Planning Your 2019 IT Budget

With 2019 just around the corner, IT Leaders are hitting the books: assessing the shortfalls or surpluses of 2018 and trying to plan for the fiscal year ahead.

A recent poll indicates that IT spending is on the rise for 2019, up as much as 10% over 2018 IT budgets. A favorable business climate is the primary driver of this increase, as well as a recognition that IT investments can lead to cost savings and revenue opportunities in other areas of the business. The poll indicates that the key spend areas for IT in 2019 will continue to be security and cloud services with Gartner’s forecast suggesting that enterprise software will continue to be the fastest growing IT spending category.

Employee training has emerged as one of the top three spending priorities for IT in 2019. New hiring, shifting work processes, and technologies are a driver of this, as should be security. Actions by employees, whether accidental or malicious, continue to be a leading cause of cybersecurity incidents.

In planning the coming fiscal and calendar year, IT departments should carefully consider:

What to do with a year-end surplus?

Efficient IT spending and new technology investments often result in an unexpected budget surplus. Rather than face a cut in the budget next year as a result of this ‘use it or lose it’ mentality, IT departments can look to their 2019 plan, investing in new devices, software, or training programs to jump-start new initiatives.

Planning for device refresh cycles

Devices beyond five years old begin to cost IT departments more in total cost of ownership (TCO) than purchasing new devices, so many organizations look to shorten device refresh cycles. As many organizations move toward greater flexibility, choose your own device (CYOD) programs are gaining in popularity, requiring a multi-platform solution to manage the growing complexity of device and OS choices.

Look for opportunities to save on redundant solutions

Rather than focusing only on spending, look for cost-cutting opportunities that open up areas for investment within your IT budget. Many organizations gradually accumulate siloed, duplicate solutions that serve the same function (in everything from office suites to endpoint management). Look for opportunities to unify solutions, which inevitably lead to even greater gains in IT time by reducing the complexity of managing IT environments.

Investing in stronger solutions, not more solutions

Although layered security merits investment, most organizations do not retire older security products, they just add more. Aside from cost savings, it’s been shown that there is a finite point at which adding more solutions does not add more security. Instead, IT spending should focus on adding greater automation and self-healing capabilities to target harden critical security layers.

Investing in self-service for IT

Line of business (LOB) spending is set to overtake IT department spending, often creating critical gaps in visibility, introducing greater risk to the business. LOB spending, or ‘Shadow IT’, can also result in inefficiencies in license use and duplicate software spends. IT departments can invest in self-service IT options to enable LOB efficiency without overspends or security risks.

There is no question that what was new in 2018 will seem woefully out of date by the end of 2019. When planning for the future, IT departments need to choose adaptable processes and solutions to support the technology and needs of tomorrow.

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