As we all know, the past year has been a wild ride. And if there’s one thing that is certain, it’s that the future is uncertain. One area where this uncertainty is especially apparent is in IT expenses. IT expenses are so difficult to budget for because it is often difficult to know what technologies will be needed (and what may be available) months or years in advance. Last year proved to be especially true, as everyone scrapped their budgets and spent whatever they needed to in order to keep their companies operating during the pandemic.
We’d recommend prepping your budget for the following.
Prepare to be Agile
Technology changes rapidly, which means that your IT budget needs to be flexible in order to keep up. Reacting to new opportunities (or threats) quickly is crucial in today’s business environment, so you need to make sure that your budget can accommodate last-minute changes.
A recent study showed the five most common effects of the pandemic were as follows:
- Loss of revenue
- Budget cuts
- Temporary closures
- Reduced salaries
- Temporary pivot
Things are looking up, though. A major financial institution’s survey found small business owners are ready to bounce back and are optimistic things will return to pre-pandemic levels soon.
Remote Work is the New Normal
The pandemic has forced many companies to allow their employees to work remotely, and it doesn’t seem like things are going back to the way they were anytime soon. In fact, remote work is becoming the new normal.
This means that your IT budget needs to account for the cost of setting up and maintaining remote work infrastructure. This includes everything from laptops and smartphones to VPNs and cloud-based collaboration tools.
You also need to factor in the cost of training your employees on using these new tools effectively. Luckily, there are plenty of free resources available online that can help with this.
Data Security is more important than ever
With so many people working remotely, data security is more important than ever. You need to make sure that your budget includes the cost of data security products and services, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus software.
You also need to consider the cost of training your employees on how to keep their data safe. This is especially important if you have employees who are new to working remotely.
Leverage that Tech
Many small business owners aren’t aware that there’s tech out there that solves nearly every issue. We’re not just talking about digital tool issues, either.
For example, there’s tech that can help you save on paper and ink costs, as well as travel costs. And the best part is that many of these solutions are free or very low-cost.
Do your research and take advantage of the tech available to small businesses. It can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
The Future is Cloudy
The cloud has been around for a while, but it has become even more popular in recent years. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend, as more and more companies are moving their data and applications to the cloud.
This means that your IT budget needs to account for the cost of cloud services, such as storage, computing, and networking. You also need to factor in the cost of training your employees on using these new tools effectively.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when budgeting for IT expenses in the uncertain future.
Need help with your IT budget? Not even sure where to start? We can help. Simply enter your name and email address below and we’ll reach out to get the conversation started!