With the end of the calendar year quickly approaching, many CFOs and CIOs are in the throes of budget planning. As you review your company's IT budget and technology plan for the coming year, you may be wondering which communications tools will best help your company achieve its digital transformation goals and how you can layer them into your yearly budget. With that in mind, here are three key considerations to keep top of mind when finalizing next year's budget.
1. Maximize Your ROI
With the possibility of an economic downturn on everyone's minds, it's wise to make sure that your digital transformation budget is delivering as much bang for the buck as possible. Cloud communications solutions can help you maximize the ROI of your IT spend, so you may want to consider including them in your budget proposal. As the IDC pointed out, "Cloud and mobile enable rapid deployment and connectivity, while also cutting costs and complexity in legacy operations, which allows businesses to focus on new digital innovation."
Cloud-based communications can deliver other compelling business benefits as well. By investing in a unified communications solution, for example, you can set your business up to scale up or down quickly, also taking advantage of the cloud's disaster preparedness benefits to ensure business continuity even in the event of inclement weather or an emergency. This ability can especially come in handy if you plan on expanding your business operations next year, whether that involves adding new staff or opening new offices.
Another way to maximize the ROI of your digital initiatives in the coming year is to carefully vet your cloud implementation partner. Who you team up with on a cloud solution can make all the difference in determining whether your cloud initiative is ultimately a budget buster or a cost-cutter, so choose wisely.
Rather than heavily investing in software development resources to recreate the wheel, you can add reliable, best-in-class communications capabilities when you need them using leaner developer resources.
2. Align Your IT Budget With Business Goals
Another way to ensure a more effective IT budget planning process is to make sure your IT budget is aligned with business goals. Though collaboration is rarely quantified in financial terms when evaluating an organization's IT spend, many companies are prioritizing effective business collaboration as a strategic asset that can help them gain a leg up on the competition. For this reason, you may want to consider budgeting for communications tools that support your organization's dynamic collaboration needs — especially if your business has employees that frequently travel, work from home, or are based out of branch offices.
Mobile communications apps can come in handy for this purpose, letting your staff stay connected, productive, and engaged no matter where or when they happen to be working. If an urgent client concern crops up while they're on a business trip, for example, your sales professional can join a quick video conference with her colleagues to iron the matter out in no time. Or, if your CEO needs an important budget figure as she's walking into a board meeting, her executive assistant can message the details to her mobile device straightaway.
Improving the customer experience is another strategic priority for many companies heading into the new year. Investing in the right contact center solution can deliver powerful benefits in this area, especially when it's joined with UCaaS in a single easy-to-manage solution. In doing so, you can reduce complexity and cut down on administration costs, all while enjoying a lower TCO. A flexible enterprise communications stack also future-proofs your business, allowing you to add exactly the right communications capabilities when you need them.
3. Future-Proof Your Business IT
As IT decision-makers around the globe can attest, the pace of digital transformation isn't slowing down. In fact, it may be accelerating. This reality is reflected in the top budget trends for 2020, too. According to the Spiceworks 2020 State of IT report, business adoption of AI-powered technologies is expected to triple by 2021 and 5G adoption is anticipated to quintuple in the same time frame. You can set your business up to capitalize on these tech trends in 2020 and beyond by laying a strong financial foundation for future technology enhancements now.
For example, by selecting a reliable enterprise communications platform that can easily be extended with powerful communications APIs, you can use sentiment analysis to gain greater insight into how your customers are experiencing your brand or use real-time video conferencing to let them give your technicians instant feedback during live repairs. APIs like these can help your colleagues and customers communicate far more efficiently, raising the bar on both your internal productivity and the customer experience you deliver.
Perhaps most importantly, the right communications tools will allow you to do all of this in a cost-effective way. Rather than heavily investing in software development resources to recreate the wheel, you can add reliable, best-in-class communications capabilities when you need them using leaner developer resources — potentially beating the competition too.
Create a Transformational IT Budget
Budgeting can be a painstaking and deliberative process, but it also represents a unique opportunity to realize your strategic digital initiatives. By taking a careful look at your IT budget now and making sure it includes the right mix of communications tools, you can go a long way toward achieving your digital transformation goals. And in doing so, you can set your company to achieve even greater success in the coming year and beyond.