It will hardly come as a surprise, but Gartner’s IT Spending Forecast for3Q20 (released Oct. 20, 2020) shows a 5.4% decline in overall business technology spend in 2020.
While the forecast for 2021 is an increase of around 4%, these numbers indicate that IT budgets will still be under pressure. While IT struggles to make up for the cutbacks, business leaders will be demanding support for transformational projects as they adjust to constantly evolving customer demands and market dynamics.
How then do IT leaders balance the need to keep the machine working with finding the cash to fund must-do new initiatives that support the business?
It’s possible you might already have the answer without knowing it. If not, you’ll be happy to know that arriving at the right answer(s) isn’t as slow and expensive as you might think.
It starts with taking a detailed look at your IT assets – specifically the devices, software licenses, and subscriptions being used across the organization.
The vast majority of organizations will have seen change in their technology use in 2020: supporting the rush to remote working, increased use of collaboration platforms, older software becoming shelfware, more computing power moved into the cloud. Change in 2020 has been faster than anyone predicted at the start of the year.
All that change – and the need to execute at speed – has left many organizations unclear as to whether their current IT environment is rightsized.
It’s time to ask some questions.
Do you know how your usage has changed since the onset of COVID?
Changing the way we work – whether by moving office-based workers to home or changing on-site working practices to reduce face-to-face contact and proximity — has meant that many new products have been deployed, and legacy on-premises systems have been replaced with cloud-based services on a subscription basis. In most cases, these have been additional, unbudgeted costs as solutions were deployed quickly under business continuity conditions, rather than under standard governance. Given the uncertainty at the time, the original systems were often left in place and may still be running in parallel or be connected and have dependencies. It’s also a real possibility that new subscriptions may have been duplicated as multiple teams acted on their own initiative to address immediate business needs.
Do you know what you’re no longer using that you were previously?
As the workforce has adapted to new ways of working, some systems may have dropped out of use. This could be because they are no longer accessible to users outside your firewall, or because they are unsuitable for the new ways of working that have developed. You may be able to cancel software maintenance, decommission hardware, and even reduce your overall datacenter costs (HVAC, power, rental) to offset the cost of additional cloud services. If you have reduced staff numbers, you may need to recover endpoint devices that must have their data cleansed before being redeployed, used for hot-swaps, remarketed, or disposed of.
Do you have a clear technology strategy that can inform your decision-making?
In the initial months of the pandemic, it was difficult to make anything other than tactical decisions, but business and IT leaders are now looking to the future. Planning for what is acknowledged to be a continuing uncertain future is difficult. This means that resilience, flexibility, and agility are key – not just in ways of working, but also in delivery of products and services and even in the products and services offered.