Keeping Innovation Turned On – Part One

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Keeping Innovation Turned On – Part One

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At The Cavan Group, we know that one challenge many of our clients face is finding the right balance between IT innovation and simply keeping the lights on.  After all, once you’ve created systems that are essential for your business to function, it’s quite important to keep them running, to “keep the lights on.”

iStock_000017143933_DoubleAt the same time however, future growth and development requires that innovation be a key part of the mix.  Often however, innovation gets the short end of the budget stick when the false choice of shutting off the lights is the only apparent option.  Most companies would love to have a 50/50 balance of maintenance to development costs, but instead find themselves with a balance that looks more like 80% to 20% in favor of keeping the lights on.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are approaches that can help create a more balanced budget, with innovation and essential services both supported appropriately.  In this, the first of three blog posts, we’ll review two approaches to help your company find the right balance.

Basically the way to open up more budgetary resources for innovation is to get your arms around the costs that actually keep the current systems functional.  Ask yourself, are we spending more than we need to “keep the lights on?”

One way to save money for essential systems is to move them to the cloud.  Whether a public, private or hybrid cloud service, the use of the cloud can pay real dividends when adjusting a budget toward innovation.  Often companies that put a real emphasis on services in the cloud can change their budget balance to something closer to 60/40.  And as we’ve seen recently, real concerns over security in the cloud have been disappearing quickly as more and more companies adopt a cloud-based strategy.

A second meaningful approach to reducing costs is the reduction of customization on server builds and platforms.  Unless a customization provides a function that is a key differentiator, it should be eliminated.  Standardization of software is a great way to get control of your IT maintenance budget.

This can be a hard sell of course, especially if your company has years of giving different departments what they ask for, but it can really pay off.  It takes company-wide discipline to adhere to a minimal customization policy but when systems are standardized, time to deployment and costs plummet and that will have company-wide budget benefits.

More and more companies are adopting these kinds of changes.  They know that a reevaluation of their IT budget balance can help keep the lights turned on while also ensuring that innovation stays turned on too.

In subsequent posts we’ll review other approaches companies can take to strike that important balance.

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