Budgeting Puts Fear Into Many CIOs and IT Managers

Budgeting for 2014 is challenge for many CIOs

Budgeting can be a harrowing experience or an opportunity to show that you are an executive who can help your company accomplish its overall goals. How his is done will and does determine executive management’s view of the CIO and IT Manager.

IT InfrastructureThe steps to follow are:

  1. Understand the business you are in. Focus your attention on what drives executive management’s view of success.
  2. Understand what technologies others are using. As the CIO you many not be in a position to propose a new technology if no one else is using it.  However if all of your top competitors are going to it prepare a case for at least competitive parity.
  3. Provide feedback on prior successes. Show executive management that you are a winner and can achieve what you plan and budget for.
  4. Create context. Make sure your executive management understands how your investment in IT compares with key industry metrics and competitors, especially in your vertical industry. For many this may be reflected as a percentage of revenue.
  5. Present IT as an investment, not a cost. What has been the quantitative or qualitative return on investment of the projects you have implemented? What have you done that has directly impacted either top line revenue or bottom line financial results? How have these efforts impacted your brand awareness or the customer experience for the better?
  6. Have champions in the organization who will pre-sell your proposals. Create  a rule: no champion and no sponsor, no project! If a project is important enough to the operation of the enterprise, then senior management should be willing to stand up and request the investment. And they should be willing to have someone on their team act as the project manager; this individual will have incentives built into his or her performance management review based upon the project’s successful outcome.
  7. Present results into business terms. Make sure people know in words they understand what will be different because of these efforts. Don’t talk about security and access control. Instead, talk about protecting your brand and keeping your organization off the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
  8. Understand your organization’s current business situation. Nothing makes you look more out of touch than asking for a larger budget, without the commensurate ROI, when your company is hemorrhaging money!
  9. Realize that every dollar spent on technology is a dollar not being directly spent on R&D, sales, and marketing . You are an executive and should be focused on the overall goals of the organization. You should only ask for money if you feel this is the best or at least an excellent investment of money.
  10. Spend the money like it’s yours. After all, if you are an executive of the company, it is your money in essence! Make sure that this investment is what you would do if you were literally the one writing the check.
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Author: John Stamms

IT Manager from a company in the EU. Very interested in how people in the US manage the IT function and all of its associated issues.