As the year comes to a close, you’re scrambling to create budgets and really get a handle on your technology in 2016. But if you haven’t invested in your technology in the past, how can you know what type of budget needs to be allocated this next year? As you start to identify your goals for 2016, you’ll need to align your technology properly and budget accordingly to meet those goals. Here are some of our tips that might help you with IT budget planning for 2016:
- Start with an allocation for workstation replacement.
It’s ideal to have your workstations on a schedule and replace them all at the same time in a single capital expenditure. When you purchase more workstations, you’re more likely to get cost savings on bundling the purchase when it comes to both the equipment and labor setup. If you haven’t been as systematic when it comes to replacing your existing workstations, you’ll need to do an inventory at the end of the year. Check out all your hardware and the warranty status of all workstations. Any workstation or piece of hardware that is expired or near expiration should be budgeted for replacement.
- Check on the status of your server warranty and licensing.
Microsoft is regularly phasing out software, so it’s important to be aware of where you stand. If you’re using an operating system on your server that has reached end of life (like Microsoft Server 2003), or is going to be phased out soon – you should consider licensing options in 2016. You’ll always want to make sure that you check the equipment itself. If the warranty is close to expiration or if the hardware is 3-4 years old, you’ll want to budget for server replacement as well or consider your options for moving to cloud hosting. Realistically physical servers should be replaced every 5 years.
- Check the licensing and hardware status of your firewall and network equipment.
Like your server and workstations, your firewall and network equipment should always be covered under warranty. As your equipment ages, it becomes more susceptible to threats. It’s worthwhile to note that some aging firewalls and routers aren’t monitoring encrypted traffic and hackers are getting smarter and starting to encrypt their threats. Check out this blog on the security of your router or firewall for more information.
- Consider the long term.
You’ll want to take some time to discuss and lay out your goals for the company’s future. If you’re considering adding a new location, adding a significant number of employees or changing to a different line of business application – all of these plans should take your current technology into account. You need to detail a plan of action and budget for how new systems will be acquired, allocate budget towards those new workstations and consider restructuring your network setup to more easily scale.
While this is a basic list of a few things you’ll want to do when it comes to IT budget planning for next year, it’s by no means a comprehensive list. Your budget planning will depend largely on how your business is structured and what your plans are for the future. Make sure that you take the time to sit down with a professional that help you scale appropriately so that you don’t invest in the wrong areas. Making purchases or plans without consulting a professional could result in wasted budget or replacement of equipment that was purchased without future growth in mind.