Someone recently asked me about how I felt about technology policy in the schools. Given perpetually restricted budgets, how would our schools be able to fund the computers, software, and training required to give our kids a leg up?
I stammered. As a technology guy, I should certainly have an opinion. I mumbled, but had no insightful perspective into the artful finessing of technology budgets.
Later, of course, I realized that technology budgeting — this compartmentalized approach to technology is a perspective I haven’t thought about for years. After spending over 20 years in technology, I could not describe how it should be funded.
Budget and funding discussions are tools to discover, discuss, and communicate priorities. Budget categories allocate resources based on those priorities.
This is not unlike the simple act of ordering dinner at a nice restaurant.
In reading the menu, perhaps the salad and dessert both sound wonderful. But, if our customer does not have enough money or calories allocated for both, they must make a choice.
This is how technology is discussed and debated amongst the technology budgeteers of the world. Choose your dish carefully. (Never mind they are ordering food for their whole organization.)
As a marketing technology “chef”, I tend to think of technology as a spice. A spice enhances the flavor of each bite, each course. Enhancing the potential of every meal served in the restaurant, to every customer.
Spice and salt may be the most powerful ingredients in food. But, considering that benefit, salt and spices are rarely a costly ingredient. They differentiate your dish from all other foods. In the hands of a great cook, salt and spice makes the meal.
So ask yourself, which of your budget categories would benefit from a touch of spice?
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