As a new financial year draws to an end, the important question of how to build and generate traction for the next FY by spending any remaining budget grows closer.
Any departments who spend less toward expenses than given by the company will often find that they are ‘punished’ with lower budgets in the next financial year which maybe when it is needed the most. However, if you and your team are in the enviable position of having budget available, ‘budget dumping’ never really yields the best results as the threshold for purchases through the rest of the year needs to drop to facilitate increased spending.
So, in this period of (use it or lose it) pressure to spend, you’ll no doubt be looking into the best ways to positively impact your development function whilst ensuring the maximum benefit from that spend. Here are 4 tips that you can use when considering where to utilise any extra funds in your end-of year budget:
Tip 1: Align to stratgey
When choosing what to spend on, seek inspiration and certainly verification that it is aligned with the business goals for your company in the next financial year. For example, if the goal for the next FY is to move into faster development, then quicker development cycles. If it is to consolidate on existing markets, then maybe you build a native app to support sales. If it is internationalisation, then tools that can support faster and better deployments abroad will help, for example improved CDNs, localisation products and localisation testing services will support this.
Tip 2: Bet on quality
Customers love a site or app that works, yet many companies don’t always deliver their UAT as extensively as they should as there isn’t sufficient time for testing to cover all the important customer scenarios on the relevant platforms. This unfortunately can lead to valuable customers dropping off.
Much of this testing is left to internal teams who have seen the same website time and time again, so boosting UAT with fresh eyes is likely to yield the ‘unknown unknown’s’ that the team may not have spotted through the rest of the year, and this is likely to boost the conversion rate. Coupling an improved UAT strategy with a full-site audit with a ‘at-scale’ crowdsourced testing company is a great way to go as this will give the scale and range of devices that is likely to spot issues that you are not aware of, whilst being able to deliver in the timescales needed.
As an example, a recent client of Digivante’s in the tourism and leisure market saw a near 50% increase in conversions after resolving several issues found during a full site audit which included problems with various certain devices and certain flows through the buying process.
Tip 3: Check out the latest tech
Who doesn’t love getting an exciting toy to play with? But whilst it may not be Christmas, end-of- year budgets do allow for some experimentation with the latest tech; perhaps buying in a new tool, trialling out a new integration product, or even experimenting with different fulfilment options. Equally if you have a development team budget responsibility, they may be interested in trialling out some of the development sin coding such as AI-assisted coding, or low-coding or trying more containerised solutions.
Here the key is to research into what is likely to help good results for your conversion and retention rates, which could actually be from some unexpected areas.
Tip 4: Recognise your team
There is a lot you can do to recognise the team at end of year and spend that little bit of money on ensuring that they feel better heading into the next financial year. Here are a few ideas:
• Training. What’s not to like about supporting your staff with training? It will help build your teams skills meaning that they may be more productive as well as engendering more commitment and dedication to the company. So, if there are opportunities to develop your teams’ skills, then now is a great to take them up.
• Environment. If you are looking around the office (if you are still in one) and thinking it looks a little tired, then a bit of a spruce-up could be a good way to spend some budget, even if it may not be specifically from the dev budget. Proven to improve morale and productivity, some funky workspace changes could make the team happier.
• Tools. As well as buying some hi-tech products, standardised tools are also a good option for an end of FY spend. For example, you may not be on Jira and the move to it may be a good option, or maybe there are some other standardised tools that would be good to transition to?
• Team building. Bringing the team together can also develop loyalty and improved team working. So, for a relatively low spend, you can bring your team on a day-out and perhaps a meal together at the end of the day which will really help the team cement their relationships outside of a pure working environment. Undoubtedly this will lead to better working relationships and, hopefully, more productivity.
There are a lot of options when it comes to spending the budget available at the end of the year. However, a few wise choices can set you and your team up perfectly for the next year, to improve quality, morale, productivity, and collaboration. Hopefully this blog helps you curb the dreaded irrational budget dumping and supports you in considering how to spend your year-end budget wisely for you, your team and company.