Budgets Are Not Solutions

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“We do not have the budget for that.”

I hear this a lot in my role as a pre-sales solutions architect. I have no problem with this statement being made. I might be pre-sales, but the price of the solution is not my focus. My role is to evaluate the needs of the business and to explore what technologies will properly address those needs. I then present a design using those technologies to the customer.

I also assist the sales person to obtain discounts from the manufacturer and to set our margins to ensure that the customer is given a fair price. I do not want my customers to spend too much on their IT solutions, but I also want my company to make a profit. My goal is to provide the right solution that ensures a happy customer and a profitable business. It is great work, and I enjoy doing it.

But some people get stuck on “We do not have the budget for that!”

IT solutions can come with a high dollar amount, and the customer’s job is to make sure that his or her company acquires the right solution while also remaining profitable. A client asking for a deeper discount, questioning if the specs of the design are greater than what is needed, or checking to see if my competitor can offer the same solution at a lower price are all reasonable actions that I encourage my clients to take. Clients need to think of their bottom line.

But then there is the argument “I said that we do not have the budget for that!!!”

Some folks repeat this statement as if it were a mantra to protect themselves from a mystical commerce curse. Unfortunately magic does not fix IT problems.

I get it that a business might not be able to afford the optimal IT solution. I have a friend who is considering refurbished equipment, because his small business needs more powerful gear but he cannot afford to buy the gear new. Normally I would not suggest that a business buy refurbished equipment, but this friend’s need is faster equipment and he is willing accept the drawbacks of using refurbished equipment. He would prefer to buy new, but he needs to buy refurbished.

You gotta’ do what you gotta’ do!

But then that persistent cry wails above the treetops in some IT shops: “BUT WE DON’T HAVE THE BUDGET FOR THAT!!!”

My friend has his IT strategy on track. His budget is not dictating his needs. His budget is not telling him what to buy. His budget is determining how much he can spend on a solution. If he was not able to buy refurbished equipment he was going to have to increase the budget for IT. He was going to have to take money away from other parts of the business. He understand that his budget does not solve his IT problems.

Only his IT solution solves his IT problems.

If I come to see you, and I tell you that you need a particular solution please understand that I did consider your budget as part of the design process. By working together my clients and I can often find a quality solution that fits their budget. Sometimes though the client’s needs are greater than what they budgeted for.

At that point you can tell me as much as you want how you do not have the budget for the solution that I have proposed. That is fine. I completely understand your situation.

Just do not be angry when I respond by telling you that you not only have an IT problem, but a budget problem as well. Budgets will not solve your problem. Good IT professionals who understand your business’s needs and have access to the right technologies do solve problems.

And what do the customers who solve their IT problems say?

“We do not have the budget for that, but it is what we need. Will you help us with the purchase of this solution?”

Absolutely! That is what IT professionals do.

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