IT in the Organisations Budgeting Mix...

It was not so long ag that the IT budget was controlled by a CFO who considered it a discretionary spend for the organisation…One that could be raided in bad times and tolerated in good.

With the development of web 2.0, Greater democratisation through user friendly technologies and more usable GUI ‘front end’ tools, even the CFO has had to cede ownership for the technical direction and how IT sits within the functional mix.

Add to this the professionalisation and growth in stature of the IT Director and the CIO. We now have a function which stands in its own right as a (i) Facilitator / Broker of Revenue Growth and (ii) a Cost Control Enabler for virtually all organisations.

As the next budget round approaches, never has IT had so much leverage in maintaining and growing its budget when pitched against other departmental units vying for a slice of next years ‘budgetary cake’.

Trends towards Automation, Customer Intimacy, Employee Enablement, Work-Life Balance, Supplier Management and Ciber Security to name a few are all intrinsically dependent on the allocation of IT budget and the priorities set for spending that budget in the most sustainable and cost-effective manner.

All this choice would leave an ordinary mortal cold with indecision. However, the best approach being adopted by ‘Pace-Setters’ recognises that technology is a ‘multi-year’ journey. As such focus on themes rather than specifics drives a better conversation. Within each of the themes, it helps to have a story or evolving narrative which can be articulated as an annual roadmap – visual preferably, encompassing a 1-3 year time horizon. If used to shape discussions with decision making stakeholders, the organisation as a whole has the opportunity to evaluate priorities and make informed allocation decisions.

So as you approach next years budget round:

(i) Make time to sketch out the key themes for the next couple of years. In so doing you will naturally begin to articulate immediate and near term focus areas. Focus thinking on where best to invest over a 3 year period.
(ii) Meet with key decision-makers to evaluate your portfolio of options and emerge with a rationalised and achievable candidate list.
(iii) From the candidate list, identify and evaluate options and likely costs (include acquisition, licencing and operational costs in the mix)

(iv) Enter the decision making process armed with a clear view of your direction of travel, best technology options and likely costs of ownership
(v) Don’t forget your multi-year ‘in-flight’ investments. Re-evaluate these to ensure they are still valid and have a place on the Roadmap.

Adopting a structured and measured approach like this will give you a sustainable framework which will evolve with the organisation and technology need.  

Ashley Pereira

© 2016 Alite Consulting Limited