Unlock IT Investment for Innovation

As Dell Inc. chief Michael Dell mentioned in his keynote speech opening Dell World, the line between the business and IT continues to disappear. And what’s causing that?

First, businesses face insatiable end-user demand as the members of the millennial generation – who’ve never known a world without computers and the Internet – enter the workforce.

Then there’s the tsunami of data, which isn’t useful to a business until it’s analyzed and monetized.

Meanwhile, businesses are struggling to ensure compliance with an increasing number of complex regulatory bodies. In his Dell World keynote speech, former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra noted that 47 states have implemented different laws on data.

Increased security threats make it more difficult to secure the network and the data. And, on top of that, all of those insatiable end-users expect true 24/7 access – anywhere, anytime and on any device.

Here are just a few of the problems that many businesses face today:

  • Expanding demands on IT
  • Budgets that are flat or down
  • Strategic investments limited to running the business
  • Outcomes and ROI that aren’t adequate or predictable

Sound familiar? So what should a CIO do?

At one Dell World Idea Session, John Dietrich, executive director of thought leadership at Dell, shared best practices on IT investment with conference attendees. These are the practices that help Dell drive about $300 million out of its own IT spending and use that savings to re-invest in innovation.

  • Start with the business – let it dictate decisions. IT can’t and shouldn’t drive the business.
  • Standardize as much as you can.
  • Examine your business’s project portfolio and the ROI of everything.
  • Focus on shadow IT. Did you know the cost of shadow IT can be twice the known IT budget?
  • Spend but do it wisely. Keep the focus on efficiency.
  • Re-examine what you do constantly. Today’s innovation becomes tomorrow’s legacy issue.

As many businesses have already discovered, the status quo isn’t sustainable and companies end up paying an agility tax on inefficient IT. What that means is that an organization is willing to subsidize inefficiency because it seems easier than paying to fix the problem. So the cost that so-called agility tax continues to create a drag on the business.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to re-invest that money in the business? What company couldn’t use that? That’s what efficiency is all about.

To catch tweets and more news from Dell World, follow me on Twitter (@AnaCatDell) and visit the conference’s Tumblr site.

About the Author: Ana Cantu