…then all the discussion comes around, ‘OK, this is cheap, that’s great - let’s do it’,” Longbottom said.
If projects such as outsourcing are done for business reasons, they can deliver both desired business outcomes and cost savings. However, according to Longbottom, if cutting costs is the primary motive, business results are less likely to be achieved.
“If you go in and say, ‘We can save 10 per cent by going to this outsourcing company’, some smart-arse will then go, ‘Well, if we go to India we can get it for 15 per cent less’. All of a sudden the argument has gone away from what’s the best way to do this to what’s the cheapest way to do this.”
Instead, he advises that CIOs present the cost-saving element to clinch the deal after highlighting the value of the project to the business.
4. Keep it bite size
Proposing a mammoth IT project that is extensive in terms of time, budget and projected aims could seem like the best way to bring innovative technology into the business on a large scale, but as many mega IT projects spiral out of control and fail to achieve their business aims, CIOs should think about how the project can be achieved incrementally.
“You know what the big problem is and you know where you would like to end up, but trying to get to that end point straight away is useless because by the time you actually reach that desired end result, all the problems you’ve been trying to resolve have changed - you’ve solved the wrong problem by the time you get there,” Longbottom said.
“This has always been the problem of the public sector. For them, what’s the best way to eat an elephant? Start with a herd of elephants. Whereas really it should be, the best way to eat an elephant is a forkful at a time.”
Now more than ever, investment in a large-scale, inflexible IT project is unlikely to receive business backing as businesses do not want to commit to a long-term investment on a project that could be outmoded by the time it is completed.
Instead, CIOs should break down the proposed project into a set of smaller tasks that can react to changes in the organisation’s needs.
“As things change, you can change the tasks to keep the [project] fixed around what the final business-required end result is,” Longbottom said.
At the end of each task, the CIO can …