What you will learn from this tip: Building a storage budget -- and getting it approved -- is an annual uphill battle. By taking a business-plan approach to the process, you'll have a better chance of getting a green light.
To a beleaguered storage manager, it may seem like the CIO and CFO are working as a tag team to "Just say no" to storage budget proposals that call for an increase over last year's budget. So how can a storage director make a sustainable and substantiated case for the expenditures required to manage and protect one of the organization's most valuable assets, its data? By using facts, financials and fear, an organizationally aware and prepared storage director can present the CFO with a budget proposal that's based on familiar business terms, contains options for discretionary funding and focuses on tangible services provided to clients.
Talking tech to a CFO could spell doom for a budget proposal. But a budget proposal crafted in CFO terminology; addressing known CFO hot buttons, fears and motivations; and offering risk-reward options substantially increases the odds that your negotiations will yield an appropriate end budget. The budget should be presented as a proposal of prioritized segments, and be in the form of business plans that associate investment with reward and risk.
Step 1: Build a business plan
The first step is to build a mini business plan for each tier of service. The goal is to present the case for storage in a manner familiar to executive decision-making, allowing management to see what's being provided/sold, to whom, at what cost and, most importantly, the value at risk in this product/service offering. It's the latter component, the business impact value, that justifies the expenditure. The business plan should follow traditional formats, preferably those already used in your organization. Some key factors to consider include:
Step 2: The facts
This step involves developing the statistical evidence that will substantiate your proposed budget expenditure. You need to identify the following for each service tier:
- Archiving retention, retrieval and refresh costs.
- Backup retention and retrieval costs.
- DR testing costs.
- Typically, a competent techie can master up to three different technologies.
- Number of provisionings per month per employee.
- Number of alerts per month per employee.
- Number of cartridge ejects per month per employee.
- Loadings based on complexity of the environment.
Read more of this tip in Storage magazine.
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About the author: Dick Benton is a senior consultant with GlassHouse Technologies in Framingham, Mass., specializing in storage management practices and disaster recovery.