For any business today, no matter its size or sector, getting the IT budget right has become a critical part of success and sustainability. The difference between a three-device network and a fifty-device network has significant ramifications for your IT spend and your overall budget outlook.
Let’s take a closer look at several potential costs and how to plan for them…
Network: The driving force. Essentially, the network is the backbone/core of your IT infrastructure. It needs to be reliable, fast and efficient. Often, a young and growing business will have a piecemeal network in place, bolting on new sections over time. This can lead to the network becoming inefficient and slow. The important thing to note is that when you have reached capacity on your current network, is it’s sometimes better to start from scratch and also leave room for expansion down the line (rather than adding to the existing network as a quick fix). While it may appear more costly (and scary), the result is a reliable network that you won’t have to worry about revamping for many years.
Licensing: Pricey but critical. Software licensing often comes as an unexpected (and unpleasant) cost to many business owners and their financial teams. Indeed, purchasing legal software can be pricey if you aren’t prepared for it (and don’t understand how it all works!). However, if you buy software licenses in bulk, or commit to a longer-term, they can cost far less…so again, budgeting intelligently for your business growth can save you money in the long term. Also, remember that many software licenses nowadays can be rented on a per user per month basis so it’s flexible and always up-to-date.
Maintenance: Be realistic. As the business grows and expands, so too will your IT maintenance needs. The key factor to note is to carefully consider the potential costs of IT failures and hardware issues. You need to take into account that you will undoubtedly have to spend money on maintaining your computers and overall network – and breakdowns can be extremely costly in downtime and lost productivity. Some businesses find that it makes good financial sense to employ someone to be an IT technician in addition to taking on other responsibilities – but this person may not have the right expertise and experience to manage everything. The other increasingly popular option is to outsource your IT management. With flexible pricing options now available to businesses, this is becoming a viable and often much more flexible route to take.