Even if you have a budget to brag about, finding the money for innovation is a challenge. Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. calculates that only 24% of IT budgets today go to new initiatives. Where does the rest go? To what Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels calls MOOSE : maintain, operate, organization, systems and equipment.
Step one: This is a complete inventory. Know what you have, where it is, and whether it's leased and covered by warranties. One way to shrink your MOOSE is through application portfolio management and asset management. It is not unusual for companies to locate six underutilized Intel servers, each with a separate application, or uncover serious risks, like five PCs running Windows 98, Symons said. Know the cost and value of maintaining custom applications, from legacy COBOL to the Java programs written last month.
Step two: Map the IT assets discovered in step one to the business processes they support.
Step three: Retire obsolete assets and applications, remove redundancies, upgrade out-of-date systems and standardize wherever possible.
Step four: Optimize. Come up with a methodology for measuring IT business value. Symons said Intel's IT department came up with a formula that he considers among the best, and the company makes the information available on its Web site.
"The goal of managing MOOSE is not just to reduce costs," Bartels said. "It's to get on to the important goal -- which is to help the business change. Now is the time to do it because the CEO is not knocking on your door asking for stuff," he said, referring to the fact that CEOs aren't throwing dollars and new requests at IT departments the way they once did. "You have to build innovation capacity for the next transforming period when technology becomes hot again."