IT leaders know the positive impact that IT can have on business processes. Unfortunately, this value is not always clear to management who sign off on or heavily influence IT projects. Here’s how to use budget rationalisation to demystify the business value of IT and drive digital workplace innovation.  

Budget Rationalisation: Are Organisations Being Rational?

At this year’s Gartner Digital Workplace summit, Gartner Research VP Monica Basso stressed the need for IT leaders to shift from a keeping-the-lights-on approach to taking a more active role in transforming the business through digital workplace initiatives. According to Basso, “The more the workforce evolves, the more achievable business growth becomes. This is the digital workplace and it should be a priority. There is a desperate need for a digital workplace initiative to drive business outcomes.” To adopt this mindset and become business leaders, first we’ll have to change the way that we think about IT budgeting.

From working with partners and customers over the years, my biggest takeaway is that how organisations approach "budget rationalisation" can vary tremendously. One of the biggest challenges I have encountered when engaging in rationalisation initiatives is the lack of a clear definition of what success looks like and a collaborative and meaningful way to measure the outcome. Organisations need to take a step back when it comes to setting the IT budget and think about two things: 1) What data do they need to understand their environment? and 2) What is the desired outcome of a budgeting project and how can it be measured?

In terms of defining outcomes, Basso recommended constructing a vision for a digital workplace and using that vision to rationalise investments in technology. She also noted the importance of focusing on users’ needs: “To be successful, users have to be at the centre. You need a dialogue with staff to understand their skills and expectations.”