IT investments are crucial for any organization, but they cannot succeed without careful budgeting. To avoid common mistakes and place your initiatives on a firm financial foundation, make sure to:
The first step in creating an effective IT budget is to categorize your agency’s IT endeavors based on what they will achieve. Most IT processes fit into one of the following categories:
- Operational- These include monitoring existing systems, repairing or replacing faulty hardware and software, and performing routine upgrades. Without these services, your organization would not be able to perform its current functions.
- Expansive- These processes include installing new software to boost your organization’s efficiency, installing interactive programs to improve client service, and improving system security. Such processes do not immediately change how you operate, but will allow you to cut costs and expand your client base in the medium term.
- Transformational- Technologies that allow you to offer new services to clients, perform functions you could not previously handle on your own, or radically change and improve your operations are transformational. They respond to future expectations, helping you to stay effective years down the road.
Once you have separated your initiatives into these categories, you will be able to prioritize your IT budget. Because operational initiatives need constant funding for your agency to survive, you will know not to take money from them when your budget is limited, instead cutting expansive and transformational endeavors. When you have a surplus, however, you know to spend that extra money on expansive and transformational processes, thereby investing it in the future success of the organization. Contact GVT for more information on categorizing budget items.
Once you’ve placed your IT budget items into different categories, examine each one individually and consider how it relates to the others. Organizations often fund multiple initiatives to address the same problems, spending money and effort on two solutions when they only need one. You may, for example, have an expansive initiative to debug your existing software as well as a transformational initiative to develop new, streamlined software for your agency. Once the latter initiative goes into effect, it will make the former one irrelevant. You may thus want to scrap one of these initiatives, especially if your budget is tight. Eliminating redundant IT investments frees up resources for new, more productive endeavors.
Also, when removing redundancy - if your agency has multiple departments responsible for data collection, knowing how each department compliments and potentially affects each other is important. For example – one, consistent form for logging case notes across all departments is not only cost effective, but eliminates confusion as well. GVT is able to program one case note form to do different things dynamically, depending on the department that accesses it. The point to drive home is that instead of two different forms, one form across the entire agency can better help your agency control the I.T. budget in the long-run.
Whereas some initiatives make each other redundant, others are complementary, relying on one another to achieve their full effect. Say that your agency is rewriting its website to make it more interactive. This endeavor will save time and improve clients’ experience, but it will also place greater demand on your existing hardware, increasing the risk of a crash. At the same time, you are investing in new hardware that will allow your systems to service a large number of clients in a wider variety of ways, decreasing the risk of a crash. By recognizing that these two endeavors complement each other, you will know that cutting funding to one risks undermining the other. FAMCare software will help you identify co-dependent investments and prioritize them accordingly.
Take Account Of Training
Because transformational initiatives change the way you operate, it’s important to set aside money for training before you begin them. The initial price of retraining your employees is well worth avoiding costly delays and systems errors. The better you train them, the smoother the transformation will be.
GVT is committed to helping health, human, and social services organizations improve efficiency and serve their clients effectively. For more information, visit our website today.