Information Technology (IT) planning was rarely at the top of any organization’s to-do list before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last year and a half, the rise of remote working arrangements has made it impossible not to spend on IT.
As organizations grapple with the larger questions of remote work and its future as they keep growing, IT planning is again at the forefront. To manage IT services in 2022, you must decide whether the interim solutions implemented by your organization at the outset of the pandemic will remain viable.
Do you need to make any major changes? Are there redundancies that can be eliminated, or new solutions that should be brought on board? What about the cost of these arrangements: are they sustainable in the long term?
These questions might seem daunting, but with careful planning and execution, your organization can ensure its IT budget is being put to good use.
Here are 6 pointers to consider when budgeting or planning for your IT strategy in 2022.
Take Stock of Your Organization’s Needs
Before anything else, it’s important to understand that the exact specifications of your IT budget will vary based on several factors, such as:
- The size of your organization
- The industry you’re in
- Your geographic location
- How much your organizations relies on tech
- Whether you have an IT team in-house or outsource
Tailoring your IT budget to your organization’s specific needs is the most important factor in ensuring it’s headed towards success.
For example, larger organizations with more complex IT needs may require higher budgets to support their workforce of remote workers. On the other hand, smaller businesses might not need a large budget at all if they can partner with startups or freelancers for on-demand tech solutions.
Consulting with your professional network and IT vendors you’ve partnered with before is a great way to get ideas and information for your IT budget.
Let’s take a closer look at some decisions you’ll need to make when budgeting for your IT team in 2022.
Outsourcing or In-House?
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to outsource certain aspects of your IT operations or have an in-house team manage everything. This is an important decision to make because it impacts your tax planning, as well as your overall personnel strategy.
There are pros and cons to both choices: outsourcing can seem costly and daunting in the short term, but can save you money long term. Furthermore, it creates a partnership with a company that will constantly guide your technology needs in the right direction with 24/7 support & network monitoring.
In-house IT teams tend to have better communication with internal staff members, but they often lack the technology & expertise of a managed service provider, and require larger budgets to cover salaries and benefits for full-time employees.
In general, organizations that already have certain aspects of their operations done in-house will need an even greater percentage of their IT budget to pay in the event of a complex data breach or natural disaster.
Is it Time to Upgrade Your Hardware?
Another important consideration when planning your 2022 IT budget is whether you need any new hardware in the coming years. As technology continues to improve, there will inevitably be more sophisticated and powerful software solutions that could increase productivity across your organization.
Make sure that your hardware is powerful enough to support the software and services you need. Additionally, ensure that it can be upgraded further down the line to keep up with emerging solutions in your industry.
Data Security is More Important than Ever
With more employees working remotely from their homes or on the go using mobile devices, cybersecurity has become a top priority for most organizations.
You’ll want to ensure your new IT budget and solutions incorporate security features like encryption and data masking that can keep sensitive information out of hackers’ hands.
Set aside a specific percentage of your budget for cybersecurity to ensure you’re prepared in the event of an attack.
Promoting cybersecurity among your employees is also important. Make sure they’re properly trained in how to spot and avoid potential threats to shore up your organization’s defenses.
Invest in Collaboration Tools for Remote Workers
Remote workers have become an integral part of many organizations’ business models today. It’s important to ensure they’re as productive as possible with technologies like video conferencing, messaging platforms, and cloud storage.
Make sure your IT budget includes funds for these tools to help keep remote workers connected and in sync with the rest of the company.
Monitor Your Subscriptions
IT departments rely on subscriptions to access software and tools that make their jobs easier. However, many forget to track them or underestimate how much they’re spending on subscriptions each month, especially on essentials like expense management solution software.
Taking the time to monitor your IT subscription costs can help you budget for future purchases more accurately while allowing you to cancel any services that aren’t providing value.
There’s a lively debate to be had about the relative merits of monthly vs. yearly subscriptions. Yearly models might make sense for larger organizations but monthly subscriptions are more agile, making them the better choice for smaller businesses.
Generally, yearly subscription models make sense only if you’re getting a massive discount for paying upfront.
Make sure your IT budget includes funds for monitoring the subscriptions that matter most to your organization’s day-to-day operations. This will help ensure they’re providing value, as well as allow you to cancel any services that aren’t providing value.
Consider Migrating to the Cloud
The benefits of migrating your data to the cloud are many: reduced costs, increased flexibility, and easier scalability. If your business isn’t in the cloud yet, it’s time to consider making the switch.
You don’t need a server room or other physical infrastructure; all you need is an internet connection. Additionally, if one of your offices isn’t functioning or has been compromised in some way, you can keep working remotely with minimal downtime.
Another major benefit is the ability to work from anywhere with a stable internet connection. With remote workers becoming more pervasive throughout all industries, this flexibility will only become more vital.
Even though there may be some drawbacks to a public cloud solution, partnering with a dedicated Managed Service Provider (MSP) that uses a private or hybrid cloud solution makes these concerns negligible.
These are just some of the important decisions you’ll need to make when planning your IT budget for 2022. By taking stock of your organization’s needs and consulting with a Managed IT Services provider, you can ensure that it is spent in a way that will give you maximum return on your IT investments.