How to help your business spend wisely on IT
IT plays a key role in future-oriented planning for today's companies, but IT budgeting must be approached with an eye to wooing business culture.The fast-paced world of technology continues to rush forward, but businesses don't always take full advantage of the benefits offered by IT in savings and corporate planning. With new design and delivery tools growing by leaps and bounds in the past few years, company executives and business managers can benefit immensely - in terms of strategy, dollars, and sense! - from integrating IT experts into the conversations leading up to crucial business decisions.
The role of IT in cost-cuttingIT is often considered an expense by managers and directors, without consideration of the vital role that IT plays in recouping expense budgets through efficiency and improved services. The role of IT departments in creating savings and cutting back on corporate costs has matured, offering new possibilities and potential partnerships between IT and financial departments in major companies.
Although it may be tempting to cut IT budgets as a means of reducing spending, technology and business experts agree that it's a bad idea. While the strategy may offer short-term relief, it prohibits future technological growth and can prevent businesses from delivering the level of service and customer satisfaction necessary to keep up with competitors whose IT budgets are more results-oriented.
The best way to save money with technology isn't cutting budgets: it's working to advance the quality of your IT services so they provide real, measurable value to customers and produce a lucrative return for your business.
Technology and business cultureBusiness culture is a powerful force to grapple with, often deep-seated and difficult to change. One of the biggest challenges in using technology to create cost savings is to help evolve business culture so that executives and decision makers will understand and appreciate the value of IT solutions.
The first step in any major change is to pinpoint the problem and identify what is dispensable and what is essential. Collaboration with senior executives is key; otherwise, any new initiatives facing opposition from above may get squashed before they get off the ground.
Investing in solutionsTo demonstrate the value of investing in IT solutions, you'll need to appeal to the investors and directors who manage your company, and financial arguments are the most powerful tool in your arsenal. Money speaks, so it's wise to demonstrate the value of your suggestions in terms of numbers that can be validated and proven.
One particular common business assumption can seriously interfere with change and technological innovation, and it's surprisingly ubiquitous. Executives and investors often assume that every project and initiative will deliver 100% of the value suggested in its early proposal stages. This is an unrealistic expectation, in IT and elsewhere, since even a well-performing stock portfolio will see ups and downs as some stocks achieve more than expected while others fall short.
Smart business leadership views IT development as an investment, and expects a reasonable rate of return while accepting that some initiatives will fail while others succeed - it's all part of the game. It's important to focus on value over the course of the project, from its ideation to conclusion, to keep solutions from getting lost in the search for cost-cutting strategies.
Business culture can be a serious impediment to change and growth, but by seeking out innovation and carefully monitoring solutions and progress, IT managers can help their companies save money, boost their market power, and see real results.
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