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FAQs:  IT Budgeting

FAQs & Glossaries

Q. I manage an IT budget office and am trying to decide on a suitable budgeting system. How do I ensure that the requirements from the end-users are met?

A. We have worked with clients whose end-users wanted a budgeting system to do everything from keeping track of IT project schedules to tracking daily systems consultant assignments. While purchasing, payroll, accounting, project management, and inventory control are each important, they are not what a budgeting system is supposed to do.

Here are three (3) common pitfalls that we suggest you avoid:

  1. allowing end-users to believe the budgeting system can do everything
  2. consuming too much time catering to unrealistic end-users’ requirements
  3. system evaluation criteria that exceed normal budgeting system design parameters

Those that made these mistakes eventually discovered that they could not meet user expectations, spent endless hours discussing solutions to problems that they could not solve, and were engaged in an endless quest for a system that does not exist.

We suggest that you take this approach:

  • Give the end-users a clear written definition of what the system is supposed to do
  • Solicit their written comments about their needs
  • Evaluate the end-users’ requests promptly. If possible, don’t just say no to requests that are out-of-bounds. Instead, suggest a viable alternative (e.g., project management software for the end-user who wanted to keep track of project schedules)
  • Distill the requests to a "short list" of both your and end-user requirements, making sure that you clearly understand what the end-users want and why
  • Issue a request for information (including demo software) to firms that offer budgeting software
  • Evaluate the responses, then schedule on-site demonstrations - make sure the vendor is prepared to show how the software meets all your requirements

This will help ensure that you are able to satisfy legitimate end-user needs while meeting your overall system goals.

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