Keeping up with the latest technology in business can be tough. There are always new software, apps, and hardware to consider. It’s important to plan and budget for IT expenses to succeed. However, it can be hard to make smart choices without knowing what affects your technology budget.
That’s why business owners and managers need to think about various factors, including business needs, hardware and software options, maintenance costs, security risks, and staff training costs. By considering all these important factors, you can make an informed decision and ensure that your technology budget will work best for your business in the long-term. Let’s dig a little deeper…
Hardware and Infrastructure
It’s important to recognize the significance of your hardware and infrastructure systems in your business’s daily operations. If you forego regular maintenance and planned upgrades, you could be doing your company a serious disservice. Be sure to budget for items like servers, firewalls, computers, and even peripherals like printers. All these items are part of your hardware and infrastructure assets.
Along with budgeting for hardware for existing users, don’t forget to account for potential new hires and their technology needs. It’s also important to consider the flipside: What would your costs be for working with limited, inadequate, or outdated equipment? Your productivity and security could suffer, incurring more expenses and lost profits over the long run. Your hardware and infrastructure budget needs to reflect all these factors, which should also be included in your IT roadmap.
Software and Subscriptions
Many businesses these days run on a combination of purchased or proprietary software and subscription and cloud-based software as a service (SaaS). While the day-to-day use of these applications may seem similar, there is one key budgeting difference that you need to keep in mind: when you purchase software for your business, that may be considered an owned asset and is could be accounted for as a capital expense. SaaS is something that you regularly pay to use but do not own, making subscriptions to SaaS an operating expense. You need to account for both capex and opex costs when budgeting for software and applications.
In addition, your on-premises software budget (the one that may go under your capital expenses) should include funds allocated for maintaining and upgrading that software to keep your team at peak productivity. These could be software packages like QuickBooks or Microsoft Office Suite. Allocations for your SaaS subscriptions should consider fluctuations in your workforce. Will you need to add licenses for new users? Are your collaboration apps up to handling an influx of new hires? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when budgeting for SaaS usage.
This should probably be at the very top of this guide, given the absolutely critical nature of airtight cybersecurity. With breaches and attacks at an all-time high and projected to increase even more, it’s crucial to consider and budget for all aspects of your business’s security protocols. A recent study by global technology leader Accenture noted that 43% of cyberattacks target SMBs. The risks that lie with not having robust security measures in place far outweigh the costs of implementing the best possible security.
It’s also important to include training in your IT security budget so that your employees can be more informed about the dangers of security breaches and why best practices should always be utilized. This should be considered a vital part of your overall cybersecurity budget. Eliminating or minimizing user error can create a more secure network and systems throughout your business.
Training and Development
That leads directly into the next part of your technology budget, which should include training and development to improve not just cybersecurity but IT proficiency across all areas of your business. All employees can benefit from additional software training, which in turn will boost their productivity and your bottom line.
Not only that, consider choosing some employees to be your in-house tech champions. These are team members who are well-versed in your technology assets and can assist others during daily operations or when minor “tech crises” pop up. Training or cross-training tech champions within your organization gives your workforce more confidence and agency to help themselves without the need for costly IT callouts. Being willing to spend more money for training now will save you more money in the long run.
Support and Maintenance
Without proper support and maintenance, all your technology assets have the potential to become costly liabilities. It’s important to allocate funds for equipment maintenance, including warranty renewals on your hardware. Without those warranties, a breakdown could end up costing you not only money but also productivity. Be sure always to have a plan to go along with your budget. You should keep an accurate inventory of all your hardware and software and plan for regular, thorough internal audits and repairs to keep everything up and running.
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of handling all these maintenance tasks, an MSP can help with fully managed or co-managed services. An MSP can partner with you, whether you have an in-house IT team or not, to proactively maintain, monitor, and improve your IT systems. You can choose to budget for managed services alongside your support and maintenance costs and help take the burden off yourself and your employees. That frees up you and your staff to do what really matters—grow your business.
You Don’t Have to Budget Alone
An MSP is more than just support and maintenance! An MSP can work with you to create the tech budget that fits your needs and connect you with vCIO (virtual Chief Information Officer) and TAM (Technology Alignment Manager) services that can assist in planning your long-term IT roadmap, including your budget. Want to learn more? Get in touch today; seasoned IT professionals are here to answer all your questions about budgeting and beyond.