2021 IT Budgeting for Architecture and Design Firms
It’s time for another episode of Design Under Influence—a podcast that unpacks how Architecture and Design Firms can use technology as their competitive advantage.
Today’s episode is all about building an IT budget for 2021.
You might be thinking about navigating away—but not so fast. Your IT budget is a vital part of your business, and we’re here to make the conversation exciting.
At Arch IT, we’ve been chugging away remotely to get our clients prepared for 2021.
Initially, it looked like COVID-19 might be a minor hiccup, but it’s become clear that architecture and design firms are going to need to plan around the pandemic for the duration of 2021.
Commencing the planning process always starts with the budget—and IT is a big part of that.
If IT isn’t a focus for your business, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to invest in technology that can protect and streamline production at your firm.
It’s important to identify what your firm will need on the technology side of the business as you move in 2021.
This means analyzing what technology you already have in place, what technology you will be taking with you in 2021, and determining opportunities for additional IT solutions.
Your IT budget is directly related to your growth budget.
Take marketing, for example. Most modern marketing is done through various technologies, making it important for you to converge these aspects of your business.
You can use last year’s budget to examine which line items have added true value to your business. This is done by talking with separate departments to determine what is actually working, and what’s not.
So how much should you be budgeting for IT?
Successful companies who use technology as their competitive advantage typically invest 4-6% of total revenues back into IT.
Lots of businesses miss out on opportunities to execute technology implementations because they believe it to be purely an expense.
But with the right IT provider, coming up with a strategic plan to use technology can catapult your business into new levels of productivity, saving you tons of money down the line.
As a business owner, you should always be looking to take the next step; to find ways to improve upon existing systems.
Technology is that next step.
The major areas that should be included in your technology budget are:
- Software that you are currently using and bringing into the next year (usually subscription-based programs)
- Hardware systems; an examination if your assets are needing renewal (this is necessary about every 2-4 years for architecture & design firms)
- Warranty renewals on hardware that is less than 2-4 years old to ensure that you are protected from malfunction
- Potentially new information management tools such as Knowledge Architecture to tighten up efficiency
- Additional services such as internet connectivity, phone systems, etc.
These should all be included in your IT budget, but should be highly collaborative with other departments such as growth and operations.
Even for major technology rollouts, you should keep them in your IT budget. Even though these projects might relate to other departments, consolidating under the IT umbrella can keep things organized as your firm moves forward.
As we move towards the end of the year, the budget for next year should be at the forefront of your mind.
If you found this helpful or have any questions, contact us at ArchIt. We’d love to talk about how technology can be a competitive advantage for your architecture and design firm!