5 Budget Pitching Mistakes IT Managers Make
Presenting an IT budget for the decision makers in your company requires thoughtful planning and organisation. IT managers can improve the chances of their IT budget pitching to be successful by avoiding the following mistakes:
1. Not speaking the board's language
The board will not respond well if you only say that you need something. They need to understand why you need it, and how it helps the company in the long run. It’s not about explaining the technology and mechanisms used; it’s about the benefits.
Your ultimate goal is to showcase how the IT department will help the company save or make money, not how to spend more. And you have to communicate this to the board properly.
Give them an overview of benefits and how it affects operations in the long-term, but don’t exclude possible risks associated with new tech and outages that might happen when upgrading.
2. Taking the proposal to the wrong person
Make sure you’re presenting the IT budget proposal to those who can make decisions. Determining who has the final say in approving the budget depends on the size of the company.
Small companies have a rather simple setup, and all budget pitching will be directed towards the owner.
The bigger the company, the more stakeholders are involved. While the accounting team handles finances, it’s the board of directors who makes the final decision about proposed budgets.
Other stakeholders, like corporate executives, can help you with numbers since they often create forecasts about upcoming financial metrics.
3. Not taking numbers and statistics to back up
It seems that the upcoming years will be good for IT budget pitching.
According to the State of IT report from Spiceworks, 89% of companies expect that their IT budgets will grow or be steady for 2019. Those that expect growth are looking at an increase of 20% on average.
IT budgeting proposals without real numbers to back up your claims won’t enjoy a high success rate. Take the time to research the statistics and numbers and present them in easily digestible chunks. Use visuals to demonstrate savings or earnings that will be a direct result of the investments you wish to make.
4. Treating the IT budget as a wish list
You should never include every single item and project you can think of to your budget. Your IT budget represents your overall IT strategy.
Your budget pitching shouldn’t revolve around things that would be “nice to have,” but things that will help the company reach their long-term goals faster.
5. Artificially blowing up the budget
The board will quickly realise if you’re blowing the budget out of proportion. They will have numbers and statistics from earlier years and see the requested budget suddenly tripled.
If you can’t back up the sudden increase, never go there, because you will lose trust and will never get anything approved.
Stick to realistic amounts and help them understand why they make sense, what they deliver in the long-term, and why not implementing specific technology or measures right now might cost them more money in the future.
Budget pitching should always be done with a well-constructed, data-backed proposal that will show your executives how you will help them reach long-term goals.
By avoiding the mistakes outlined here, you will have a greater chance to have your IT budget proposal approved by the board.