Has anyone produced or know of some type of "Dave Ramsay"esque general guide to IT budgeting in terms of general percentages that should be kept in tension? I have encountered several situations lately where I have engaged vendors for quotes to improve a situation and they are coming in several thousand dollars over what I feel can/should be spending.
I am trying to settle in my head whether my eyes bigger than my budget categories or I have the budget categories and the expectations for those categories setup incorrectly for my situation. What are the guide posts that you use?
Wouldn’t the Dave Ramsey method be to walk around with a big envelope full of cash to buy everything? That will be super fun when it comes time to buy a SAN… :-p Seriously, I have no “method”, other than to constantly bounce my ideas off of colleagues here (and in citrt Slack), ask what they are paying for this or that, always keeping my eye out for a system/app that could save money or let ministry be done in a more cost saving way.
That said, one of the things I’ve learned in 11+ years of Church IT is that “saving” doesn’t always equate to actual MONEY. Sometimes paying a bit more for something if it saves a bunch of time or labor makes total sense. Being a “good steward” (in my opinion) isn’t always about getting the cheapest thing possible, or constructing some system out of “free” OSS software and a cluster of Raspberry PIs that no one but you will ever be able to run or understand. It’s doing what MAKES SENSE for your org with the least amount of dollars and/or time, and doing what is common among your peers (free support if you run what your buddy runs, right?). That’s my .02.
I totally agree with Jim but I’m going to add one more thing that I’ve learned. If the current of your culture is going one way, have real good reasons for going agains the flow just to save some money or implement a better system/solution. There are wins other than just saving money and sometimes those are found with saying yes. It is a real case by case decision though.
So in you’re case, maybe it’s saying yes to that purchase that is more expensive than you wish if it gets you where you want to go. That might mean saying no all to gether to something else just to have the money for that one big purchase.
Once of the best things we as a church did early on was hire a firm to setup our entire network when we went from one campus to four. I didn’t have enough experience to do it myself then and we paid a premium for the the company to set it all up and we got overkill hardware, but that network lasted us 8 years and allowed me to focus on the hundreds of other things that came up in the years to follow.