The state of the I.T. budget union

Spiceworks just released their annual “2015 I.T. Budget Report” and some of the numbers and priorities mirror my own experience. Some highlights that spoke to me…

  • spiceworks-logo-580x250Although organizations are earning more revenue than in years past, I.T. budgets are not seeing significant increases.

    I think a number of factors play into this – most notably, I.T.’s resourcefulness when faced with limited budgets. We’ve gotten really good at keep the ship afloat by “making do with what we’ve got.” The downside to this is that organizations have come to expect this to be the norm and aren’t seeing a need to increase budgets.Frankly, that’s I.T.’s fault – we need to be better at clearly articulating the need to review, upgrade and replace. To make our superiors buy in to the need to prevention instead of reaction is a key skill to develop.

  • The biggest slice of the budget pie is planned for hardware upgrades, mostly due to EOL systems.

    Again: with I.T. having learned to do more with less, it’s not surprising to hear that there’s now a greater need to replace EOL systems.Breaking down those hardware purchases, I was surprised to see that desktops are top of the list, followed by servers and then laptops. Isn’t everybody on laptops, at this point?! I’m somewhat surprised to hear that desktop system are still so predominant that their purchases outweigh laptops, at this point.

  • Cloud-based backup and recovery is a high priority in the “Cloud Services” category.

    I’d love to see some further detail on this one, specifically what services are under consideration and whether they’re focusing on desktop/laptop or server backup.

I’ll leave you with an actual pullquote from the report:

“… we still have about 50 XP machines out of 120. …we’re putting together another request for desktops that should push us fully into Win7.”

Yeesh.

See the full report here: Spiceworks’ 2015 I.T. Budget Report.

Read More

Spiceworks optimization & best practices

I’m getting ready to migrate my Spiceworks installation to a new system and thought I’d use this as an opportunity to investigate how to improve its performance. In the process, I stumbled onto this article – could be useful:

Speeding up Spiceworks

Some other steps I suggest:

  1. If you use Active Directory, take the time to audit it, looking for old user and computer records, as these will pollute your Spiceworks inventory
  2. Once you’re done with #1, audit the existing inventory in SW itself – look for scan errors, items that haven’t been successfully scanned in a long time and records that have less-complete-than-they-should-be records.
  3. Tweak your alerts – taking the time to get them set up just right can be a good “peace of mind” move (consider having all alerts sent to your mobile device by sending to the appropriate email address)
  4. Take the time to get ALL of your vendor info into SW – this is a pain but is worth it further down the line. Be sure to take advantage of the ability to attach documents (like contracts) to those vendors.
  5. Similarly, take advantage of the customizable “Tools” menu to add links to all of those other sites you rely on manage your systems; having them centrally-located (in SW) is a real timesaver.

For me, the name of the game with a lot of this information centralization is the old “hit by a bus” plan – how easy will it be for someone to fill in your shoes if you ever get hit by a bus? If you’re doing your job right then all of the core IT-related info is (properly) accessible to the right person.

Plus it’s just smart to have this info collected together.

Read More