How to Write a Compelling IT Budget Application

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IT Budget – Money, Money, Money

We can empathise with today’s IT manager and IT Department when it comes to applying to spend money.Once upon a time, not so far away, an IT Manager that has worked with Accede-IT; at his place of work had been trying “forever” to get a second node to their database cluster for replication and business continuity, but to no avail. The DBA asked what the problem was. The IT Manager confided that it was their board, which refused to sign-off on the expenditure. To be fair to the board, this was understandable, as the procurement of an additional cluster node represents a considerable investment. And they had weighed up the risk and cost and couldn’t make the investment and use the IT Budget or extend it.

The DBA asked the obvious follow up question:
“Why does your board keep turning this proposal down?”

It was explained that a number of proposals had been submitted covering: enhanced functionality (of the upgrade database licence), increased available power (additional server stack), increased availability (through changes to the network) and an overall reduction in risk.
When asked what the board’s response was, their DBA was told: “The board feels that this is a substantial expenditure for a hypothetical situation that has, to date, never occurred!”

It goes without saying any expenditure, however small or large, must be tested for need by any company. The big problem for their sales team is: how much, of what and when to increase premiums; the demands of their customers are not entirely predictable; and the time & effort to change product type is substantial. They have therefore written a bespoke ERP system that specifically addresses their problem. The software determines allow clients to raise the requirements for premium quotes.It sounds simple but it’s not!

Mr Burns ©1999 20TH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP.

So the really problem is this software that their computer system runs; and if it fails it is slower to perform the calculations manually quickly enough and logging what has been agreed has to be filed on paper and then update to the system at a later date.

So;

No computer system = No easy sales
Given the margins this can interpreted as;
No computer system = threat to company existence. Thats speaking the Board’s Language!!

So “why will the board not sign-off on a second computer stack?” The previous proposals were great for the IT department and all the ‘techies’, but it almost entirely missed the
point that would interest their board: Risk!

With the help of the Accede-IT, the proposal was entirely re-written. Firstly, all the technical guff was relegated to appendix D.

Then the crux of the argument was developed:
Probability of system failure X %
Quantity of lost data Y and/or lost processing time Y
Hours of lost production Z

The proposal was then backed up in the form of several appendices, prepared with Accede-IT help. This covered item by item MTTF (Mean Time Between Failure), MTTR (Mean Time To Repair); consequential loss of data and processing time, for both the existing and proposed configuration. The Result, the expenditure was approved within the week, together with the comment:“We didn’t realise we were running this much risk”!

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