As we begin the final few months of the year, many businesses are beginning to look toward the new year and preparing budgets. There are numerous factors that companies must consider when crafting a yearly budget. Typically, payroll and employee benefits comprise the largest portion of most business budgets. But let’s not forget the tools and technologies that make it possible for your employees to work effectively.
The pre-budget process is a good time to examine your IT expenses very closely and make proactive decisions about what should go into that portion of your budget. This is where an IT assessment can be invaluable.
IT Infrastructure Assessments
It’s common for businesses to budget the same amount for IT year after year. On average, IT makes up less than 4% of budgets in most industries.
The value your IT brings to your business in terms of efficiency may warrant more than 4%, however. Technology often moves at a rapid pace, and not allocating enough each year may mean that your IT is outdated. An IT infrastructure assessment examines the overall picture of your IT and helps you to see where your business should plan for repairs, replacements, or upgrades. Additionally, evaluating your IT environment in terms of your business initiatives can help you to determine if you have the correct infrastructure in place.
What an IT Assessment Can Do For You
An IT infrastructure assessment will examine your current situation with an eye toward improving efficiencies and planning for expenditures. The knowledge you gain from such an assessment can help your business prepare for strategic initiatives in the coming year. Your IT should be scalable and enable these initiatives.
Questions that such an assessment will ask include:
What is our baseline?
- What software are we currently using?
- How many computers do we have?
- What operating systems are the PCs using?
- What is the age of our equipment?
- Are there any operating systems that have reached end-of-life?
- Which workstations or other equipment need replacement?
What are our projections for the next year?
- Do we anticipate expansion in the next year?
- How will technology play a part or support this expansion?
- Will our technology enable our expansion to generate additional revenue?
- Will our current technology scale to fit our needs?
- Do we need to consider changing how we deliver IT services in terms of communication, connectivity, and capability?
Do we need to add capabilities?
- What upgrades do we need to make to our software?
- Would we benefit from a custom software solution?
- Will we need additional or new equipment?
- How can we make better use of communally-shared equipment?
- Will our customers’ needs require additional technology in the coming year?
What technologies need to operate more efficiently?
- Which equipment needs to be upgraded?
- Which equipment needs to be replaced?
- Will replacements and/or upgrades make us more efficient?
- How long will it take for these efficiencies to pay for themselves?
Using Your Assessment to Set Your Budget
The answers to the questions above will give you a more accurate picture of the state of your IT. Instead of allocating the same percentage of your budget year over year, you can use this knowledge to set a practical budget figure. Additionally, the answers that an IT infrastructure assessment provides help you to develop a plan for repairs, replacements, and upgrades over the course of a year.
Your IT affects every aspect of your business, so it makes sense to prepare an accurate budget for its use. Having the right IT infrastructure in place can help your employees to be more productive, reduce downtime, and save on repair and maintenance costs. It can also allow your business to grow and enable it to meet that growth confidently.
If you’re not sure where to begin or want a third-party evaluation of your IT environment, contact Lieberman Technologies. We can conduct an independent IT infrastructure assessment that will present a comprehensive picture of your IT infrastructure. From there, you can craft an IT budget that will best serve the needs of your business in the coming year.