IT Budget Stagnation: Get More For Less

By Sally Fisher|22 December 2016

Budgets stagnate and constrict when the future is uncertain. Right now, in both the public and private sectors, the world is facing more uncertainty than normal, which in turn is placing a downward pressure on budgets.

Consequently, IT budgets are facing more pressure than normal. In these circumstances, organisations understandably want to get more for less. Even when austerity measures are lighter and spending more relaxed, having faced uncertainty, belts get tighter. It is a natural knee-jerk reaction to perceived economic headwinds.

Squeezing More Out Of Your IT Budget

Getting more for less is something many organisations have become skilled at over the last few years. Although we can’t advise on other budgetary areas, we do know how you can squeeze more value from IT resources. Here are a few ways you can get more for less, without restricting growth in your organisation:

#1: Take a closer look at ROI

On average, UK spending on IT is expected to decrease 5% in 2017. Many IT leaders will be doing more or the same with less money. However, it isn’t all bad news. In some areas, such as cloud-hosted software, platforms and services, spending is set to increase. Hardware spending is likely to stay the same or decrease, which means for those wanting to hold onto as much of their budget at possible, you need to focus on the business case for IT expenditure.

Work on ensuring you have the data that demonstrates the returns from IT projects in 2016. Mirror this information with the aims of the organisation, rather than the needs of the IT department. Business leaders and departmental managers can always push the case for spending on areas that generate more revenue, increase efficiencies, or both. Do all you can to make that job easier.

Outsourcing some non-core IT functions can also deliver cost savings, allowing you to spend budget on IT projects aligned with business objectives and goals for 2017.

For more on using IT for growth and business success, download our whitepaper here.

#2: Focus on staff training

During uncertainty we can safely assume that staff levels are not going to increase. This is another area where, apart from annual turnover, you should expect to do the same or more work without extra help. Training is one way to ensure your team are better equipped to handle new challenges, software, hardware and projects without recruiting new staff.

Again, propose spending wisely, whilst demonstrating the business case and expected returns.

#3: Don’t jump on passing trends

Ask yourself; do we really need a 3D printer? Does your organisation need Artificial Intelligence (AI)? What about a VR headset or a VR experience for staff or customers? Trends are a great way to see what is emerging from the IT/digital sector, but not every new piece of kit needs a budget. Be extra careful with discretionary spending in 2017.

#4: Stay secure

IT security is one area that we expect spending to increase, alongside hosting and backup: All part of the security game. During times of uncertainty, cyber-crime goes up, so now is not the time to relax your security infrastructure. It would benefit many organisations to increase spending and protect vital systems.

#5: Bring the “Shadow IT” network into the system

Much fuss was made about “shadow IT” practices in the recent US election. Former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, using a private server at home is the most high-profile example of something many professionals do every day: use their own technology and networks for work activities.

Is this illegal? No. But should IT leaders worry about “shadow” systems. Yes, from a security standpoint. The best way to ensure your organisation is not vulnerable is through ensuring staff who use their own devices are secure. Bring these into the system, either through remote system updates, virtual private networks (VPNs) or other security measures. Don’t risk exposure or cyber-attacks through personal devices and Wi-Fi networks.

Bringing the “shadow IT” network into the system will also reduce the strain on workplace networks and hardware, which will save money.

Despite economic uncertainty, many IT professionals are still positive about 2017 and expect it to be a year of innovation and growth for many organisations, especially when they see what can be done within tighter budgetary constraints. To find out more about the benefits of outsourcing see our fact sheet here.

If you would like to explore how your organisation can save money and get better value from your IT budget please get in touch. Call 0845 643 6060 or email sally.fisher@ukngroup.com

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