Leadership

Video: Five ways your IT department is probably wasting money

This episode of CIO Sanity Savers looks at five of the most common ways that IT departments let precious budget money slip through their fingers.

IT budgets are stretched thin while IT is doing more things than ever as technology has become more critical to almost every aspect of business operations. This episode of CIO Sanity Savers looks at five of the most common ways that IT departments let precious dollars slip right through their fingers.

For those of you who prefer text over video, you can click the "Transcript" link underneath the video or you can read the original article from Deb Shinder that this episode was based on: 10 ways IT departments waste money.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

20 comments
Tamara Digitalis
Tamara Digitalis

If you think your IT department is wasting money ? then you?re probably correct. I think it?s integral to budget effectively and be aware of the varied processes involved in being a successful manager. As the famous saying goes practice makes perfect and a good way to keep on top of your game is to play on IT Manager 3: Unseen Forces. http://itmanager3.intel.com/en-gb/default.aspx?iid=ITMG_IgniteSeed_UK_xsgaming

alewisa
alewisa

Its a bit more than being "aware" of the varied processes involved in being a succesful manager... perhaps you would care to list the processes, as opposed to attributes and activities. One "process" your manager will not appreciate is playing Intel's game whilst at work... go on, and then justify it as "practicing at being a succesfull manager" or "staying on top of my game". Nice idea intel, maybe you should stick it on Facebook. But take out the intel-centric theme, as if not every situation benefits from Intel technology.

ijusth
ijusth

you missed a BIG one: smart asset management. Excessive spend on hardware and even more likely on software wastes six figure sums and exposes the company to bad publicity and possible jail time. That is where someone like me (an ITAM manager) steps in and reduces risk and ensures savings. Whether you are under licensed and open to audit or over licensed and wasting both maintenance and contract dollars you are making poor choices with your budgeting.

jeffsilverm
jeffsilverm

Why can't you keep things simple and just publish this information as a web page. It's less bandwidth on the network, I can pace the information input to a rate my brain can match and it is an easier proposition to create the content. Really.

Dyalect
Dyalect

Nothing is more valuable (NOT) than paying consultants big dollars to tell you something you can find on your own. Lack of training leads to this. Untrained staff are not going to make your environment anymore efficient or gets projects completed any faster.

alewisa
alewisa

Depends on the situation. Sometimes, a consultant is a very real necessity, to utilise in-depth skills and experience that are not in the organisation, either for a "genuine" reason (such as a young business needing business consultancy as part of it's development), or beacuse the subject matter is non-core, and short term. Or because the business will not accept the in-house wisdom, and 'needs' to hear it from a [expensive] external source. This is often simple politcs, and reflects more on the business than IT. And it is by no means unique to IT. Also used to voice the politically unacceptable within an organisation.

Petetm
Petetm

These days, training is look upon as a luxury, not a necessity. Somehow we're supposed to keep up with technology and the moving target that is IT through osmosis. Yet managers can find the $$ and time to ALWAYS go to "new" management training.

gwardell
gwardell

In deed. I've often driven past office buildings at 1AM that are all lite up. I can't believe there are THAT many people working that late. I also know people that purposefully leave their PC on all night so they can remote into it from home. So why not have something that senses when that connection is coming in and THEN boot up the PC? Sure it might take a l;ittle bit longer.. but still.

mark
mark

When faced with a dying development platform (i.e., VB6 or ASP classic), many organizations let themselves be convinced that they must rewrite their production-tested, business-critical legacy systems "from scratch". Mature legacy codes often represent a multi-million dollar investment; they are an extremely detailed and precise specification of the system functionality. This functionality is the systems reason for being, and it is rarely described anywhere other than the code and it must be faithfully preserved. Deciding to reproduce codes "from scratch" in a software migration is like deciding to re-key by hand millions of records of data for a data conversion. Modern migration/refactoring tools can free up resources so they can be spent on higher-value tasks such as learning the new platform and designing a solution to take advantage of it; rather than being spent regathering, revalidating, and recoding a mountain of legacy business rules and myriad technical details.

