Budgets. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re a necessary part of running a successful business. That’s especially true when it comes to your IT budget. Investing in IT is an important priority, especially for small to midsize businesses.
Creating or updating your IT budget is more than just putting numbers in a spreadsheet. It may be tempting to take last year’s budget, tweak it a bit, and call it a day. Before you do, it is important to consider the latest business technology spending trends to make sure your company stays ahead of the curve and doesn’t fall behind.
57% of SMB executives plan to spend more on IT this year than in previous years. Spending in the areas of network security, hardware, and cloud computing are on the rise. But how much should you spend?
Budget too much and you run the risk of cutting into your profit margin and decreasing your revenue. Budget too little and you could cripple the potential growth of your business.
There is no one-size-fits-all IT budget plan. The IT needs of every business are unique and varied. But to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the main spending areas you should keep in mind as you work on your IT budget.
IT budget focus areas
Network security is more important than ever in the era of Facebook-hacks and phishing attacks. Keeping your business and data safe should be one of your top priorities. From antivirus software to firewalls, network security is one area of your IT budget where you won’t want to skimp. It is also important to make sure you have a backup plan should the worst happen. The ability to quickly recover quickly and bounce back from a data breach could be the difference in making or breaking your SMB.
Cloud computing is another popular trend in IT spending. More and more companies are turning to the cloud for the convenience and flexibility it provides in today’s competitive, 24-hour environment. Finding the right cloud computing solution for your business can boost employee productivity and collaboration, in addition to providing you with an edge over your competition.
Hardware and infrastructure
Hardware and infrastructure should be a mainstay in any IT budget. All of the other budget areas on this list require proper hardware to function or be efficiently utilized. It’s important to keep your hardware updated and replace it when necessary. Having the right level of support to keep your hardware functioning is also extremely important.
Productivity software suites like Office 365 are revolutionizing the modern workplace. From providing employees with better and more efficient tools to get their work done, productivity software also provides new and improved ways to collaborate on projects.
Employee training can be an often overlooked area of your IT budget. But ensuring that your employees are properly equipped to utilize the IT tools at their disposal is just as important as making sure they have the right tools to get their job done. Without the proper training, your investment in areas such as cloud computing or productivity software could be a wasted effort if your employees are not using them properly or to their full ability.