As a CIO or other IT leadership professional, you know that the benefits of technology run deep and in many ways are the foundation of modern business success. Sometimes, however, getting the budget you need to start or complete certain business-benefitting tech projects can be a challenge.
IT projects tend to be expensive and time-consuming to implement and take even more time t troubleshoot and debug. Many shareholders or other executives are concerned that there won’t be any meaningful ROI for a significant amount of time; the idea of an investment taking too long to pay for itself and show measurable benefit makes many investors and business stakeholders nervous. It’s the job of any IT professional looking to get the go-ahead for a new project to make sure the stakeholders – be it accounting professionals, C-suite leadership, or board members – to understand that the long-term success of a business often involves making long-term investments.
Whether it’s a new funding source or a method of convincing stakeholders in order to secure funding, it’s important to know your options when you’re looking for funding for IT projects.
Best methods for secure funding for IT projects
Here are some techniques to consider in order to help you get funding for IT projects at your company.
1. Plan ahead
One of the best ways to get budgetary approval for a new project is to make sure that it’s clearly being requested for a future budget before the budget is approved. Start planning for IT projects as early as possible; your business may be too small, for instance, to benefit from a CRM system at this stage, but if you’re already showing significant customer growth and hiring sales team members at an increasing rate, you might be able to make the case that this project would be beneficial to the business as part of the next budget cycle.
2. Be clear on the benefits
It’s important to make it crystal clear to those whose approval you need the tangible benefits your business will receive upon successful completion. Having your presentation buttoned up with the relevant data is key – you’ll need to show exactly how the investment will eventually pay for itself or offer other monetary value as well as the other benefits that the project will bring.
3. Secure the right buy-in
It’s important to know who to talk to when it comes to getting the funding for IT projects. Can you identify who has the most pull in deciding which projects get funding? Is it the CFO? The CEO? Board members? Connecting with the right stakeholders early on in the process may be able to secure you the support you need and help push your project through.
4. Use the data
One of the best methods for getting funding for IT projects is to ensure that your data supports your request for funding. Internal analytics and outside research can support your funding requests and help you solidify the need to complete the project. Supporting your request with hard facts and market data as well as past experiences and successes will be key in securing funding for IT projects
5. Get a grant
Finding an alternative method of funding may be important to consider if you’re going to make headway with your IT project. If you’re an entrepreneur, startup, or nonprofit, it’s possible your business may be eligible to receive a grant that you can put towards your IT project. Organizations like Grant Watch can help certain companies find out if they’re eligible for certain grants for funding to go towards funding IT projects. Other organizations like Startup Nation help point organizations in the right direction of overall grants that can be used for startups and projects related to that business.
6. Delay another project
Sometimes you might be able to make the case for a less important project to bumped to another year’s budget. If there’s been talk about renovating a break space or upgrading to new workstations, have a discussion with leadership about the value of that project over the value of your IT project. Their reasoning may be that it helps the brand or increases employee recruitment and retention or add value in another way, so be prepared to explain why your project can add more significant value and sooner than other projects on the schedule.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you can’t afford to complete the projects that you know will help grow the business, but it’s important to continue to properly plan and research and push ahead. Having an outline of how to tackle your request for funding can help you stay organized and make sure you’re ready with the right tactics and techniques to work through in order to make your project a success.