A few years ago, IT strategy planning may not have been at the top of your list. Changes to the working world and rising threats to cybersecurity now mean developing your IT strategy and budget is somewhat of a necessity.
Out of the many things learned during the pandemic, something that has stood out is the world’s collective reliance on technology. Covid has accelerated IT spend, with businesses of all sizes allocating more of their budget to IT. IT spending has continued to increase in 2021 and is forecasted to continue into next year.
According to the latest predictions from Gartner, global IT spending is projected to reach $4.5 trillion USD (roughly £3.95 trillion in GBP) in 2022. This is an increase of 5.5% from 2021 – the largest YOY growth in IT spend in over a decade. As cloud services have played a key part in facilitating hybrid working, enterprise software is expected to have its highest growth next year at 11.5%.
Your IT strategy and supporting growth
A stagnant IT environment can hold your business back. An effective IT landscape should adapt and scale with you. As organisations look to continue to navigate hybrid work and its future, it’s important that their IT strategy will enable them to evolve in the changing world.
There are many questions that need to be asked: are you still using temporary solutions from the beginning of the pandemic and are they suitable long term? Do you have dated systems that need upgrading? Are you utilising the cloud? These are some of the questions that will help you develop your budget when planning your IT strategy.
Taking stock of your needs and establishing a budget
Establishing a budget prevents you from putting time and effort into creating an IT strategy that you can’t afford. You also can’t simply base your budget on historical spend.
You need to take a deep dive into your IT landscape to see what you use, what you are missing, and what needs to change. Whilst this seems obvious, it can be quite a hefty task. It’s important to assess your requirements based on a number of factors and understand how this translates into financial terms. Consider things like:
- The size of your business and your growth
- Your industry or sector
- Your location (local, national, global?)
- Where are you employees located?
- Where different elements of your estate are at in their IT lifecycle
- Whether you have an in-house IT team
Building a budget with these in mind will help you create an IT strategy that leads to success. An experienced IT consultancy partner can take the pain out of developing your IT budget and strategy, leading the discovery for you and offering you clear, unbiased and professional advice.
Let’s look at some considerations in detail for building your IT strategy.
Do you have an in-house team?
If you have in-house IT staff, they will be facing added pressure from evolving IT demands. End-user requirements and priorities have changed. The increased need for mobility and connectivity across locations adds an extra level of complexity to IT support. Particularly in small or medium businesses, technical teams may be stretched thin, handling everything from password resets to business change projects. They simply may not have the time or resources to focus on developing your IT strategy.
By outsourcing your end-user support, back-end functions or IT management to a managed services provider, your business can reduce the burden on your technical staff. This means they spend less time providing simple fixes or firefighting issues, and more time focussing on valuable projects that promote innovation and help you reach wider organisational objectives.
Do you have a security strategy?
The pandemic has provided criminals with a whole new world of opportunities to target your business. Data breaches and cyber-attacks have risen significantly since the pandemic began, and this hasn’t halted in 2021. 64% of medium businesses and 65% of large enterprises reported experiencing a security breach. However, no business is too small to be targeted.
75% of small business owners feel it’s unlikely that they’ll be struck by hackers. However, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, and only 14% are prepared to defend themselves. As a successful breach can cost you your business, it’s critical to have advanced threat protection.
It’s vital to assess your existing security posture and the level of protection it provides. Your budget and IT strategy should then factor in the changes or enhancements needed to be made to give you the level of defence you need against the evolving threat landscape. A security review can help you understand your current level of risk and vulnerabilities.
Whist investing in cybersecurity comes at a price, the cost is far less than the financial and reputational impacts of a successful breach.
Are you monitoring your licenses?
You will likely have a multitude of different subscriptions and licenses to different software and cloud services which can tally up to a significant cost. If you aren’t monitoring your software estate, you could be oversubscribing and spending money on licenses you don’t need. You may even be at risk of non-compliance.
Reviewing your software licenses will give you greater visibility of your spending on cloud services and prevent an escalating software spend. It can help you uncover opportunities to consolidate services, improve resource allocation and reduce costs. This will not just help you develop your 2022 IT strategy, but even free up some budget for other projects.
Is your business running in the cloud?
9 out of 10 businesses have begun the move to hybrid work and 94% of organisations are using the cloud to achieve this. The benefits of migrating to the cloud have long been recognised, including greater flexibility, cost-efficiency, and ability to scale. Operating from the cloud can offer cost savings, increased productivity, improved employee satisfaction, and enterprise-class security by design.
While most businesses utilise the cloud in some way, many are far away from true cloud adoption. It’s important to consider which stage you’re at in your cloud journey, and weave this into your IT strategy.
Are you sticking with a hybrid working model?
Whilst many businesses saw the transition as temporary, the hybrid workplace hasn’t gone away in 2021. Surveys have found that 90% of UK employers will continue to offer hybrid work on some level. Organisations will largely be maintaining a hybrid working model into 2022 and beyond.
If you adopted temporary measures and fixes for remote work but have since ended up maintaining a remote or hybrid working model, it may be time to move to more permanent and cost-effective solutions. Ask yourself if your current collaboration platforms enable true hybrid work. Do your employees have the right conferencing capabilities and cloud services they need to stay productive while working remotely? It’s important to ensure your budget covers tools that keep your employees connected from any location.
If hybrid isn’t in your plan, then you need to consider if your existing estate is up to date enough to keep employees productive as they return to the office.
Get support with IT strategy
Planning your IT strategy can be both challenging and daunting. However, it’s important to implement careful planning and execution to prevent spiralling IT costs and ensure your IT environments are scalable, secure and future-proof. 848 is here to help you plan, build and run your IT vision. We offer full end-to-end IT lifecycle guidance and support, from consultations, to implementation, managed services and more.
With a wealth of strategic partnerships and accreditations we deliver projects from complete transformations, infrastructure upgrades, cloud migrations and even IT asset disposal. Get in touch with a member of our team today to start planning your 2022 IT strategy.
Abbie is technology-focused marketing manager with a passion for all things cloud, security, sustainability and automation. She has created content in collaboration with global names including Microsoft, Cisco, HP and Google, and turns technical jargon into clear messaging that explains how IT can be used to overcome business challenges.