4 Strategies IT Leaders Can Use To Support IT Upgrades On A Budget

By Chris Hope, Senior Director of IT and Security, One Source

Many IT leaders and teams are facing budget constraints for the remainder of this year and into 2021. With the impact of the pandemic, and the transition to a remote workforce for many organizations, agility is more important than ever. Having the capabilities to upgrade your IT infrastructure generates greater productivity, efficiency, and competitive advantage during this time of crisis. IT leaders are being expected to deliver larger results with flat or shrinking budgets, and 2021 will demand more innovation in building technology solutions to meet business goals.

Every IT leader is being asked to do more with less. Below are 4 approaches for allocating IT budget for growth and flexibility:

  1. Avoid vendor lock in. Make sure no matter what technology you’re shopping for, you have the flexibility to shop the market. All vendors and partners will go through change. If one of your vendors pivots and is no longer in line with your business objectives, you need to have the flexibility to make a change and find an alternate. However, you don’t want to select a vendor that is too narrowly specific because you won’t be able to find any alternates if that need arises. Look for vendors that can provide solutions with standardized cross-compatibility in technologies such as UCaaS, SDWAN, Cloud, and SaaS to avoid vendor lock in.
  2. Look at options that integrate security. Cybersecurity is expensive. Look for platforms, systems, and architectures that have planned for security to be baked into solutions – such as SD-WAN and cloud connectivity – from the very beginning. If you’re building out an infrastructure platform for your business that requires you to layer in securities, your costs will skyrocket. Choosing a solution that already incorporates security as a part of the initial cost is efficient and productive and enables scalability of these solutions for your organization.
  3. Customization around business needs. Look for flexibility appropriate to your business needs. Investigate how your specific business changes and what the needs of your industry are compared to others. IT needs vary from industry to industry. For example, the IT needs of a manufacturing company don’t look anything like the IT needs of the retail industry. Manufacturing does not require the same level of flexibility and seasonal variation as retail. The design built for one company is not going to be the design that’s built for the next. Therefore, it’s important to know what key things your business needs to be successful.
  4. Ask for the right things from your vendors. Ask about different purchasing options from your vendors. This is especially important in the cloud space where it’s assumed vendors only bill month to month based on what you use. That’s great for companies that have great fluctuations in their usage and aren’t able to forecast beyond a month. However, this isn’t the most efficient plan for companies that have the same consumption every month of the year. It’s important to ask, “What are my options for going into a contract term?”. Every cloud provider has options for multi-year contract terms and the prices are dramatically lower. Organizations, not vendors, needs to dictate the solution that’s best for business goals and the bottom line.

These four key approaches are designed to enable organizations and their IT teams to make decisions that will uncover cost savings, keep their organization growing, and finding solutions that allow for flexibility and agility.  In 2021, it’s more prudent than ever that IT leaders continue to advance and support upgrades in IT infrastructure – meeting the demand for innovation – while on a tight budget.

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