IT Housecleaning: A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Page 2


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

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Take a look at budgeting. One way to prioritize projects quickly is to draw a sharp distinction between discretionary and non-discretionary projects. Non-discretionary infrastructure projects can continue to be funded by the enterprise but discretionary projects should be funded completely by the business. This will help with technology demand and with project accountability. The last thing IT wants is a long list of under-funded projects destined to be late or likely to fail.

Introduce charge-back accounting for all technology projects. This will provide accountability and transparency – both in short supply before the world came to an end.

Next, look at your partners – and the contracts that tie you together. Now is the time to renegotiate all of them. Even if you’re happy with a vendor’s performance now’s the time to insist on a better deal – which you can get since the vendor is already way behind quota for last year and already for this year. You might also conduct a “stress test” of the relationship. Is the vendor a true partner or a pain in the ass? Does the vendor add measurable value or barely contribute to your business? Could you get along just fine with fewer vendors to which you give less money? Are the vendors that you’ve already hired fully utilized?

It’s time to revisit the SLAs that bind you together. It’s time to introduce shared risk contracting and key-person clauses as well.

How about your hardware and applications? Assess your hardware architecture, server farms, data centers and optimization technologies like virtualization and voice-over-IP. Now is the time to “rationalize” the applications portfolio – and think about whole new alternatives, like open source solutions and software-as-a-service. A lot of digital technology is redundant and expendable.

Make sure you exploit this crisis. We all know how reluctant companies are to do anything, let alone things that are controversial or confrontational. But when the building’s on fire we’ll do just about anything to get out alive. Now’s your chance to fix some things you’ve been thinking about for years. Get to it before they put out the fire.

Steve Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business at Villanova University where he conducts applied research in business fl‡ technology convergence. He is also the co-founder of The Acentio Group, a new economy consortium that focuses on optimizing investments in information technology. He is formerly the Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy at CIGNA Corporation. His career began at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency where he was the Director of Cybernetics Technology. He can be reached at stephen.andriole@villanova.edu.

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Tags: services, software, management, support, Enterprise

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