Many organizations are continuing to tighten their financial belts. The IT budget is normally pretty substantial so it’s becoming more critical than ever to maximize those technology investments and return on investment (ROI) to position yourself for long-term success even in challenging economic conditions.
Technology Environment Resources
Technology needs to align with the business, so make sure you understand the business goals and needs. Talk with your business partners to understand their pain points, challenges, and opportunities. What are their strategies and priorities, and how can technology make an impact on achieving those goals? It’s more effective when the organization doesn’t operate in silos so if some groups do take those individual inputs, they should engage with business partners collectively (such as with finance, operations, and marketing) to incorporate their insights and perspectives so that you have a comprehensive understanding.
External sources can also provide valuable information. You can attend conferences and read trade magazines to stay informed about emerging technologies and industry trends. Leverage industry trends and benchmark studies such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reports providing a comparison of different vendors to help align the vendors’ strengths and challenges with your organization’s needs.
There are many different strategies you can use to maximize your technology investments, drive operational efficiency, and specifically achieve cost savings.
Starting With A Technology Audit
One strategy is to start off by conducting a technology audit. (Note: It may be beneficial to consult with Internal Audit who can be a business partner with invaluable insights.) Create an inventory of the key areas including software (both on premises and in the cloud), hardware, network infrastructure, and security. Once you complete the inventory, review and assess these areas to gain an understanding of the environment. Then develop an action plan that identifies specific changes, timelines, and resources needed. Some considerations are:
1. Rationalize and consolidate systems. Identify areas that have redundant, underutilized, or outdated technologies. Eliminating underutilized software licenses or retiring unnecessary components can result in cost savings by reducing licensing and maintenance costs. For example, ensure that you’re not paying for Adobe cloud-based subscription licenses for terminated employees.
2. Evaluate new technology initiatives based on their potential impact on revenue generation, cost savings, operational efficiency, or risk mitigation. Workflow automation and robotic process automation (RPA) solutions can streamline processes or automate repetitive tasks, which will improve operational efficiency. Plus, when you automate these types of tasks, you minimize errors and reduce manual effort, which allows those resources to do more value-added tasks.
3. When reviewing different solutions, consider the cost expenditures (capital vs. operating), risks (including data security and privacy), as well as scalability. You want to ensure the technology can accommodate evolving business requirements, emerging technologies, and future growth.
- Moving your infrastructure from on premises to the cloud can reduce maintenance costs as well as allow organizations to only pay for the resources that they use. For example, if there is a surge in demand during the holiday season, you can spin servers up/down to match and accommodate that demand.
You can prioritize any changes or new technology initiatives based on urgency and the potential impact on business goals and needs. When implementing those new initiatives, don’t forget to capture the “lessons learned.” Evaluate the technology initiatives’ ROI and key performance indicators (KPIs). And, last but not least, continuously monitor and improve to ensure the technology aligns with and meets the ever-changing business needs.
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