Planning and budgeting for technology can be tricky. Everyone is feeling pressure to reduce costs, and while there are cost savings to be realized in your plan, you want to avoid the unintended consequences of these 3 common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Betting that consumer-grade technology will save money
It's tempting to try to reduce costs by buying consumer-grade laptops for example. They’re both laptops; don't they do the same thing?
The truth is that's like saying a light pickup truck and a dump truck are both load haulers. The commercial-grade product is more reliable and will better serve the business's needs. By comparison, the light-duty pickup will also do some work, but in short order it will fail and require repair or replacement.
Business class laptops from a manufacturer like HP or Dell will run faster for a longer period. They can be secured and administered in ways the consumer models can't, and over the long haul, the business will be able to extract a dump truck's worth of value from its investment.
Mistake #2: Assuming that your outsourced IT provider is protecting you from cyberattacks
For years, most outsourced IT service providers have under-invested in the technology, people, as well as the process needed to properly safeguard their clients from cyberattacks. As a result, cybersecurity is a spending category in your IT budget that should increase.
Threat actors understand that outsourced IT providers are vulnerable. As a result, they actively target them because compromising the provider will yield access to all their clients.
Cyber risk as a spending category should not be underestimated. The cost of a breach could be catastrophic to the business.
Mistake #3: Hoping this year your outsourced IT provider will finally meet your expectations
Most outsourced IT providers claim to provide IT strategy & planning as part of what they do. The fact that you've read this far (thank you by the way) likely signals that your current provider might be underperforming in this area.
Avoid a "zombie budget" by addressing these 13 essential items.
There's little point in developing an IT budget that becomes completely irrelevant after the first IT "surprise" or (unaccounted for) critical project. Never build another zombie budget. Base yours on the 13 Essential IT Budget Line Items to guarantee that it will provide insight and usefulness.
As with any business function, investment + competence = results. Most IT service providers optimize their business to deliver a low cost. They have no choice but to underinvest in their own operations, and as a result, they have a challenging time performing consistently for their clients.
Particularly now, lower-cost IT service providers are getting sucked into a vicious downward spiral.
A key staff member leaves for higher pay and benefits. Having traditionally won business by being low-cost, the provider struggles to afford a qualified replacement for that precious talent.
In the meantime, the provider's remaining employees must work longer and harder to cover the gap left by the departure. Overwhelmed, they struggle to meet clients' expectations, and morale suffers.
Clients begin seeking alternatives that will provide greater stability and eventually leave. This crushes any remaining employee morale.
The cycle repeats itself.
If your current provider is underperforming, it's highly likely they're stuck in this spiral. If you want better results, you will need to increase spending in this budget category and evaluate other providers. Alternatively, if you can accept the current state, you might consider re-negotiating your current provider's fees to reduce your costs. Keep in mind, you'll be getting less for less.
Bonus - You can't control costs that you don't know you have.
Most firms have a tough time wrapping their arms around "all" of their technology. If you're manually entering inventory data into a spreadsheet, it's a good bet you're missing things. To get a full picture of your IT inventory and lifecycle, you might consider engaging a provider that has a well-defined process to:
Use automation and defined procedures to fully audit your IT environment
Perform a gap analysis against that audit
Recommend IT investment & lifecycle management priorities that should be incorporated into your budget and plan.
Learn how Endsight delivers IT planning and strategy
Endsight performs this three-step process as part of every new client onboarding, and our new clients are often surprised by how much unknown waste and undiagnosed risk is identified.