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FAQs:  IT Budgeting

FAQs & Glossaries

Q. It took over five months to complete our IT budget this year, and another several months of the new year passed before we knew what was approved. How can we do it more quickly so we can get it over with? How long should it take?

A. Let’s address your last point first - "how long should it take". Benchmarking surveys report that 90 to 120 days are needed to complete IT budgets. Some organizations indicated that their intent was to reduce the process to 60 days (a very ambitious goal).

We often observe that funding decisions are not made all at once. Many organizations take longer to approve new projects than they do recurring activities, e.g., routine "break-fix" maintenance. Decisions are often quicker for new projects that are credible and meet a priority business need.

Here are some tips that can help get speedier decisions:

  • Start early.
    Budgeting is a cyclical activity that starts at about the same time each year. Don’t wait to be told to begin preparation. Managers who are among the first to get their proposals into the process often get decisions earlier than the latecomers.
  • Be realistic. Don't waste your time.
    Submit projects that you know have a good chance to be funded and concentrate on securing their approval. The "pie-in-the-sky" projects may be interesting, but they can sap your time and credibility - two very precious assets!
  • Be specific.
    Propose projects that serve the company's strategic goals and business objectives. Target your projects toward meeting "real" business and customer needs. Make sure that your justifications clearly state what those needs are and how your project will fulfill them.

If you submit quality proposals while others are still gathering data, you can improve the odds of an earlier decision.

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