Today most companies are suffering through tough financial times. Every manager and department head in the company is being challenged to reduce expenditures. It is the role of IT leadership to find solutions to reduce costs while maintaining and improving IT services. The key to any change is to start it. You do not have to do everything at once, but pick a starting point and start TODAY.
- In today’s economic times IT budgets are tight. Cutbacks, project delays and a reduction of capital expenditures are commonplace. You need to identify ways in which every department can quickly and painlessly reduce their current IT expenditures. In the same way you balance your own budget prioritize expenditures between what IT must have to function, what would be nice to have to improve services and what can be put off until business capital can support them.
- Develop an action plan for every department. In it they should address their top five IT issues. Sit down with department heads and work through their current issues. This will identify areas for improvement. These lists should be published and regularly reviewed to show progress.
- Develop standard configurations for each department to minimize the purchase of unnecessary hardware, software and services. Each area should have a written plan explaining what their current situation is and the rational for the expenditure. All alternatives should be explored from open source alternatives and less expensive alternatives to what is the pain factor of delaying the expenditure. The result should be a plan that is in alignment with the business needs, not in the “nice to haves”.
- Work with the quality management department (create one if you do not have one) and the business department to identify how current work practices can be improved. Continuous improvement should be an integral part of any IT department. There is always a way to do it better and cheaper. Review current processes and set in motion a plan for each department. Improvement does not have to come in massive overhauls. In fact it is better to use the Kaizen method of gradual but continuous improvement so as not to disrupt the flow of IT services.
- Each department should have metrics to show how they are progressing. Hold regular meetings to review their progress. Schedule a meeting with the entire department team to explain what the business priorities are and how each person can help to realize cost reduction and process improvement.
Once you have a plan in place dig in your heels and stick to it. You will find you can reduce costs and still improve the level of IT services. In times like these we must learn to do improve with what we have and purchase only what is vital to continuing IT services. Even when economic times improve it is sound IT policy to reduce costs and improve processes. It supports the business financial model and creates the culture of lean IT departmental operations.