Maintain cost disciplines, rationalize and consolidate further
New disciplines and controls have ensured better IT business alignment and cost control during the past two years. Without continued attention, efficiency could ebb away as an IT recovery gradually unfolds, creating pressure to do new things. But to keep consolidation and rationalization going, further funds from operating costs need to be added to modest budget increases. That will generate enough cash for significant new investments. Take these specific actions.
Refresh pre-Y2K hardware and aging software
During the past two years, many enterprises have extended the life of servers, PCs and other equipment to control costs, but this expedient can't continue indefinitely. Maintenance and opportunity costs increase as assets age. PCs bought in 1999 for a three-year intended life could be extended to five years, but replacement must be seriously considered during 2004.
Continue consolidating IT infrastructure and applications
IT consolidation takes two forms:
The first dominated throughout 2002 and 2003. The second will grow in importance in 2004 and beyond.
Plan for new competencies and give valuable staff an unexpected pay raise
Key competencies and high performers are scarce in any period of business growth, and 2004 will be no exception. But they might not be the same as ones used in the past, because of technology change and a growing need for business-focused IT leadership.