August 10, 2023
Best Practices / IT Philosophy

How to Budget for an IT Program – Your Guide for Success

Written by Mallory Randall
If you need help determining a budget for your IT program, this post breaks down the three key steps needed to develop your IT budget.

With August off and running, it’s hard to believe that there are only four months remaining until 2024. For most businesses, it marks the beginning of budget season for 2024.

Technology is a massive part of all business operations, and this is why it should be part of your budget. That being said, how do you even begin to budget for an IT program?

In this post, we’ll explore the essential steps for creating a well-structured IT budget that aligns with your wider business objectives, maximizes ROI, and ensures a smooth execution of technical projects.

Step 1: Assess Your Business Goals and Technology Requirements

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand your company’s long-term goals and strategic vision. You’ll want to collaborate with key stakeholders or department heads to identify their business objectives, how those funnel up to the company’s broader vision, and the priority of each.

Once you have a clear understanding of the business goals and priorities, the next milestone is to identify what technical requirements may be necessary to support those objectives. This can be the actual technology needed, process or compliance requirements, as well as areas for automation and innovation.

Step 2: Expense Planning

If you have an in-house IT department, now would be a great time to loop them in. Collaborating with them to help forecast project execution and other resource requirements. 

However, if you don’t have an internal IT team, don’t fret! A couple of things to consider:


  • This will depend on the size of your organization. 
  • For example, a 30-person organization can likely operate effectively with a single senior IT hire with some basic annual training. 
  • However, a 70-person organization with 2-3 contractors would ideally need an IT Director, two IT Help Desk Technicians (entry-level), and an IT Contractor. You’d still want to budget in training for this team as well. 
  • For organizations that grow to 200 employees, you’ll likely need an IT Director, two Help Desk Technicians, an IT Contractor, and Database Manager. Again, they’ll need a training budget as well.

Tools and licensing fees:

  • Just like staffing, the tech stack you’ll need to support your organization will also depend on your size.
  • You’ll likely need to consider a ticketing platform and documentation platform to start. The ticketing platform will allow your employees to submit support requests in a single location. A documentation platform is just what it sounds like – a database that allows technical teams to upload and organize documentation about the systems they are supporting.
  • In terms of security management, initial tools to invest in include mobile device management, antivirus and endpoint detection response (EDR), email security, endpoint backup/data loss prevention, identity management/Single Sign On (SSO). Remote teams specifically should consider remote connection and cloud security options
  • A 30-person organization will need to focus most of their tooling budget on investing in a ticketing platform and documentation platform. Device management, device backups, antivirus/EDR email security and identity access management can be handled more nominally. 
  • A 70-person organization will also need to focus more of their budget around a ticketing and documentation platform. The other larger expense at this point is a solid identity access management and SSO tool. The more people you have in your organization, the tighter your grip should be on which personnel have access to your platforms. 
  • A 200-person organization will also need to invest in both a ticketing and documentation platform. However, a larger portion of the budget should now be invested into an identity access management & SSO platform as well as increased cloud security. Your teams will likely be housing a lot of data and that data needs to be protected as much as possible.

Outsourcing vs. In-House

Another option is also to consider outsourcing your IT needs to a technology services company, like Interlaced. 

Below are some benefits of outsourcing IT:

  • Fewer expenses: in addition to negating the need to hire full-time IT personnel, tech service companies, like Interlaced, already have the appropriate support tools and can help consolidate licensing fees.
  • Scalability: services can be scaled up or down depending on what the needs of your business are at that time.
  • Fewer headaches: outsourcing things like ongoing maintenance, device upgrades, and repairs, as well as other technical problems allows you to focus on greater business initiatives.

Contingency Planning

Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to set aside a contingency budget for unforeseen circumstances. Even in the best-laid plans, unforeseen events and risks are inevitable during IT program execution. 

By allocating a contingency budget, you are helping to ensure there are resources available to address unexpected challenges without derailing the progress of the existing program.

Step 3: Create a Roadmap Based on Priorities

Breaking your program into smaller phases and projects can help you create a more clear path to success. Start by ranking your IT initiatives and projects based on their alignment with your organization’s strategic objectives and the potential benefits from those completed initiatives. 

At Interlaced, we collaborate with each client to build a custom technology roadmap based on their strategic goals and objectives. This not only allows businesses insight into all of the IT projects and initiatives for that year but helps them to forecast and plan without surprises. 

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, you’ll need to allocate resources, both personnel as well as tools and systems, to ensure the critical initiatives receive the necessary support. 

Finally, you’ll want to create a realistic timeline. You’ll want to outline clear milestones and deliverables for each initiative and bake in buffer time for adjustments during execution. 

Another factor to consider, are potential dependencies and constraints, which can help avoid delays in both time and budget caused by unexpected bottlenecks. 

It’s likely many things can be done in conjunction with another but in some cases, you won’t be able to start or finish everything without dependency on previous or future tasks.

It can be a lot, but so worth the time and effort

Let’s face it, budgeting for your IT program can take a lot of time, energy, and resources to pull together. But forging ahead without any thought or planning can leave you in a vulnerable state, both from a cost standpoint as well from a security perspective. 

The good news is that once you have a solid foundation of costs in place, it can help you better forecast and understand what should be allotted as your company grows and scales. 

If you have questions about how to budget for your IT program and how to offload some of the headache that comes with managing an IT program, let’s talk!

Mallory Randall

Mallory Randall

Mallory is the Director of Marketing at Interlaced. Mallory is a highly accomplished and client-centric digital marketing specialist with a 14-year career in executing strategic marketing campaigns. She is passionate about helping brands grow and become the best versions of themselves by helping to tell their stories in ways that resonate with others.