Citing a previous post which indicated that CIOs need to be wary of the 80/20 budget trap, Joel Dobbs writes this post about how total cost of ownership may be the way CIOs get their organizations on the road to modernization. CIOs need to be the force behind moving IT away from low value effort (lights on activities) and more into directly impacting business revenue growth and innovation. This is, of course, hard to do. Getting control of maintenance costs takes time and considerable effort ““but it's imperative to do. Dobbs lists a few ways to get the ball rolling, including this tip concerning the use of total cost ownership approaches for new tech: I am surprised at how many organizations don't do this. Look at the total costs over a five-year period and work out an approval process that looks at total costs, not just implementation costs. This may take some work with your finance colleagues and your governance body but it is the only realistic way to view technology costs. This may require some change leadership on your part but failure to address this issue will doom you to failure. Don't approve what you can't afford. Other tips include never doing anything in-house (as far as legacy systems goes) when someone else can do it better and for less, be as aggressive as possible with closing down older technology that doesn't add any value, and finding a way to create an “opportunity” fund which helps drive a competitive spirit for moving IT further into innovation rather than just lights on support.