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Reality IT: Proper Budget Planning for the Next Year

Last-Minute Shopping

The need for a last-minute buying spree at ACME, as in most other companies, is intensified by two key factors: fear of cutbacks and staff shortages.

First, our management is concerned that if we go into the budget process without spending all of this year's money, the bean counters will want to cut our budget for the coming year. Second, our 2004 budget was long on technology but short on human resources--we simply didn't get enough people to complete all our scheduled 2004 projects, and we can't start them now without a panic.

Last week, I saw Xavier Beane, our CFO, walk into the office of my boss, CIO Steve Fox. Minutes later, I got word from Fox to make sure there wasn't any money left in our IT budget at the end of 2004. I've seen this same thing happen at other organizations where I've worked. I can vividly recall walking into the storage room a few years ago at year's end and finding a new router on one shelf, a new VPN appliance on another, an upgrade for our network-monitoring software and even a new videoconferencing system--all in original packaging.

Maybe if we had more staff, we could get these new products installed and operational! But back to reality.

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