Review Your past IT budgets and compare what you planed verses what you spent. This will help you get a good idea of what to expect, and where you can plan better for the years to come. If you are in the first year of business and do not have any data to review, you’re not out of luck but you might need some help with this step. Not to plug QeH2 but you can talk to us about this and we can help you know what to expect.
2: Know the Company Plan.
Know what growth plan the company has projected over the next 1 to 5 years. Are they looking at adding 5, or 10 new employees a month or are they planning on keeping head count the same. Are they planning on moving to more of a remote work from home model or move jobs overseas? All of this can have effect on your planning. Estimate how much each person on your staff will cost to give them the needed computer and set up of applications. This also might include having multiple positions costing models. Production workers normally do not cost as much as an executive position will.
3: You are here--->
Know where you are and where you want to be. If you have 25 computers that are all 7 years old and they are running windows 2000 and you want to be running Windows 7 with office 2010 then find out what it will take to get there and make that a part of your plan. Make an inventory of each computer and the software licensing you have and make a plan for when it needs to be upgraded. Look at your servers and ask yourself the question. Will this server work for my company in 12 months? Most computers have a life span is 3 to 5 years. Servers are any ware from 4 to 7 years depending on who you talk to. Most important is can you get parts? If you cannot get parts or it is no longer covered under a warrantee then maybe you should consider the risks and what you are running on that server.
4: Did that Expire?
Know your expiration dates. This is simple make an excel document that has some basic information on it. Track What, When, Cost, and what is affected. This is more than just your simple antivirus and support contracts. This is a warning list of any and all items that will need to be renewed over the next 1 to 5 years. Then I like to set up outlook appointments to remind me when I need to get a quote or fill out the purchase request for that item. This is a simple way to make you look like the hero.
5: RFP’s are your friend.
Scope out any new projects over the next 12 months, and list out all the details of your projects. This will help you understand what cost they might have on your budget. It will also help you understand how long those projects will take. Remember you are not only budgeting your money but also your IT resources, and time. You only have so many hours in a day. Will you need to bring in any assistance to meet your goals? Is this something that someone else can do for less or complete faster than your recourses can? Building all of your RFP’s will help even if you are going to keep this as an internal project.