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. Lets 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
- Start early.
Budgeting is a cyclical activity that starts at
about the same time each year. Dont 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
- 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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