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7 Ways to Free Up Money for IT Innovation

As a CIO, do you have the resolve to be your “own strongest budget critic?” In the absence of a looming CFO (and hopefully, in spite of one), IT outfits have plenty of options when it comes to saving cash. The Enterprisers Project’s Ginny Hamilton assembles seven experts who offer seven ways to get creative about finding money for IT budgets.

7 Ways to $ave

  1. Ignore distracting vendor goodies.
  2. Transition basic capabilities.
  3. Use analytics to find “in-house” gold.
  4. Outsource to focus on innovation.
  5. Consider retiring legacy systems.
  6. Conduct strategic planning with the business.
  7. “Hold or fold” wisely.

Like a case full of sparkling jewelry at a market, IT vendors know how to catch the eye of IT departments and businesses alike. But Hamilton warns us not to be swayed by flashy vendor items. When IT and the business team up, budgets are better defined and distractions can be avoided. Next off, think basic. Networking, computing, telephones, and storage are all mundane aspects of your operation that don’t need to cost as much as they do. If you’re patient, have a plan, and allow time for updates and transitions to take effect, the savings will be realized.

Tom Soderstrom of NASA’s Jet propulsion laboratory recommends turning your analytics expert into a venture capitalist. In other words, within the walls of your own company, there are plenty of gold nuggets to be mined using rapid prototyping. Many firms turn to outsourcing to relieve a portion of their cost burden, and this is a strategy that has consistently proven effective, such as when Massage Envy CIO Dan Miller turned over capacity management and systems growth to third-party vendors.

One cost-savings method requires you to spend money in the short-term, and that strategy is retiring legacy infrastructure. Like the household task that nobody wants to touch, if you wait until the last minute, it’s only going to become more arduous and costly to address. Best nip that legacy system in the bud.

Furthermore, bring the business to the table, since (in this case) two heads are better than one. Having a plan that ties business strategy to IT spend is a no-brainer that too many outfits overlook. And lastly, Peter Buonora of BJ’s Wholesale Club makes a distinction between “pivot” and “persevere” strategies. This is lean startup lingo for “know when to hold / know when to fold” on a costly initiative. Save money in the process.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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