Preparing and justifying an IT budget
In many companies IT departments and their budgets don’t change very often, while needs and expectations for the implemented systems are constantly growing. In such cases the information about network condition becomes crucial for it enables system administrators to see which elements are efficient enough and which are overloaded. With that information in mind they can make a clear judgement whether the current resources will suffice for handling new projects and network modernization planned for next year.
To prepare a comprehensive budget and justify all the costs it contains, IT managers must create a strategy based on the very specified goals. This is where network monitoring comes to aid. It can detect weak spots that need modernization, sources of ongoing problems, and also the extent to which third parties comply with the agreements concluded with the company.
A cost that can save a lot
Inadequate IT infrastructure, poor equipment, or outdated software can become a source of many problems, unexpected downtime, or decrease in performance of the entire network, and thus unexpected costs that must be incurred to repair or replace broken elements.
“With network monitoring it is possible to identify the weak links within the IT infrastructure and choose the most overloaded or the ones that need to be replaced or expanded. Additionally system administrators can determine which equipment, what brand or from which provider, breaks most often. By doing so, you can not only improve the performance of the entire network, but also optimize the costs incurred for the maintenance and development of the IT infrastructure”, explains Ela Mistachowicz, vice president of AdRem Software, developer of NetCrunch network monitoring system.
A thorough monitoring of network resources can tell what the problem source is and allow making a right purchase.
“One of our clients had had an ongoing issue with a slow network and had spent tens of thousands of dollars on a better network link, which at the end didn’t bring any improvement. Only then he began testing NetCrunch, which quickly discovered that the problem had been caused by not sufficient server memory, which costs over ten times less than a new network link. Adding more memory to the server solved the “slow network” problem immediately”, says Ela Mistachowicz.
Of course, an investment in IT infrastructure is never done in one day. It takes time to analyze, purchase, and implement new solutions. Continuous monitoring and observation of IT resources and the load they carry allows justifying budgets plans. For example, the investment in new software for accounting requires updating operating systems on the workstations in this department and new servers for this software. Solutions such as NetCrunch can help to quickly verify which workstations are sufficiently equipped for the new system and only those not meeting the requirements will end up being replaced. System administrator will also be able to verify, on the basis of specific data from the system, if the company has a server available for this investment, must invest in one, or optimize the resources so enough space can be found among virtual machines.
Score for the administrator
Data from the monitoring system is also an excellent bargaining chip in talks about the possibilities of the already existing equipment and the extent of its use. Charts and analysis allow administrators to prove they well-managed all the available elements of the infrastructure and their needs are justified.
“In NetCrunch we applied a functionality, which works great for executives who need visual evidence, that IT departments are doing their job well and have a full control over all the elements responsible for the company’s smooth and efficient functioning. It’s the visualization of the entire network and its elements, including the most overloaded devices and network links, devices running out of free memory, or the users sending through the most data. A single pane of glass gives an overview of the network data in a variety of cross sections and views, often on multiple screens at the same time, with changing maps and graphs, allowing a deep insight into all of the network data collected by the monitoring system”, explains Ela Mistachowicz.
The ability to see what’s happening in the company network gives a better understanding of the processes occurring in it, the role of applied components and software, as well as the impact of the insufficiently powerful tools on the entire IT infrastructure and eventually, the company’s everyday work.
Budget under control
Using the data collected by the network monitoring systems, IT departments are able to define their needs, binding them together with the IT infrastructure expansion or modernization plans. Defined efficiency problems become the baseline for the IT administrators’ strategy, who know for a fact, that increasing the power and efficiency of the used components will affect the efficiency of the entire company. With such strategy in mind a budget can be put together and it can easily be justified to the board members by showing them graphs and data from the network monitoring systems.
Another positive impact on the budget is the ability to account third parties for their implementation of the service-level agreements, especially those concerning the provision of continuous services (internet services, VOIP, online applications, etc.). Network monitoring allows you to check, whether the service unavailability time didn’t exceed the time agreed upon in the SLA, and if it did, the company has all the reason to charge its providers with the fees described in it.
Creating an IT budget requires prudence and an excellent insight into the entire IT infrastructure. Only hard data and its adequate visualization allow you to make both the daily and long-term decisions.