—keeping the lights on. Expand your company leadership’s vision for the IT department beyond keeping the lights on.

To increase the value of your department and receive more company funds, use your 2018 budget to stress the way your IT department is “growing” or “transforming” the company. Along with emphasizing what you already do in these areas, use your IT budget to propose new opportunities in these two categories. For example, propose a tech project that increases your SEO and organic traffic by cleaning up the company’s website code. Or propose to implement a cloud-based CRM that will improve customer experiences.  

Spending Your 2018 IT Budget Wisely

IT Optimization

If your IT department is too overwhelmed to take on the new responsibilities to “grow” and “transform” the business, find ways to free up your IT employees. For example, Jive’s recent TCO comparison highlights how switching your communication to the Cloud dramatically gives your employees more time. Your IT department can take on new and impressive responsibilities when they no longer have to monitor and update an on-premises PBX.

Invest in New Technology

The example of investing in cloud-based solutions for communications is particularly pertinent because the Cloud is #trending in the workplace. In the past, hardware and software have taken up largest slice of IT budgets, but this year, according to Spice Works, the Cloud is quickly closing in. Especially if you are a mid market or enterprise company, the Cloud is becoming a more prevalent force within IT departments.

Along with investments in the Cloud, a lot of companies are adopting a host of new technologies. Here are some more popular technologies you should consider to help your IT department in 2018:

  • IT automation
  • 3D printing
  • AI

Planning an IT Budget for 2018

Don’t make a few minor changes from 2017’s budget and submit it for 2018. If anything, this article proves that budgets offer a tremendous opportunity to increase the value of your IT department and expand your role within the company. Just remember to speak the language of CEOs and CFOs, emphasize the IT department’s role in business growth and transformation, and use some of your budget to invest in exciting new technology—like the Cloud.

If done right, your 2018 budget proposal will help your company see the potential of your IT department. They’ll become excited to invest even more money and effort into your projects.

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