9 Information Technology Needs to Budget for
You might say a company’s people are its heart and the technology its brain. Technology can help make your communications faster; delivery of services more efficient; employees more knowledgeable and so on.
As a small business owner, one of the hats you probably wear is chief information officer (CIO). When budgeting for your company’s tech needs, it’s imperative to make sure they align with the organization’s goals.
And while technology is not a revenue center, a technology budget does have to demonstrate some ROI.
The first step in developing your tech budget is taking an inventory of the technology you have. This will help you determine what you need with respect to upgrades of older technology, filling unmet needs and planning for organizational growth. To make the process easier and more cohesive, examine your technology needs in the following areas:
Software – Licenses for the use of word processing, email, HR, customer relationship management, secure payment systems, graphic design programs, etc.
Hardware – This covers computers, printers, servers and routers. Don’t forget the small accessories like toner cartridges and cables.
Telecommunications – Phones, mobile devices, internet connectivity and data plans.
Training – This is for new employees and continuing education for current staff. It includes courses, materials, webinars, conferences and consultants.
Personnel – Salaries and benefits for current staff and expected hires, plus any consultant fees.
Security – In a dangerous world of hackers, you’ll need a firewall, anti-virus protection and encrypted systems.
Disaster recovery – This includes back-up for internal systems and any offsite data storage.
Projects – While it’s not always feasible, there are certain “one-off” projects that you should try and plan for.
Cloud - Infrastructure costs such as networking, storage and virtualization software.
The key with tech budgeting is to stay ahead of the curve so that your staff has the proper tools and knowledge to service customers in the most effective way.