The Business-Technology Weave

Jan 5 2011   1:36PM GMT

Investing in IT and business during difficult economic times

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


Budgets are tight, routinely cut… definitely not being raised except where absolutely, absolutely, necessary.  Negotiations are probably often accompanied by begging.  Back in my day, I occasionally heard shouting – until I promised to stop.

Obviously, today we must invest efficiently.  Even in the best of times, there is never room for waste and wrong turns – or shouldn’t be.  With appropriate survey, understanding of need, and fit of solution to the situation at-hand, you should be able to target deliveries effectively in delivering best systems and best solutions.

Of course, supporting best business practices means utilizing best delivery-to-business practices.  Otherwise, it means nothing to deliver something on budget and on time – if it is not also on target.

The “solution” must solve.


Necessary is accurate survey by IT in making assessment of business needs and trajectories.  Too, business must make timely and accurate exposures of anticipated changes.  Depending on the size of your organization, have monthly or quarterly meetings expressly dedicated to change and implementations:  The Business Implementation Team (BIT).  At least have a schedule – if there’s nothing to discuss, the leader may cancel any particular regularized meeting:  simple.  But give BIT, and your organization’s managed forward progress, respect by having it on the calendar.


This team should view all business-IT activity as a four legged stool, the seat upon which everything, everything, rests.  Those things include Accuracy, Efficiency, Success, Longevity, True Progression…  Business.


The legs of that stool are:  ROI; TCO; TtV; and StA.  Respectively and briefly:


Return On Investment:  Ultimately, you buy stuff – how soon does it drive and yield profit?


Total Cost of Ownership:  All costs – initial outlay, upgrades, licenses/subscription costs, compliances with regulatory burdens, maintenance, and so on, and so on…


Time to Value:  How soon is something a “player”?  Whether servers, software or people, for example, how soon does anything begin delivering returns (on investment)?


Sweating the Assets:  (StA) – Ah, you were wondering about this one, weren’t you?  This involves wringing every measure of worth and performance from something – physical assets as well as people.  Look to utilize things across various functional areas.  Organizations frequently have redundant assets in various departments, when a central single “station” might serve.  Another example:  Organizations “over license” software and related things by as much as 20%. 


Depending on the size of your organization, you may consider investing in asset inventory software; obviously it must save enough to not only pay for itself, but to generate a return.  Break-even propositions do not present a return on investment.


Perhaps you’re tight on storage space – review your CM plan.  “Extend the serve”:  leverage the asset.  Cast about for where else an asset can be utilized; look for things that can serve many functions, functional areas, similar lines of business, similar people by virtue of job roles, etc.


Hey:  You can’t manage what you don’t know.  Get a handle on your “asset base.” 


It’s all about producing value for stakeholders.  Once you have a reputation for producing value for stakeholders… for delivering returns to business… that reputation will make all the difference when budgeting IT for best business outcomes – difficult economic times notwithstanding.



NP:  Alamode – Art Blakey –  Smokin’

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