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Software for IT Budgeting and Planning? 37

Posted by Cliff
from the watch-every-[insert-currency-here]-spent dept.
MoneyConscious asks: "My company is still pretty small (100 people) and has never had any real structure around much of its operations. I manage the IT group and would like to get a handle on our yearly budget - expected expenditures for planned (and some unplanned) projects, plus regular maintenance and growth. I've taken a crack at a few different spreadsheets, but always seem to come up with something a few weeks later that requires a re-write of the budget (for instance, planned versus actual cost). We are a mix of Windows and Linux, so I have some flexibility in regards to budgeting software solutions (web-based SourceForge apps, Excel templates, and the like). What tools do you use to keep track of estimates and record actual expenditures to see how your budget process is doing?"
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Software for IT Budgeting and Planning?

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  • by nberardi (199555) * on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @07:22PM (#14870845) Homepage
    I hope I don't get flamed for this, but I personally like Microsoft Project Server. It is a great tool and offers many capabilities that I would not have with out it. For instance my staff can put in their hours they worked on projects so that I can better track their time.
  • by sampas (256178) * on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @07:36PM (#14870943)
    It sounds like you should take a course in Project Management, and get a handle on how people handle budgeting and resource issues for projects, large and small.

    Microsoft's Project can do this, but it isn't going to help much if you don't know anything about the project management models. You can even get a PM Certification [pmi.org] now, which is in demand these days. While Project is helpful, there still aren't publicly available estimators for IT/IS projects: it's still easier to estimate how much building a skyscraper will cost (cost per square foot) than implementing MS Exchange in terms of cost per client.

    In our IS projects, we think in terms of cost per function point, interface, and sync item.

    MS Project can export in and out of MS Excel, of course. There are even third-party add-ons for MS Project [criticaltools.com].

    Typical MBA textbook on Project Management:
    Grey & Larson [amazon.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:16PM (#14871264)
    What always worked for me was getting a good overview of the current costs, expected change in your department. Then go see all the responsible, take a look at their schedule and deduce what they will require from you, when you have done all this make the big sum. So far, so good, and now the tricky part ... add 20%, and you shouldn't be to far from what you should have spent at the end of the year.

    It requires time, experience, imagination and most important listening skills (and do not forget the 20% ;-)

    Oh yeah responding to the question: a nice set of spreadsheet is the only thing you really need software wise.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:19PM (#14871694)
    Also recommended [amazon.com]
  • Openworkbench (Score:2, Informative)

    by tubs (143128) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:14AM (#14873374)
    Persoanlly I've not used it for any project planning, but if MS Project is out of your reach why not try OpenWorkBench

    http://www.openworkbench.org/ [openworkbench.org]

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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