If you’re struggling with the resources you’ve been allocated to manage existing technologies and operations while simultaneously investing in digital transformation initiatives, you’re not alone. As John Edwards put it in a recent CIO piece, “…sleepless nights wondering how to meet organizational aspirations” are relatively common, and these pressures are only exacerbated when a recession seems imminent. Edwards’ article offers tips for IT leaders to navigate these challenges, among them:

  • Accept reality and start planning. Edwards writes, “Virtually every IT organization faces more demand than available financial resources.” While this can often provoke anxiety, it also forces CIOs to choose between viable projects and those unworthy of funding. As part of budget planning, IT leaders should develop a framework that aligns with the company’s strategic goals as this can help easily identify which initiatives should get the green light and which belong in the scrap pile.
  • Don’t give in to pressure. Resist the trap of caving in to pressure from colleagues or vendors to invest in emerging technologies without evaluating their cost and their potential to deliver on the company’s strategic goals. This can easily overwhelm an already limited budget and introduce tension into the business/IT relationship.
  • Build internal support. Securing the support of fellow C-level executives can be critical to IT success. In addition, make sure that IT is always included in discussions of other areas of investment and the setting of strategic goals.
  • Root out waste. As Edwards puts it, “To maximize budget resources, closely review existing processes for inefficiencies and redundancies.” When eyeing areas of investment, pay particular attention to technologies that can eliminate expensive operations while reducing manual workloads and decreasing unplanned interruptions.
  • Seek external advice. Sometimes soliciting input from an external party can yield valuable insights IT leaders can use to prioritize their competing demands and use their budgets effectively. Whether it’s a peer, mentor, or industry analyst, these people are removed from the company’s day-to-day operations and can provide an honest assessment of the opportunity and whether the proposed approach is realistic.

Budgets are likely to remain tight for the foreseeable future, and new disruptive technology will always sound like a promising enterprise investment. But it’s important not to get so caught up in industry hype that you forget to determine whether the technology is the right fit for your company—and whether now is the right time to invest in it.

By following the steps outlined above, IT leaders can better prioritize their competing demands and ensure that budget is allocated in support of broader company goals.