Spring planning should address the business' data processing requirements for the next three to five years.
These requirements need to cover:
- Cloud alternatives
- Business continuity/disaster recovery
- Energy conservation
- Outsourced services
- Privacy and security
Additionally, it's important to evaluate trends in technology, such as analytics, collaboration via social networks and mobility, and select the technologies that are best suited to meet current and future requirements. (See chart below.)
There needs to be an examination of information-management lifecycle and storage strategies required to support corporate and regulatory requirements and determine how these growing needs can be met within the budgetary constraints. A reliable, cost-effective communications infrastructure that addresses voice and data communications in wireless and wireline forms is also necessary across the enterprise. Lastly, applications, middleware and operating systems have to be rationalized.
Businesses that have undertaken strategic efforts to standardize on a base of applications and infrastructure software have reduced their application sets by up to 75 percent. Similar efforts to standardize on system bases have reduced licenses, maintenance and support costs significantlyin some cases up to 40 percent of operational expenditure (opex) costs. IT executives should create rational consolidated architectures and strategies that address every business and technology requirements. Taking these steps will effectively leverage IT platforms to remain competitive.
Click to enlarge chart below
Staying on Course
The majority of those responsible for IT decisions are not visionaries but, rather, good captains of the ship. They can maintain the course and deal with known water hazards. This strategic planning exercise calls upon skills most do not possess but must develop. If help is needed, they should seek outside counsel to assist them in envisioning the trends and directions in the markets and technologies and work with their business peers to understand their world views and then translate them into IT requirements.
Furthermore, the need to "do more with less" doesnt have to conflict with the desire to structure agile architectures and implementations. Those responsible for IT can transform their operations while reducing costs if done right. Now is the time to begin the journey. They should consult with business and financial executives, analysts and vendors and then develop strategies, architectures and plans that will meet short-term needs and long-term requirements.
Other articles by Cal:
About the author
Mr. Braunstein serves as Chairman/CEO and Executive Director of Research at the Robert Frances Group (RFG). In addition to his corporate role, he helps his clients wrestle with a range of business, management, regulatory, and technology issues.
He has deep and broad experience in business strategy management, business process management, enterprise systems architecture, financing, mission-critical systems, project and portfolio management, procurement, risk management, sustainability, and vendor management. Cal also chaired a Business Operational Risk Council whose membership consisted of a number of top global financial institutions.