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Gartner: 16 long-held IT business practices you need to kill

Michael Cooney | Oct. 20, 2011
With CIO budgets heading for their 11th consecutive year of growing at 3% or less, it's time to offer up some sacred caws for sacrifice.

IT's operations:

• Revamp tech support. McGee said oversized tech support groups are like carbon monoxide, odorless, colorless but can kill. Unless abandoned, Tier 1, 2 and 3 tech support structures will continue undermining the success of delivering "new projects" by perpetually interrupting developers to solve outages occurring in already deployed systems. Once a product has been built by the "factory," an entirely separate group of people become responsible for maintenance without interrupting those in the factory" working on building new products.

• Stop issuing chargeback reports where IT equals less than 5% of revenue. Without IT being a much larger component of all expenses and/or IT bills being applied to the profit analysis of an enterprise's business units, products or services, why continue chargeback systems.

• End issuing most competitive bids. When users of communication services, outsourcing or other major IT hardware, software or services want to reduce the operating cost of an incumbent provider, they will often issue informal or formal requests for proposals as a means to "show the vendor" they are serious about cutting costs. However, in reality, it is extremely rare for a user to actually leave an incumbent provider. The user knows this, the incumbent vendors know this, and the "potential" vendors know this, so why continue a game that no one takes seriously?

• Spend more than 50% of 2011 training budget on acquiring new social science skills. We believe there will be a new need for tomorrow's application developers to possess social-science-oriented knowledge that will help understand the wants and especially changes in needs of human beings. Cognitive psychology, sociology, anthropology sentiment analysis and other disciplines will be applied to identify the opportunities of the future.

CEO/CIO issues:

• Reject annual mismatch between CEO priorities and IT's most funded projects. Sometimes, it is very difficult to conclude that the most funded IT projects are the best IT solution to resolve the most important business issues, McGee said.

• Recommend IT mission changes in response to "income statement" test findings on all 2011 projects. CIOs should obtain agreement from senior executives to confine involvement in new projects that will measurably increase revenue and cut costs at levels sufficient to be noticeable on an income statement. Being relieved of the need to focus on "nice-to-have"-related projects, rather than "got-to-have" projects, will liberate time, money and resources to work on projects that matter to shareholders.

• Compare CEO and CIO priorities, explain disparities and/or provide a reconciliation plan. Undoubtedly, the quests of the CIOs' responses above are business worthy, but with CEO surveys constantly conveying a nearly single-minded desire of wanting revenue growth for their enterprises, the disparities between the two lists warrant a comparison analysis before the year continues. Gartner urges CIOs to draw on public documents regulatory filings, speeches and other nonproprietary sources to: compare CEO priorities with CIO priorities; explain disparities and provide a reconciliation plan, Gartner says.


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