Setting strategic and efficient IT budgets is a top priority for businesses of all sizes, but it’s an even greater concern for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). When resources are limited, every dollar must be allocated for maximum impact.
Before we can answer what your IT services should cost you, we need to look into which factors are driving IT costs and what you can’t afford to leave off the table.
In this blog, we will look at and provide some explanation to the following questions:
- What’s driving the cost of IT services?
- Which technology clusters should you focus on?
- Which services are typically included in your IT package and are often offered at an additional fee?
What’s driving up IT spending?
In a recent study, 61% of companies expected their revenues to increase in 2022, while only 8% expected revenues to decrease. (1) These same companies sited that they would prioritize IT projects to stabilize employee productivity, manage risk, and grow their bottom line.
Here are some of the factors identified as driving up the costs of IT services:
- Cyber Security Risks – At the top of the list is an increased need to secure data on the network. Security concerns have heightened as more employees work from home, and cyber threats have become more prevalent.
- Employee Growth – Occupational employment projections for 2022 point to growth in the job market by 10.8-percent, immediately increasing the number of employees that will access the network and require IT support.
- Need to Support Remote Workers – Remote work is here to stay. As time goes on and more workers and employers adjust to the virtual workplace, it’s clear that an increasing need to support multiple devices and employees on the network is on the rise.
- Price Increases in the Market Place – With gas prices skyrocketing and inflation soaring, businesses need to stabilize spending and reduce costs.
- Need to Update IT infrastructure and Move to the Cloud – In 2022, software/application compatibility is gaining greater importance jumping from 28% in 2020 to 34% in 2022, which suggests new needs as organizations refresh older operating systems and/or migrate to cloud-based environments that don’t work well with legacy software. 
Technology Clusters to Focus on in 2022
IT budgets allocated to the Cloud and managed services will grow YoY, taking share away from hardware and software as some workloads shift away from on-premises data centers. Cloud research supports this claim as 50% of all business workloads are expected to run in the Cloud by 2023, up from 40% in 2021. 
During the early stages of the pandemic, most organizations didn’t have the infrastructure, licenses, or architecture in place to cope with most of their staff working from home. New services and technology were purchased outside of what was initially budgeted to ensure some form of business continuity. As things have stabilized, clients are revaluating their security posture and investing into strategic areas that might not have had the required attention during the early pandemic.
The cost of not securing your data is too high for businesses to risk. Crypto lock, ransomware, and the sale of customer data on the dark web are looming threats demanding a higher share of the IT spend.
Business leaders realize that the network is the enabler that unlocks the potential for new ways of working. This is done by enabling connectivity to business-critical services, providing the foundation to support business across vast geographical areas, and fundamentally changing functional services by adopting newer connectivity technologies. These include software-defined approaches using Wi-Fi-6 and software-defined WAN to optimize performance and connectivity to the Cloud and between data centers and cloud networking technologies.
NEXT-GENERATION COLLABORATION & WORK ALLOCATION
The remote workforce has forced business leaders to (re)evaluate how they leverage collaboration and communication across different teams and locations. New policies around how meeting rooms are used, file sharing, and similar issues are now being considered. Analytics on how meeting facilities are being used and the user experience for remote and on-premises staff have driven up the rapid adoption of collaboration tools and a need for policy. IT services to support these services and applications are only due to increase in 2022.
BACKUP & RECOVERY
As the pandemic sent workers home, organizations became more aware of having solid backup, recovery, and continuity planning. Discussions around business-critical applications have taken center stage and what impact a possible (re)architecting of on-site and Cloud infrastructure will play in ensuring future scalability, adaptability, and performance.
Which services should be included in my IT package?
Not all IT packages are created equal. As the economy continues to evolve, IT services change with it, leaving many business leaders with the nagging question of what their IT services should truly cost.
As a 30-year veteran of IT and communication services, we’ve created a comparison of IT services to help you understand the differences between the minimal IT services needed, the new “standard” for IT services, and additional services that add greater value to your organization.
Click the chart below to download the IT Services Comparison chart. Remember that IT services are priced all over the board, and you want to make sure the services you need are not billed as an after-thought or bolted-on service.