CIO Action Items to Getting More Out of Limited IT Budgets

IT budgets are getting tighter every year. A CIO needs to have a strategy to get value out of every IT dollar spent. It is imperative to find the easily identified savings quickly and to root out the hard-to-find items. Here are some action items to help find those cost-saving points: 

  • Take a Benchmark – How much is a typical company in your industry paying for IT costs each year? How much is a company the same size in the same industry or a different one paying? These costs may be higher or lower. It is important to know why there are differences. Look at the detail level if possible including how much the company is paying for contracts, service, etc. 

  • Look at What You Have Now – Take a thorough inventory of IT assets. This includes PCs, servers, printers, and other hardware on the books. It includes all the systems running within the company. The software list include off-the-shelf options as well as custom solutions owned by the company. In many companies, there is a ton of duplication eating into IT maintenance budgets and licensing costs. 

  • Audit Software and Telecom Agreements – Many times, a company will find it has multiple contracts with the same provider. These different agreements can cost a great deal in the course of a year. Consolidating contracts and negotiating lower prices will help cut costs.  

  • Look at Current Contracts and SLAs – Make sure the company is not paying for unneeded or unused licenses. Verify the SLA is the right solution for each system. Some systems need 24/7 uptime. Others only need to be up 9 to 5 on weekdays. Do not pay for unnecessary uptime for a system that does not need it. 

  • Look at Support/Maintenance versus IT Investment – Part of the benchmark information should include the breakdown of support/maintenance costs and IT investments. Make sure your company is in line with others in the same industry. High maintenance costs may be unnecessary as the cost of replacements have come down. 

  • Manage Suppliers Closer – Take time each quarter to talk with suppliers and review what has happened. Implement a scorecard on the services/products that you rely on from the vendor. Reviewing that scorecard should be part of the review process along with discussing ways to improve the score. If the vendor does not improve, look at their competition. 

Use these action items to improve the value your company gets from its IT budget.