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Making An IT Budget Checklist? Check It Twice!

We are at year end and the holiday season is nipping at our noses. For many of us, it’s budget time. Are you making your infrastructure wish list? If so, do you think you’ll get what you asked for?

Many times, our customers share with us fantastic ideas about how to enhance the services they provide to their internal and external customers, only to be shut down for one reason (budget) or another (budget). It appears that, for many organizations, the needs of IT are treated as the red-headed stepchild of the organization (no offense to our red-headed friends). How do we change that?

Perhaps we can help:

#1: Know your audience.

Who will champion your plan? Tailor your wish list to the person who will ultimately approve it and provide you with the support and budget needed to make your wish list a reality.

Board members, CEO, CFO:

Present high level—refrain from using techy, geeky language and getting into the weeds with the technology. You can still be excited about your proposal, but remember:

The instant you use a 3-letter acronym to a non-technical leader, you’ve lost them entirely.

Instead, provide information on how the technology will benefit customers, the company, and ultimately revenue.

For example:

“With this new system in place, online shoppers won’t lose their shopping carts when they navigate away from our website. Items are saved in their carts the next time they return, meaning they can conduct their online transactions faster, which results in more completed transactions in a day, adding up to an estimated $xxx,xxx in sales per month.”

CTO, CIO:

Equip them with the information to share your vision and be your messenger as they will understand the technology. Again, refrain from going too technical.

Do most of the work for them so that all they need to do is paste your slides into their presentation.

If you’re the decision maker:

Skip to step #4.

#2: Think metrics.

Make sure to present numerical data in your proposal. Your focus should be on the impact to the business. What would the human resources and revenue results look like after implementing new IT infrastructure and/or applications?

Would there be 2 hours/day of improved productivity per employee? Sales transaction times reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes?

Know your facts. Data is king!

#3: Select your words wisely.

The thesaurus is your new best friend. Replace “buy,” “cost,” and “spend” with “contribute,” “value,” and “investment.”

Let’s work together to change the paradigm of IT being a cost center. We all know if it wasn’t for you, your IT team, and the infrastructure you have in place, there would be no business.

Bounce your script and/or presentation off of a non-technical counterpart. Any words that may seem negative to them will most likely sound negative to your audience.

#4: Be incremental.

Although we say change is good, we all know that it’s a challenge met with hesitation, anxiety, and risk. A phased approach to your plan will most likely be easier for upper and executive management to swallow instead of an all-at-once, complete overhaul.

This isn’t a pie eating contest.

Prepare a step-by-step plan to achieving your ultimate goal. Communicate in blocks of time, investments, and positive impacts to the business.

Typically, the IT department is invisible until someone can’t get into their email. Let’s change that.

If you do these steps already, bravo! I hope that your plans are in play. If not, I hope that this has been informative. If you’d like us to assist you with developing your plan, please let us know. We’ll be happy to help you fulfill your wish list.

Topics: Data Center Tips