JimmyZ69
JimmyZ69

As an IT Manager covering 2 states and more than 1,000 computers. I agree about the lights, but as far as the computers, leaving them on after hours is the time i push all the updates thru SMS. Thus reducing the amount of time the end user has to deal with first thing in the morning. As there is nothing worse than a user booting up at 8 am and taking a 300 Mb worth of patchs, not to mention if a reboot is needed.

jck
jck

Too much management overhead. I've seen IT departments with 30 staff and they have almost half of those as "supervisory" personnel, i.e.- they are majority paper pushers and not technical implementers. Too many generals and not enough privates loses the battle...and burns up a lot more dollars.

Petetm
Petetm

How much money is spent on MS products when there are viable low/no cost alternatives. Also, those companies that maigrate from one messaging system to another (let's say Domino -> Exchange) are really wasting their money. At the end of the day, they've traded in one mail & c/s solution for another. Dumb.

alewisa
alewisa

Jason - is it possible to produce an article that stays within the title? Sure, IT hiring and firing is within IT budget control, but energy usage? Do *you* work in a company that allocates electrical usage as a budget item to department level? I doubt it. Generally companys are billed for power on a per-building basis, or metered within leased space. If you have shared office occupancy, say IT and Accounts in one building, IT and Sales on another, etc, how does the company seperate out the usage? This isnt an example of IT wasting its precious budget dollars, it is a fundamental business issue best dealt with at senior level, not an IT issue. Sure, IT need to follow corporate policy once formulated, just like any other dept. But it is not an IT specific issue. I've commented on training, but cautioning against qualifications is a doubled edged sword. At Global Crossing, I managed an NMC, dealing with 1st to 3rd line customer network issues, and managed 600+ customer IP networks. I stated that within 12 months everyone would hold an industry recognised qualification; AHC for 1st line, MCP and MSCE for the Mesaging team, and CCNA/CCNP for the network team. Benefits? Staff loyalty, the company 'beleived' in the staff, and proved it through training. Marketing; the UKs ONLY management centre - telco or IT, that had a fully qualified staff. As for using it to further my (read 'their') career, well, if a company ever told me "we wont train you, as you'll leave" I'd already be half way out the door. Double edged? Sure. Read the job ads, notice they all want experienced and /qualified/ staff! I'm assuming you recruit - have you ever placed an ad saying "quals and training not necessary, we know companies dont like wasting budgets on that" with the implication that your company is the same, and the succesful candidate can look forwards to a dearth of training?

office
office

Very Interested. There are many ways as per my experiences - but most of them are not in the control of IT managers - the top management pushes things to happen in this way - finally they blame IT managers.

vince
vince

Fewer technical solutions would be needed if organizations focus more on process and policy than technical solutions. Many times, process change is still needed after a new technical solution. Training of users could also significantly decrease technology spending. Using technology services effectively could help significantly. Implementation of ITIL style frameworks could also significantly reduce IT spending.

alewisa
alewisa

Fully agree. The long-term cost and efficiency saving benefits are known to most 1st and 2nd line support managers. But to business managers.. forget it. In 25 years of IT experience, the training element of any project/upgrade/system is almost always the first victim of budget cuts, and rarely survives to implementation in the original form. End result? Increased workload on support teams to provide problem managememt in the form of training as a root cause solution. More often than not, companies do not even have induction training that covers company specific software/processes. I wonder, just where do people learn Word and Excel ;) The most forward thinking company I worked for, British American Tobacco, I put together a structured support framework - 1st line remote helpdesk, 2nd line desktop engineers. And a complimentary Desktop Training team that reactively took the "how do I..." calls, and proactively provided formal classroom based training in the software we supported. Suprise suprise, we over-achieved all targets, including the elusive user-satisfaction ratings, and had time to attend to project work during standard office hours, and not at overtime rates. Which included my 3rd line team training the 1st and 2nd line teams in new systems. In most organisations, such training and other elements of project work, could only be achieved through overtime, or taking a hit on office hours support levels. That said, the major hurdle is demonstraing in advance the downstream efficiency savings of proper training. More often than not, the savings are "intangible", or will not impact the budget of those calling for cuts in the training budget.

thamadgreek
thamadgreek

How about uneducated admins and other IT sort that purchase software to implement group policies. I mean really and they consider themselves admins. I am in a company that is spending money on so many different solutions to blocking USB devices when you could do without the software and just learn to maintain your own environment. I have actually been told I am living in a dream world and it is not possible to do.

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