Hey, your response sounded a bit sarcastic, but I re-read it and realised that you were genuinely asking for clarification as your own experiences don't allow you to draw the same conclusion that I have.
1) Investment --> IT departments rarely have all the tools, training and resources we need to do the job we're tasked with. But that's where we get to show our innovation. Rather than use all the well-known, widely accepted, budget-demanding standards, we find or create suitable replacements that get the job done. Following that, we explain to management in their own language that even though we were able to do more with less, it does not mean we actually need less of the budget. Rather, they (management) can increase growth by +x% by investing +y% more the next time around. In short, we initially take the role of the bastard child, then we work our tails off to show that we deserve a shot at the big boys' table. If at that point, management still sees it fit to decrease IT's budget allocation and still expect further improvement, then just maybe that manager's making a terrible decision...and just maybe that IT department would be better off working elsewhere.
2)Measurable improvements --> We improve primarily what the managers see as needing improvement. Whether it's more reliable data collection from customers, network performance enhancements that allow business queries to complete faster, implementing a more dynamic infrastructure that allows interconnection of previously isolated systems.. etc.. Of course, to prove to ourselves and to management that we've made headway, we need to first compile relevant metrics on our target areas so we can gain a proper before-and-after snapshot of our work. e.g. measure how long it takes for a customer query to be resolved.. what are all the phases through which the input data must pass before reaching the customer? what can we do to speed it up? Remember, this is just an example and may not apply to your environment.
3) I'd guess that your company chose not to spend more money or time and just work on changing the icons to blue.
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