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IT best practices in 2009: Lessons learned for 2010

Enterprise CIOs will likely remember 2009 as the year "doing more with less" evolved from an IT best practice into a necessity in the midst of an economic recession. Although the transition called for cost cutting and tough decisions, innovative IT organizations thrived, using IT best practices to achieve cost savings in their core technology areas.

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In this month's CIO Briefing, find out how CIOs used IT best practices in areas such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), cloud computing, IT outsourcing and business process management to drive efficiency in their organizations. You'll also learn how they're carrying these lessons forward in their IT plans for 2010.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

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  ITIL best practices
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Adoption of ITIL best practices continued to grow at a steady rate in 2009. However, many practitioners still complained that there wasn't enough ITIL buy-in or support needed within their organizations to realize its full value.

Going into 2010, IT executives suggest focusing on identifying and implementing the ITIL processes that will bring your business the quickest wins and most visibility. Learn how three ITIL users are finding ways to slowly but surely integrate ITIL best practices into the business.

Learn more in "ITIL best practices and lessons for the new year." Also, catch up on other ITIL developments with these stories from 2009:

  Server virtualization and cloud computing lessons
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A combination of server virtualization, Software as a Service applications and, soon, cloud-based storage meant so much savings for Extra Space Storage Inc. in 2009 that a competitor is actually copying the IT model, CIO Bill Hoban said.

But for Extra Space Storage, a self-service storage space provider with 685 facilities and 2,500 employees, it has meant new functionality it couldn't have afforded otherwise, plus potential funding for other projects.

Extra Space Storage saved $100,000 to $150,000 on the cost of a new data center chiller when it introduced server virtualization. The company went from 63 servers to 46 using VMware Inc.'s ESX and Hoban said he plans to reduce that number by another 31 servers in 2010.

Find out more in "Server virtualization and cloud computing carry savings into 2010" and other cloud computing stories from 2009:

  IT outsourcing trends
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IT outsourcing in 2009 ebbed and flowed as the recession-challenged global economy contracted IT budgets before loosening its grip a bit toward the end of the year. Along the way, many in-house IT jobs were eliminated, and many enterprise CIOs looked outside the office walls for IT outsourcing partners who could replace lost skills and globalize organizations as they anticipate a more hopeful 2010.

CIOs learned a lot in 2009 about the pros and cons of IT outsourcing. We checked back with some of the IT executives whose IT outsourcing arrangements we profiled in 2009 to find out which lessons they will carry forward into 2010.

Learn more in "IT outsourcing in 2009 and beyond: Lessons learned for the new year." Want to find out more about IT outsourcing in 2009? Check out the following stories:

  IT security and risk lessons
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IT security and risk was a high-stakes game in the Great Recession. The familiar adage of doing more with less started looking like doing more with nothing as the downturn wore on. That was the note sounded, anyway, as we checked back with some of the CIOs and chief information security officers whose IT security projects we profiled in 2009.

To accomplish what needed to be done, some discovered they had to take big risks in order to minimize risks. For example: making a bet on a startup vendor, putting their jobs on the line to change entrenched behaviors, or just changing how business got done, period, as layoffs forced more automation. (One CIO was troubled that the very automation that IT facilitated in 2009 means fewer jobs in the future.)

Whether security will be such a high-risk endeavor in 2010, or as fraught with moral dilemmas, remains to be seen. But here are some tactics -- and attitudes -- that served your peers well in 2009. We hope they can augment your IT security and risk management practices in 2010.

Read the full story, "Six lessons in IT security and risk from the Great Recession," and learn more about IT security in the following stories:

  Virtual desktop benefits
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Server virtualization was just the beginning in terms of cost savings and efficiencies gained in the data center. The next phase in 2010 calls for virtual desktops and more.

IT leaders are now looking at their storage systems, applications and desktops to see what else can be virtualized. And they are establishing self-service programs for provisioning and investing in virtual machine management tools to gain additional efficiencies.

Hundreds of desktops in Mississippi's Rankin County are getting a virtual makeover that will let Billy Rials, director of IT for the county, send a software update to all desktops -- just once.

And as a result, old servers and desktops have found new life under the county's virtualization program. "We've retrofitted many PCs that were ready for the crusher as Citrix terminals," Rials said.

Find out more in "For 2010, virtual desktops can squeeze more life out of old systems." Also, read these stories on virtualization in 2009:

  Business process management tools
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Business process management (BPM) tools re-emerged in 2009 as a way to streamline processes and increase efficiency during the lowest points of the recession. And they will continue to help IT managers improve process workflows throughout the business, sometimes in novel ways.

In a look back at last year, two IT executives with BPM success stories share what they've learned and offer suggestions for how others can achieve similar benefits.

Get their stories in "Lessons in efficiency: Business process management tools for 2010." Discover more about BPM in 2009 with these stories:

  IT in 2009: The Real Niel looks back
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Each year, we lay out our strategic plan for IT. Once the year starts, the plans start to change. We can't always anticipate how changes in technology will change our projects, plans and schedule. On top of that, our internal and external customers are constantly changing their priorities, likes, dislikes and initiatives. So, I have trained myself to lay out a general plan but also have the IT governance and market intelligence processes in place to make sure that I am adapting as needs change.

I pulled out my original plan for IT in 2009 and compared it with what we actually did. We were not even close: 2009 became the year of IT cost management. We stalled projects, delayed projects, renegotiated every IT contract we could find and tried to hold our own. But working our cost structure was not our only priority. We knew that eventually things would turn around, and we wanted to come out of the downturn with improved capabilities. I focused on staff development, process improvements and a few skunkworks projects that will pay off once we can scale them up.

Learn more in "IT in 2009: The good, the bad and the ugly." Get more IT management lessons learned in 2009 with these stories:

  More resources
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This was first published in January 2010

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