We have created a new tool for our friends to use, strangers too. We’ve consolidated our experience and expertise into a sophisticated automaton that asks you a few questions about your business and replies with a detailed breakdown of how you should plan your yearly IT budget. Neat, eh? Check it out here: /budget-calculator/

Would you like to know more? Read on!

The Problem

Budgeting is a difficult process and IT has a lot of moving parts. One must track multiple vendors, assets that depreciate at different rates, support, purchases, leases, and hosting contracts. Spend too little overall and you run the risk of depriving employees of the tools and resources they need to do their work. This reduces their output which probably reduces your revenues and consequently your profits. Spend too much and you’re wasting money, which also reduces profits. Our goal is to help you identify a target yearly IT budget — not too much, not too little — based on the composition of your company, Stuff You Know, and questions that you can easily answer.

The Solution

Step 1: Open the form. http://www.feedwire.com/budget-calculator/

Step 2: Fill in the blanks. It’s Suff You Know. If you have questions, call us.

Step 3: Look at the number displayed in The Bottom Line. Experience awe.

Step 4: Call us to discuss.

The Methodology

This is intended as a tool for starting a discussion, it is not a quotation generator or a contract. Once we set a ballpark budget, we can get into the nitty-gritties of a specific plan and implementation for your business. The Bottom Line should be close, but it will not be a cigar. To get to The Bottom Line, we’ve made a few assumptions.

First, we assume that you are able to amortize expenses. This doesn’t work for every business, but it should for most. We treat a $1000 ethernet switch that lasts ten years as costing $100 per year. I’m sure there are various tax and interest subtleties which will change that simple division process, but cost/time is good enough for a rough estimate like this. We’re sketching here - design, construction, and polish are all in the future.

Second, we omit special cases. There may be some departments within your organization which have unusual IT needs. Post-production comes to mind. A single edit bay can easily consume more storage and bandwidth than an office of 50 people. That’s a separate project, literally. Yes, we’d love to help you with it too, but this calculator is focused on the day-to-day office computers; the computers that handle email and excel and web browsing and stream music to your desk.

Third, we ignore quantization of resources. You cannot buy a 19-port ethernet switch. Our estimator’s prices assume that you can. When the time comes to implement your actual systems, you’ll need to buy the next size up. In this case, probably a 24-port switch. It’s close enough for estimation and many of the items on our lists do exist in single-unit quantities.

Whew. Once we were done assuming things, we started a survey. We identified a dozen-ish areas of IT spending, then surveyed vendors in each area to find an average per-unit initial and recurring cost in each. We made some lifespan estimates, did some Excel voodoo (I got to use SUMIFS!), and were rewarded with a average per-unit amortized cost in each area. The numbers you provide: number of laptops, desktops, servers, people, etc, plus a little addition and multiplication give us a total in each area and a grand total. Tada!