When IT managers are presented with an IT budget that is way too low, their first reaction might be to protest (sometimes loudly) or to beg or attempt to justify the need for additional funding. Although these ploys have been known to work on occasion, they can sometimes do more harm than good.
The organization allocates a carefully thought-out budget to each department, and the department heads are expected to make their budgets work. Those managers who express an inability to work within their assigned budgets might be viewed as non-resourceful, wasteful, or even whiny. As such, it is usually better to make the IT budget work if at all possible. Of course, this is easier said than done.
The first thing that I recommend doing when presented with a woefully inadequate IT budget is to review the previous years’ or quarters’ expenditures. One reason for doing so is to determine how much of a budget shortfall you are going to have to deal with. More importantly however, you should be on the lookout for wasteful or relatively unimportant spending that you might be able to eliminate.
Once you have gotten a firm handle on where the IT budget has been spent in the past, the next step is to look toward the future. In all of the organizations that I have worked in, the head of the IT department was responsible for building a roadmap of future projects. The problem is that these projects always come at a cost. That being the case, there might be some projects that you can defer to a later date as a way of saving money.
Three tips you can use to accommodate a tight IT budget:
- Look for projects that can be combined or done simultaneously to save costs.
- Work with your IT vendors to get a volume discount.
- Develop an idea that management can invest in because it will save money for the entire enterprise.
This is an excerpt of, What to Do When Your Budget is Too Small, first published on Enterprise Efficiency.com.
About the Author
Brien Posey is a former CIO and writer for EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM Tech community.