Everyone has their suggestions about how to best construct a budget that fully touches every aspect a business could need for a whole entire year. From the “duh” stuff (printer paper) to the “let’s give it a shot” risk you’ve spent months developing, money is being portioned out in big ways right now.
Whatever it is your business is planning on spending cash on, there are likely still some question marks hanging around. Well, we aren’t going to weigh in on the two- versus one-ply debate when it comes to your budget, but we’ve got some ideas, five actually, when it comes to where your priorities should lie as you develop your 2022 tech budget:
- Upgrading your security with multifactor authentication
- Transforming the way you work in the cloud
- Investing in internal business outcomes
- Adding remote work tools for your team
- Developing hybrid meeting spaces
1. Upgrade Your Security With Multifactor Authentication
By now we like to think you’ve seen our previous blogs about what multifactor authentication is and how to make MFA work for your team, but just in case they’re still waiting in the queue, we’ll give you the gist here.
Multifactor authentication is the process of forcing anyone attempting to access data to prove they are who they say they are in more than one way; it’s not enough to just have a username and password, but instead, require secondary (or even more) authentication steps like security keys, wearable one-time-password providers, and more. Two-factor requires at least… well, you know, two factors, and multifactor then simply means more than two.
And while two-factor authentication is becoming more popular, our recommendation is to go at least one step further to develop a true multifactor authentication process. Adding at least one additional layer to 2FA, such as combining a PIN and texted passcode with a biometric layer like a facial scan, creates a barrier between the breach and data.
Rather than mining one piece of information after stumbling upon the other and having full access, MFA allows your team to be in full control of your own security, especially when an MFA hardware cryptographic device is used as recommended by NIST for AAL3.
2. Transforming The Way You Work In The Cloud
The cloud has, for as long as we can recall at least, held the potential to create value, but now it's true robust capability is becoming reality. By enabling both speed and scale, the cloud is critical to innovation. By 2030, there could be upwards of $1 trillion at stake, and it’s likely that early adopters to the cloud’s prowess will win the lion’s share of that revenue.
Now we’re not saying investing in the cloud is going to win you a trillion dollars. If it would, we would just go do that instead of writing this blog. I mean, you would, too, right?
A true detailed review of cloud cost-optimization and value-oriented business use foresees more than $1 trillion in run-rate EBITDA across Fortune 500 companies as up for grabs in 2030, a number that will grow as cloud facilitates the adoption of emergent technologies like AR and blockchain investments. The $1 trillion at stake is, at the end of the day, an estimate of what should be possible with new cloud technologies, provided businesses go that route.
No matter if you’re a CEO, CIO, CTO, or just have FOMO when it comes to these kinds of topics, there are three major opportunities to take that can provide value from cloud computing: creating a sustainable funding model that supports the initiatives needed to extract value from the cloud; creating new business-technology models that exploit the cloud for its speed, agility, and efficient scalability; and establishing the HR, compensation, and additional policies required to attract and retain specialized IT talent required to operate with the cloud.
3. Investing In Internal Business Outcomes
Discussing Gartner’s July 14 analysis of worldwide IT spending, research vice-president John-David Lovelock discussed a new initial step for IT budgets, in which "CIOs are looking for partners who can think past the digital sprints of 2020 and be more intentional in their digital transformation efforts in 2021. This means building technologies and services that don't yet exist, and further differentiating their organization in an already crowded market."
These changes – and challenges – mean there should be an increased focus at the business level on investing in internal outcomes as opposed to buying finished products. This is shown in Gartner's expectations for sustained growth in IT services -- 9.8% in 2021, with a CAGR of 8.68% over the 2020-2025 period (second only to software at 11.9%).
Lovelock continued later that, “Digital tech initiatives remain a top strategic business priority for companies as they continue to reinvent the future of work, focusing spending on making their infrastructure bulletproof and accommodating increasingly complex hybrid work for employees going into 2022.”
4. Adding Remote Work Tools For Your Team
We love this statistic: Upwork is estimating around a quarter of all Americans will still be working remotely through the end of 2021, and by 2025 approximately 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely. And while not every organization can justify pursuing a team from around the world, if you’re reading this it’s because you’re likely working with – at least some – people that are further away than just another cubicle.
Whether or not your business’ budget can justify the expense of furnishing home offices, there is always a clear relationship between your group’s happiness and their ability to easily connect with each other and their immediate working surroundings.
In the modern hybrid work world, each team member’s work environment plays a critical role in their day-to-day output. Those working in small, shared spaces in or away from the office tend to be more stressed and produce worse work than those in dedicated spaces. Additionally, hybrid workplaces missing important video connectivity put themselves at risk of massive production delays.
Start your research now and identify which remote work options may be a good fit for your team, identifying the cost for migration and licensing for your upcoming 2021 budget. If you’re already using Cloud-based tools, look into ways to leverage the tools you have. For example, if your company is using Office 365, you already have a plethora of tools waiting to be discovered with the right time and energy.
5. Developing Hybrid Meeting Spaces
When allocating a budget for redesigning your team’s workspace in 2021, research suggests sticking with open office plans and dedicated individual desks which can promote positive productivity in hybrid work environments. Simultaneously, successful hybrid work offices around the globe have added workspaces dedicated specifically to brainstorming and idea generation, team integration activities, informal interactions, and other tasks.
Across the board, the most commonly utilized dedicated space has been video conferencing rooms where important advanced solutions like shared digital whiteboards and virtual meeting spaces are seamlessly combined with smart cameras and advanced sound solutions that keep everyone in the room truly connected – one heck of a good way to allocate your resources.
This isn’t everything you’ll need in terms of allocating funds for IT. In fact, it’s not even really a call for any specific percentage of your budget. The reality is every organization is different – maybe you need to polish up your security or perhaps this entire blog has been gibberish. (Which, in our opinion, should be spelled with a J.) However your 2021 budget is shaping up, we believe there are always ways for you to do a little extra, dig a little deeper, and commit a little more resources to your team’s future by making these five areas priorities for your 2021 tech budget.
If you have questions about how Microsoft’s products can help your remote team, give us a call at 864-552-1291, and we'll help you evaluate capabilities and options. For more information on topics like hybrid work productivity, sign up for PTG Tech Talk and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter!