IT Budgeting Checklist

How to Get Budget Approval in Uncertain Times

A promising budget proposal can score you the funding you want when you need it most.

On the flip side, an underwhelming proposal can not only get your request denied, but it can also create a poor view of your credibility and set a negative precedent for your team and future requests. It’s important to get this right the first time!

As you likely know, a budget can be used to guide projects and operations, track cost-budget variance, and make ad hoc adjustments to spending. As you prepare your team for the year to come, including any net new requests, here's what you should keep in mind.

IT teams are key contributors to org success - get that IT budget approved

Although the tides are changing, IT is often still considered another cost center that must be reviewed, picked apart, and reluctantly approved. It’s up to us, as IT members, to change this stigma and address how IT is a key contributor to a company’s success, innovation, and trajectory.

IT is a key cog in the organization’s wheel to keep it going – especially during tough financial times. In order to help your team do its best, most essential work well and get resource back up, we put together a handy IT budgeting checklist.

You can access the cheatsheet here, but take a sneak peek at some highlights below:

RESEARCH PROCESSES AND FEASIBILITY

Before making your ask, think about process and feasibility.

  • Is my budget request non discretionary or discretionary?

    • Non-discretionary or “keep the lights on” expenses are likelier to be approved.

    • Discretionary spending for “nice-to-have” features are easy places cut.

  • Will the investment integrate with existing solutions?

    • Integration capabilities can increase tool value by improving useability.

  • Does the implementation require additional hardware, maintenance, support costs, or additional FTE resources?

    • Don’t get caught off-guard by surprise costs – outline detailed costs.

  • Are you addressing a core or high-priority issue?

    • Rethink critical systems. Is your request a band-aid for issues that must be addressed?

POSITION YOUR BUDGET REQUEST

During unsure economic times, prepare to have your request scrutinized. Make the right information available to the right people. Ask yourself:

  • Are you using a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) framework or a corporate-approved cost/benefit analysis?

  • Have you included peer reviews, studies, and research to position your request with third-party sources?

  • Are you focused on “pain relief” vs. “nice-to-have”? Communicate why your request directly addresses your org’s pains.

EMPLOY COMPELLING METRICS

When dollars are short, stats and data are powerful. Provide measurements that demonstrate success and drive confidence for approval.

  • Have you calculated your benefits?

    • Highlight cost and time savings, MTTR comparisons, workload reductions, and improved SLAs, to demonstrate value.

Get that IT funding

Remember, effective communication is critical in getting your budget approved. This checklist will help you cross all your Ts.

Prep your executive leadership or sponsor and make sure they'll provide a solid endorsement before presenting your request to the powers that be.

Be ready to handle any objections and make sure the financial gatekeepers at your enterprise know the full value of your team. Once they do, they'll be hard-pressed to reject your request. Best of luck!

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