The paramount demand of the IT industry is to match the pace with technological advancement. With the advent of new trends and innovations like automation, big data, and artificial intelligence, the profile of your IT infrastructure will inevitably widen, and its importance will exponentially increase. If you don’t have a strategy for improving and growing your IT infrastructure to adapt to the rapidly evolving technological landscape or your organization’s growing needs, things can go haywire very quickly, because your IT plan from the previous year is almost guaranteed to be ineffective in the upcoming year.

The foundation of your IT infrastructure is your budget. Let’s go through a complete guide of IT budget planning for 2020, so that you can match the pace of the burgeoning technological needs by making the right investments, and minimizing your exposure to unexpected costs

Go through your last year’s IT budget

In order to make changes that are effective and beneficial to your business’ bottom line, you’ll need to go through last year’s IT budget. For example, if you have spent a large portion of your past IT budget on new software and cable systems, then you should make a plan to review their current status to determine if they need upgrading, or how they can be best maintained to keep your costs low. In addition to the direct expenses, you will also need to consider the recurring expenses and allocate them appropriately. For example, some of the most common recurring expenses in business are managed IT service fees, cloud hosting fees, and URL registration.

You should also look at all the technological solutions that will become outdated in the next year. For example, if you are using Windows 7, then you should know that Microsoft will stop providing updates and security patches for it, so to keep your business infrastructure secure and supported, you will need to upgrade.

Analyze your specific needs and demands

After analyzing what you’ve been using in your IT infrastructure, and which part needs an upgrade, you need to choose the IT components that you’re going to invest in. You should consider all the hardware and software systems that will be critical for your IT operations, things like wireless, desktop, operating system and much more. Also consider things like your IT management and personnel: who will manage the new IT components, and who will be working it? How can you ensure a smooth transition to the upgraded IT component?

Consult different business departments

You may have a siloed IT department, and if so, then you likely know that the projects and the workflow of other departments will always have a significant effect on your IT infrastructure, and vice versa. For that reason, it’s essential to consult other departments about their needs before you finalize your budget allocations. This necessary step helps you to fine-tune your IT budget, and you’ll be able to keep everyone in the loop of what you are planning for your IT infrastructure.

Prepare a clear-cut price model

Industry pro tip: whenever possible, lean towards a clear-cut price model for your IT budget. Most of the time, cost overruns on services like cloud hosting are a result of not understanding or not adhering or simply not paying attention to the complex pricing model. If you don’t have a clear-cut price model to present in front of the upper management, then you might fail to convince anyone, even with a well planned IT budget.

Keep tabs on the performance

From HR to Finance, every department needs to thoroughly analyze its budget in order to completely record your expense patterns. Your IT department should also focus on analyzing the budget when it comes to ROI. For example, if you have invested in cloud hosting, then by keeping track of the expenses, you can know whether moving to the cloud has proven to be cost-effective or not. A successful investment will always help your bottom line. Building a proper model for ROI will help you to know whether you are on track or not.

With a clear-cut, well analyzed and practical IT budget, you will be able to enhance and upgrade your IT infrastructure in a precise way. Analyze the current IT solutions and what’s trending in the market before finalizing your IT budget.