If there’s one thing you can count on regarding technology, it is that it’s always changing. Sometimes those changes occur over several years, but many of them happen much quicker than that. Because of the fast-paced nature of the industry, IT leaders can find it difficult to plan and budget for resources.
Developing long-term strategies and timelines for device replacement might seem like a moot point. The constant evolution of device capabilities, software functionalities, and staff’s tech needs make it tempting to act on the fly. Yet optimizing your IT resources and financial planning can help boost efficiency, reduce waste, and keep profitability goals on track. Below are three smart ways to get the most out of your company’s technology budget.
1. Streamline and Keep an Eye on Your Data Systems
The foundation of information technology is data and the systems that move it from one point to another. Packets travel over a Wi-Fi network to send and receive data between connected devices. A program pulls customer information from a server’s database, and employees’ network folders store proprietary files. They all represent different types of information that make up your organization’s systems.
However, tiny errors, malicious code, and duplicate data have the power to bring those systems to a halt. At the very least, information flows that aren’t optimized will lead to inefficiencies that can become bigger problems later on. It’s unrealistic to expect your team of engineers and system admins to catch, tidy up, and streamline everything. That’s why investing in automated tools, such as data observability solutions, can help your department eliminate issues.
Automated tools scan the health of your systems and identify existing discrepancies that could be an outage waiting to happen. Your team will receive ongoing recommendations and alerts, allowing them to take a more proactive stance. They’ll be able to focus on fixing big-picture problems instead of the painstaking task of hunting for coding mistakes. And you’ll see which parts of the system are under stress and be able to plan for replacements or upgrades.
2. Switch to Subscription Services
Acquiring software assets is a major ongoing expense for businesses, and it’s usually up to the IT department to manage. This includes documenting the number of licenses the organization has, installing updates, and tracking which machines have what software installed. There is also the recurrent question of compatibility.
As software ages, it’s often necessary to transition employees to new versions or suitable replacements. Some applications get discontinued or become incompatible with newer operating systems. Budgeting for these allowances is nearly impossible without seeing into the future and receiving users’ input. But it can also be challenging for employees across the company to communicate their needs to IT.
Switching to subscription-based services is an intelligent way for technology departments to manage software needs. Under subscription models, there aren’t any media to store, and licensing doesn’t necessarily tie to a device. Some developers allow user license management through an admin portal and tie licenses to work email addresses. IT admins can instantly revoke and reassign licenses when employees leave the company.
Updates become automated, and the organization gains the flexibility of making smaller monthly payments. You’ll eliminate larger, upfront costs, and the software won’t sit unused in a storage cabinet. If the company no longer requires an application or app suite, you can discontinue the subscription. Software as a service is a market expected to grow to $716.52 billion by 2028. You can also implement security as a service to help simplify your budget.
3. Prioritize Employees
Investments in hiring and training practices and internal tools and processes are key to raising productivity and reducing waste in the IT department. That waste can come in the form of time employees spend looking for potential solutions, which may lead to disengagement and turnover. The best-laid plans for hardware and software lifecycles won’t come to fruition without an engaged and skilled tech team.
Screening IT candidates for technical aptitude is crucial. But it’s their soft and critical-thinking skills that are more important. The latest certifications and rich experience histories could boost someone’s on-the-job efficiency. However, IT employees might fail if they can’t work well with others, notice the details, or think of creative solutions.
Surveys of industry managers show that 76% of them rate soft skills as important in solid tech performers. By comparison, 44.9% of managers state that technical skills are critical. Besides hiring IT candidates with strong soft skills, investing in their training and employee experience can minimize inefficiencies.
Ensure tech employees have the tools and support they need, such as training on products or systems they’ll troubleshoot. Put hardware or software tools, escalation procedures, and knowledge base resources in place. When IT employees think they don’t have a way to solve users’ problems, they’re more likely to dismiss them. This tendency could cost the department and the company in the long run.
Technology sometimes advances faster than IT departments can learn about and deploy it. Consequently, tech leaders face the challenge of efficiently and correctly allocating resources according to company needs. The desire to enact long-term plans often conflicts with immediate demands and developments.
However, acting in impulsive and reactive ways can create inefficiencies in information, processes, asset management, and employee experiences. Investing in automated data-monitoring tools, subscription-based services, and human assets help technology leaders cleverly manage immediate and future costs. Making these shifts in how you approach your department’s budget will ensure your acquired resources do not go to waste.