IT is becoming so prevalent in our businesses that it is thankfully earning its place in many budgets with its dedicated resources. If you’re not budgeting for your IT, here’s your wake-up call; you’re definitely spending money on it, so you might as well include it in your business plan. For those who do budget, many still struggle with spending money ad hoc as they react to issues and failures as they come up. IT can be a monster that’s tough to tame. Today I would like to share a few tips that will help you budget for the long run and stabilize your IT spending. None of these are quick fixes, but they will pay off over time and allow you to scale, so that as you grow your business, your IT helps that growth by enhancing productivity instead of becoming a cost inhibitor to that growth.
- Inventory your IT
Just like any other assets, you should always have a documented inventory of all your IT. That does not only mean hardware, but also any software, licensing, warranties, support services, etc. Make sure you document age, versions and model numbers. And if you can add a network diagram, that would be best. This will give you a starting point of where you are at and what can be anticipated. There are programs to help you do this fairly easily – contact your IT provider.
- Create an upgrade schedule
Lifespans for PCs are about 3 years and servers are 5 years. Plan and budget accordingly. Even if you decide to stretch it a bit further, there should be a set replacement schedule that you budget for and stick with. Waiting for something to fail puts unnecessary stress on your business and may force you to make costly decisions.
As you get your IT budget in line, also consider standardizing your IT. This will make support and replacement A LOT easier and will also make it a better experience for your employees. Finally, it will make your IT run smoother if you have less manufacturers, soft- and firmware versions, and potentially less devices overall.
- Consider a managed service agreement
A managed service provider is someone who can help you manage your entire network, monitor devices and take care of support issues from Level 1 all the way up to complex issues. The right partner will create a customized offering and apply proven processes and procedures to make sure your IT runs according to industry standards and best practices. If you have a dedicated IT team, this will help those employees get to the next level of productivity and focus on the things they need to prioritize, whether that is direct end user support or major projects.
- Budget for the unexpected
Even with all of the above, unexpected projects or issues will come up, so budget for a contingency. This can be especially important while you are transitioning to the above-mentioned items. A good IT partner can help you determine what your contingency plan needs to include.
If you haven't done it yet, it's time to take the first step and inventory all of your IT related assets. Nex-Tech actually assists in building an inventory assessment at no cost. Yes, for FREE! Call us today to get started.