3 Ways to control IT budget

IT-Toolkits_Strategy_5

A lot has been made of so-called “shadow IT” in the last few years, but what does it actually look like to the average company? A new study shows that there’s plenty of money to go around for tech … but IT has its work cut out for it if it wants to control the spending. 

To hear some people tell it, shadow IT is a drain on precious resources. Representatives of every department, not just IT, are procuring new IT products and services, leaving less control for the actual technology experts.

That misses the mark, according to recent research by CompTIA Information Technology. The trade association’s Building Digital Organizations report finds that the technology budgets for most organizations are staying steady or even growing. But there are changes in who is making the decisions on where those budgets go.

According to the report only 19% of companies report that IT still is in control of the entire technology budget.

Instead, that budget is being spread out across multiple departments, including:

  • Finance (at 59% of organizations)
  • Marketing (47%)
  • Sales (45%), and
  • HR (45%).

While IT still has the primary role at most organizations, 28% of companies reported that decisions were made on a level playing field by all departments and at 2% of companies, IT’s role had been diminished or it didn’t even get a say in spending.

Why it matters

With enough money to cover tech spending at most companies, it doesn’t matter who’s making all the decisions per se.

The problem is, only one department, IT, is in a place where it can accurately assess security in addition to a service’s usefulness. If IT’s voice isn’t being heard clearly in the decision-making process, legitimate security concerns could be glossed over – or just as dangerously, not be taken seriously.

In order to make sure that message is heard loud and clear, you’re going to need to provide a solid business case for every IT decision, according to the report.

CompTIA interviewed business unit professionals as part of the survey. These non-IT folks said that as spending changes, technology decisions need to adapt by:

  • bringing more departments in on decisions (49%)
  • making sure technology objectives focus on business needs (48%)
  • having ideas come from different areas of the organization (43%), and
  • having final decisions on technology made outside of the IT fuction (29%).

And when it came to information sources for technology, business pros were just as likely to use personal research (53%) as to consult with the internal IT department (51%).

There is hope

While that may seem like it’s trying to squeeze IT out of the process, there is some good news: 99% of IT pros surveyed said they were confident in their abilities to tie technology goals to the business’s needs. And a majority of business pros agreed that IT was good at supporting and advancing their needs.

But that’s not cause to rest on their laurels. Here are three things that can make sure your voice is heard on every technology decision:

  • Know the business goals. If you’re able to articulate what your company is looking to do and why your decisions would be the best way to do it, the argument’s already won. To do so, make sure you have a good idea of where your business is going and what it’s top priorities are.
    This is also a great way to make sure security gets a seat at the table.
  • Educate others. Even if people think they have the expertise to make decisions, they’d rather find out they’re wrong from you than the hard way. Make sure you know how to tactfully but forcefully explain why a course of action may not be the best for the organization.
  • Use metrics. Arguments are won and lost based on the numbers you have to back them up. Show decision-makers not only that you think your way is best, but also that you have the data to prove it.