Creating a spending plan is necessary to ensure that your company will always have enough money for the things you need, but business leaders often dread the budgeting process. It’s tough enough trying to forecast spending for predictable expenses, but having to consider unpredictable expenses at the same time makes budgeting even more challenging. And this is definitely the case with setting a budget for workplace technologies.
It’s hard to predict IT trends, but classifying these into six categories can help you pinpoint where you must allocate funds. So when budgeting for IT, be sure to leave room for these elements.
Investing in automation software in particular is perhaps one of the best opportunities to stay ahead of the curve. This technology simplifies routine processes and workflows so you and your employees can stop juggling menial tasks and focus on activities that bring more value to your business.
Tracking inventory, assigning work orders, and managing customer inquiries are just a few areas of business made easier by sophisticated automation software. With these powerful tools and applications, you and your team can complete tasks easier and quicker, allowing you to optimize your business and increase your bottom line.
Are your computers over five years old? Do you still rely on traditional phone systems? Does your network still run on cable internet? If you answer yes to any of these, then your hardware may be making it impossible for your business to take advantage of the latest technological innovations, like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Wi-Fi. What’s worse, your outdated hardware may also be putting your business at risk of security breaches.
Conduct a hardware assessment every year to determine what’s running well and what needs upgrading or replacement. When evaluating your company’s inventory and needs, make sure that potential new hardware and upgrades integrate well with your existing infrastructure.
Business leaders tend to focus on software and hardware expenses when creating their IT budget. After all, these investments eat up most of their allocated funds and come with greater risks. But many forget to take into account the smaller expenses, which often add up quickly. IT and computer consumables like printer cartridges, batteries, and flash drives have seemingly insignificant price tags, but these items can easily add up to thousands of dollars by the end of the year.
As nearly half of all cyberattacks are committed against small businesses, it’s well worth allocating a reasonable sum to your network and data security needs. And don’t forget about physical security — a fair share of breaches are caused by insider attacks, which means you must secure your assets on all fronts. Some security investments to keep in mind are:
- Enterprise-level firewalls
- Anti-malware programs
- Management software with advanced access controls and monitoring
- Cloud technologies with advanced encryption
- On-site security cameras
- Company-issued devices (for greater control over highly sensitive business data or processes)
5. User training
While implementing new technologies may be necessary for a company’s productivity and growth, it can be hard for employees. So if you plan to roll out new software and hardware, you should consider the cost of properly training your employees on how to use these technologies to the fullest. Doing so will give them a chance to get used to new processes and work out any doubts and issues they may encounter while using the new tech.
But don’t just plan to teach your employees how to use technology; plan to educate them on how to use it securely. A great practice would be to invest in security awareness training so your employees learn to identify and prevent activities that could potentially lead to security incidents due to human error.
6. Maintenance and support
Maintaining your software and hardware is important to regularly resolve issues and improve performance. So don’t forget to include in your IT budget the costs of conducting updates, patches, routine upkeep, and more. It’s also a good idea to leave some room in the budget for extra support, especially if problems go beyond the capabilities of your IT staff or if you don’t have a dedicated IT team.
We at WDIT can provide your business with advanced yet affordable IT solutions that can alleviate the stress of technology management, procurement, and support so you can focus on creating more value for your clients. Call us today.