It’s an unfortunate truth of the business world — most organizations overspend on IT. Whether through simple ignorance or poor planning, far too many CIOs manage departments so fat it’s a wonder they can function at all. Worse, no one really seems to have any idea what they should do about it. They just keep chugging along, tossing more and more capital into the pit.
Ask yourself honestly — is your business among them?
It’s alright if the answer was yes. You aren’t alone in that — nor are you alone in wanting to cut down how much you spend. That’s the topic of today’s piece — how can you force your IT department to tone up and trim down?
Outsource With The Cloud
Assuming your organization’s actually prepared to make the transition to the cloud, you can save vast amounts of money by adopting cloud architecture. Not only does the cloud make make distribution of software significantly easier for your IT department, it’s also capable of automating a host of different tasks which originally required a large number of staff to manage. You’ll spend less on power and hardware, you’ll need fewer employees, and you’ll be able to run everything with far more agility than if you took a traditional approach.
Look At Your Finances
Not every vendor out there has your best interests in mind. You need to be willing to negotiate prices with them — and to walk away if you feel they’re being unreasonable. While we’re on the topic, take a close look at how much you’re spending on support (and the cloud, too, if you’ve adopted it)— there’s a good chance you’re committing more capital to it than strictly necessary.
Examine Development Processes
Although I’m a bit hesitant to use the terms — they’re practically buzzwords — you should examine both DevOps and Agile Development and consider whether your IT department has implemented either of them. The former involves close collaboration between developers and IT operations, who need to work together to implement efficient development and deployment processes, while the latter emphasizes shorter development cycles and continuous deployment (as opposed to simply building an application to static specifications).
Use Only What You Need
Learn to say “no” to your CIO. Do you really need new hardware when your current technology works perfectly well? Does your organization really need to install a bunch of new servers when you can simply scale into the cloud? There’s an old saying I like to fall back on in this regard — “don’t manufacture a tornado simply to blow out a match.”
Change Your Outlook
According to Alistair Croll of Information Week, one of the biggest obstacles to leaner, more efficient IT is tied directly to how people view their company. They see a business as an organization rather than an organism. Consequently, they view many of the most powerful components of lean IT — DevOps, cloud computing, and agile development — as modular organs that function separately from their own departments.
“Organizations don’t want a security department,” explains Croll. “They want an immune system. They don’t want a customer support desk — they want a reflex action. Organizations regulate, deregulate, and proceduralize; organisms react, respond, and learn.”
In short, by viewing your business as an organic, interconnected whole rather than a system of modular departments, you’ll develop the precise outlook necessary to trim down your IT department — and the rest of your business, while you’re at it.
Trimming The Fat
Far too many organizations overspend on IT — then proceed to mismanage it. This ultimately leads to fat, cumbersome departments incapable of real agility. Hopefully, the advice provided in this piece will help you distance yourself from them — and whip your own IT department into shape in the process.
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