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What Should Get Cut Out of Technology Budgets?

There have been several recent articles and reports that offer ways to save Information Technology (IT) dollars. The lists of potential cuts are worth reviewing, but I urge some caution as well.

by / October 19, 2011

 There have been several recent articles and reports that offer ways to save Information Technology (IT) dollars. The lists of potential cuts are worth reviewing, but I urge some caution as well.

According to Computerworld, Gartner is urging IT managers to reexamine many common practices with an eye towards stopping ineffective or wasteful approaches. One conference in Florida urged “creative destruction” by killing spending or making radical changes to business as usual. For example, here are a few of the 16 items suggested:

-       Stop recommending IT mega projects.

-       Make people accountable for IT spending. Have business units acknowledge, with a signature, the ongoing cost of an IT service they need.

-       Terminate applications that aren't delivering value. Gartner estimates that operating expenses can be reduced by 20% by 2014 by decommissioning applications.

-       Abandon level 1, 2 and 3 tech support, where the more complex the problem the higher the skill level sought to address it until it reaches the people who built it.

-       Cancel most IT chargeback systems, which take an extraordinary amount of effort and expense to charge back what is a small amount of revenue.

-       Stop seeking competitive bids. Most companies keep their existing vendor.

While I like many of these suggestions, public sector organizations are committed to open, competitive contracts – so the last item must go. In addition, I’m not in agreement with the canceling of IT chargeback systems. (How would this really work?)

Nevertheless, I like many of the 16 items, such as stopping the mega-projects. Lists like these provide excellent food for thought. When government budgets get cut, new opportunities and new ways of thinking can emerge. Creative thinking is a must. Old paradigms and “turf battles” must be eliminated.

In addition, take a look at this blog which offers ways to save or redirect government dollars. One of the items includes a US Department of Interior Transformation Plan that will reportedly save $500 million.

Another blog from TechAmerica offers ways to save through innovation – not cuts. They offer six IT policy recommendations, including these first three:

1. Implement policies and actions that will increase collaboration and communication between the private sector and state and local government in all areas of technology acquisition, deployment and service delivery.

2. Innovation in government programs, in parallel with efforts to move to more cost-effective support functions, must now be considered management and fiscal policy imperatives.

3. Appoint a strong, visionary IT officer with authority to align technology assets, operations and services across the enterprise.

Whatever your approach, the current economic environment requires IT leaders to offer a list of cuts, or things they will stop doing, along with ways to implement new projects with a return on investment.

We can all take a hard look at ways to save. What approaches have you seen work in government?

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Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso

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