Managing A Tight IT Budget With 5 Smart Choices
Even in industries with overall increases in revenue, IT expenditures in 2016 are predicted to remain flat, going up by only one percent. As important as information technology and computer equipment is to a modern business, the IT department tends to sit low on the budgeting hierarchy. This means that IT managers need to hone in on the things that are important to the company and make the budget work for them.
Focus on Collaboration
Information management and collaboration projects are the largest item in the IT department budget. Companies are shifting to collaborative platforms, including cloud-based and virtual systems. Unless the company’s senior management is specifically ordering process automation systems - and placing some big money behind that decision - process software is a far second behind collaboration.
PC Mag lists Zoho Projects as the best collaboration software of 2016, coming in at $50 per month. Zoho serves as both collaboration software and a project management program. It offers project planning, document sharing and Gantt charts. With a simple video chat system like Skype, Zoho is a budget-friendly way to keep people working together.
Remember That Saving Saves
A smart company will have a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis as part of its business plan. Threats, specifically the threat of data loss, should be a concern. At its least destructive, data loss can be very inconvenient. At its worst, it can shut down your company.
Data backup needs to take a prime spot in your budget. Mozy helps you stretch your budget and still stay safe with automated, cloud-based backups. By having your data backed up offsite, your company can remain sustainable even in the worst cases of data loss. Even in situations of natural disaster, your company’s information is safe and accessible to senior management.
Don’t Skimp on Security
Another potentially costly IT problem is data breach. An analysis of global businesses found that the average cost of a data breach in 2015 was $154 per customer infiltrated. At that cost, a single hack would cost your company $154,000 if you have 1,000 customers.
There are several factors to take into consideration before deciding on security software, with price being at the bottom of the list. Strength of the encryption, type of data being protected and the potential human engineering in which a grifter cons staff out of security information are all key factors that you need to fit into your budgetary decision-making.
Look for SaaS
Considered a disruptive technology that is so new that it creates its own market, Software as a Service (SaaS) is a way to get cutting edge software at discounted prices. If your company needs software that is not proprietary to your company, share this software on the cloud.
Manufacturing software and financial software can be expensive and require updates, adding to the costs. SaaS platforms offer the same programs in the cloud, making them available to staff globally, and you get it at a fixed, and easily budgeted, monthly amount.
Since you do not have an infinite budget, you need to make smart decisions. This does not happen by chance. You are the IT officer, so use smart software to help you. Simple Decision Tree is a free Excel add-in that can keep you focused on the things that are important in your company.