Tips for enhancing IT's role in improving the current economy

IT can help improve the current economy by participating in a strategic planning process that includes cutting costs, measuring performance and prioritizing projects

It is critical in this current economy for organizations to recognize IT's role in cost containment, resource allocation, project prioritization, performance measurement and new technology evaluation and implementation. CIOs should take the necessary steps during their strategic planning processes to do more with less and cut costs in a way that will still bring value to the business.

Below are suggestions for initiatives that CIOs can consider starting or stopping in an effort to better operate in the current economy:

Start

  • Re-evaluate projects so there are deliverables that provide business benefits every 90 days.

  • Set IT budget cost reduction goals in your strategic planning process and reduce the total IT budget.

  • Renegotiate all maintenance contracts.

  • Consolidate your database management system and any other infrastructure tools.

  • Streamline and then completely redraw the IT architecture -- this effort could take as long as five years, but benefits will be seen within the first 12 months.

  • Hire an experienced outsourcing consultant and take advantage of new offshoring opportunities.

  • Extend the lifecycles of desktop and laptop computers by adding memory or faster drives.

  • Assess IT licenses and contractually reduce those that are not in use.

  • Increase user adoption of more centralized systems and shed usage of side systems such as Excel spreadsheets.

  • Consolidate servers, data centers and support.

Stop/complete

  • Stop unfinished projects and transform your business activities and IT processes in ways that will strengthen your systems.

  • Stop focusing on media portrayals and comparative studies; instead focus on your own situation.

  • Eliminate redundant software packages.

  • Complete or create good documentation (this allows for faster troubleshooting).

  • Retire older or legacy systems.

  • Complete any systems that require extra IT effort (i.e., a purchasing system that is mostly automated, but some purchases are still conducted manually).

  • Complete the integration of any systems from mergers and acquisitions.

Dean Lane is principal of Office of the CIO Inc. He can be reached at dlane@oocio.com. Let us know what you think about the story; email editor@searchcio.com.

This was first published in January 2009
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