16 Jan 2013

How to maximise the potential of your IT budget

We work in a field where innovation is key, and disruption of current trends and patterns by new technologies is something to expect and forecast. How can you position yourself so you’re not left behind in 2013, while staying within the confines of your IT budget?

Identify how disruptive technologies can enhance your core business

Investing in disruptive technologies does not have to be done at the expense of your core business. Examine your mission-critical initiatives for areas where emerging technologies can enable you to reach goals faster or extend your productivity. Developing and implementing cloud-delivered applications or mobile-compatible applications, for example, might bring productivity gains as your staff are able to work from a greater variety of locations and you’re less reliant on your internal IT infrastructure.

Hedge your bets

Carefully examine your needs over the coming year, and apportion budgets to core, adjacent and transformational projects. Remember to identify where core projects can incorporate transformational technologies like social marketing, cloud-based storage and delivery and mobile compatibility, since these will give your projects greater longevity and higher immediate value to your business. Develop a range of investment options for the coming year using a cost-benefit prioritisation matrix. Strike a balance between delivering near-term results based on your existing projects, and strategic goals that’ll be pursued over the longer term. Consider things like the ease of implementation of new initiatives, and the specific business advantages they carry with them – strategic alignment, future- proofing and financial value.

Invest for the future, not the present

Currently, most IT budgets are split roughly 80/20 between core business operations and disruptive/ innovative technologies. It’s estimated that by 2020, this balance will have inverted, with 80% of spending going on the so-called “third platform” technologies they’re currently considered disruptive – things like social business, mobile applications, cloud projects and big data analytics. If you’re able to make your investments in these areas early, you’ll position yourselves as technology leaders in your vertical. You’ll also be well ahead of competitors when these areas become the mainstay of IT budgets.

Make adaptation a key value

Instead of viewing innovation and investment in disruptive technologies as something adjacent to your core projects, place them at the center of your approach. By adopting disruptive technologies that’ll enhance your core business, you’ll avoid the “shiny thing” trap, where investments are made in innovation for innovation’s sake, with little awareness of how it might benefit the business as a whole. Investing in things like software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service and managed services can also give you greater freedom in terms of capital expenditure, while guaranteeing you access to transformative technologies as the service providers themselves adopts them.   Stephen Sims is the General Manager for Sales and Marketing.