Friday, May 28, 2010

The IT Budget Balancing Act of Doom

Wednesday I was interviewed by the very talented Sue Poremba. We spoke about how to find the perfect budget for your IT department. I am afraid that I spent a great deal of time waffling and avoiding direct answers. I must have sounded like a politician.

I wasn't trying to be evasive. She was doing her job and asking me direct questions. Unfortunately, I just couldn't give direct answers. I really wish there was a simple formula. I wish there was an easy way to magically know how much money your business should be spending to achieve tech nirvana. It just doesn't work like that.

Every business is different. They all have different needs. Only some of those needs can be addressed with technology. That's what I mean when I say you must fit the tool to the job.

The key is to find the fulcrum -- that magic number that keeps your systems behaving and enables growth. Anything over that is excess. But finding out that magic number requires a few steps.

Step One is the Needs Analysis. This might sound expensive but it's really just a conversation and some research. First I need to speak with you to understand how you use your technology. Then we talk about how to make things better. What would be great to add? What would make your workers worship the ground you walk on if we improved?

Then I do the research. That's where I learn about the tools your business uses and how you use them. I walk around your company asking questions and looking at computers. This is where I get to see everything in action.

From there I generate a report that reviews my findings and then outlines a plan for how you can get to where you want to go.

Sometimes these Needs Analysis take months, produce reports with 1,000s of pages and cost about as much as a small jet. More often, though, they don't come anywhere near that price. Sometimes it doesn't take longer than an afternoon to finish. It just depends on what your needs are.

Once I have that in hand, I can give you that magic budget number. Until I understand where you are and where you want to be, I have no idea how much it will cost. Anyone that says otherwise is lying to you.

Louis Rosas-Guyon's FREE 5-week e-Course for Eliminating Tech CostsR-Squared Computing - Business Technology Experts
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