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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
4/3/2008
07:57 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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CIOs And Spring Cleaning

Given everything that's going on right now -- talk of recession, the presidential election, the baseball season starting up -- it's a good time for tech chiefs to take stock and do a little (or maybe a lot of) housekeeping. Here are a few thoughts.

Given everything that's going on right now -- talk of recession, the presidential election, the baseball season starting up -- it's a good time for tech chiefs to take stock and do a little (or maybe a lot of) housekeeping. Here are a few thoughts.First, let me tip my hat to the people at Micro Focus, a vendor of application portfolio management tools. It was an e-mail the company's PR rep sent that inspired me to write this blog (guided, as I always am, by T.S. Eliot's famous dictum: Good artists imitate, great artists steal).

And so, here are my suggestions for IT spring cleaning, based mostly on conversations with CIOs and also some personal observation. Please add or subtract (in the comment field below) as you see fit.

1) Inventory your applications and look to downsize. You know there are apps in your organization that you don't really need any more, that are sucking up valuable compute cycles and bandwidth, not to mention maintenance costs. Forget the if-it-ain't-broke reasoning: Money wasted is just that.

2) Make sure your resources are allocated correctly. And here I'm thinking of human resources, mainly. Are outsourcing contracts performing as they should? Do you really need those high-priced consultants? Look for alternatives: flex time, part time, domestic services organizations, retired IT workers. Alternatives are out there; tight times increase their number.

3) Look to technology to help. Server virtualization is a relatively straightforward fix that can help cut hardware costs almost right away. Software as a service is in the same category, but not as straightforward.

4) Be brutal. Just as you must force yourself to part with that broken squash racket and your favorite old jeans (now too tight) when doing spring cleaning at home, be disciplined and critical when looking at your IT architecture. "No pain, no gain" certainly applies here.

Don't be afraid to advocate investing capital to (ultimately) get IT spending under control. That was the advice of Randy Mott, CIO of Hewlett-Packard, back in January, and it still applies. Sure, times are tight, but there's no better time to rationalize overall IT spending than when it's really needed -- when every buck counts.

Once again, a tip of the hat to Micro Focus, which the PR person describes as "the IT spring-cleaning experts."

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