Doing more with less – IT and the Economy

For many IT departments, 2009 is turning out to be the year they’re doing more with less. At more, with a lot less. With a lot more uncertainty. I believe that there’s going to be more pressure on organizations and on IT organizations than we’ve ever seen.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities, and perhaps they are the opportunities that we’d choose, but I believe there’s an option here for some companies to turn a the crisis into an opportunity to reexamine what they’re doing and look for new opportunities. I think the organizations that are willing to work and take risks now, will be the ones gaining benefits down the road.

To help stimulate a discussion (if not the economy), it’s worth calling out a few ways in which organizations can manage (or even reduce) IT costs while retaining (or even increasing) functionality.

One of the first ways is to make sure you’re working more closely with the business–when it comes to everything from application development to maintenance to governance. In fact, you can start by stopping–it’s a good time to clear the decks and realign priorities and value to the new economic landscape. Start by working more closely with business leaders, sharing the projects you currently have, and their priorities, and then work with business leaders to determine which ones are most critical.

One potentially practical tip for stepping back and savings some resources or money might be in temporarily (depending on business requirements) agreeing to reduce services levels, for example, on select systems or applications. Perhaps an organization could reduce service levels by increasing the amount of time the help desk has to respond to requests (say from 2 hours to 4 hours) or lengthening the amount of time IT has after a disaster to get systems (or selected systems) back on line.

Of course, any changes like these have to be a joint decision with the business. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea for all IT groups to take a step back and make look for opportunities to save or cut back on resources and spending where they can–as long as those cuts or savings are aligned with business needs.


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