Balancing the Scale of Maintenance and Innovation

Innovation versus maintenance is a difficult balance to maintain in the IT world. Innovation might push you ahead in the future, but the entire IT department will fall apart if you’re unable to maintain past systems. Minda Zetlin of suggests you should aim for a 50/50 balance, but acknowledges that many organizations are allotting as much as 80% or 90% of their budget to maintenance. This doesn’t leave very much room for growth.

To cut maintenance costs, try virtual servers. In addition, automating certain task like resetting passwords can help save the company significant time and money.

Cloud computing has also proved useful in the quest for innovation. It’s always a good idea to consider putting something on the cloud instead of buying it or custom building it. 

Then, try to standardize functions across the board. Customization make sound good, but if it isn’t a key differentiator than it’s probably not necessary. In fact, it will probably make it more difficult for your company to be agile.

Finally, plan ahead. If you plan ahead for system maintenance, it will save the daily time and money that is poured into keeping everything running correctly. You may not be able to completely balance 50/50 balance and innovation, but following these tips should bring you much closer to putting your budget on track.

Rachel Ginder

Rachel Ginder was a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success and joined the team in 2013. She also helped with social media and research.

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