Tips for Techies: How to Focus on Finance

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-12-17 Print this article Print

Regardless of how much time and energy you put in trying to convince senior bean counters that you can prove return on investment in IT projects, you might consider scrapping that completely and focusing on real financial issues, suggests Irwin Teodoro, director of systems integration, at Laurus Technologies.

What struck me with this piece is that Teodoro (in a recent Computerworld article) is not afraid to tell the good folks in IT that it's time to help bridge the communication gap between those who allocate budgets and those who cost the company coin. You're not going to win the overall budget battles, generally speaking, especially in times of severe cost-cutting. So, his advice? Learn the finance lexicon that matters most to those responsible for funding you, your staff and the tech you need to succeed as an organization.

Good news is that Teodoro gives you some actual tips you can use. Here are a few (with some edits to keep it concise):

Think TCO, not ROI IT projects are overhead. You get over this by demonstrating fiscal stewardship by showing that you are providing the lowest cost. To do that you must provide options, comparisons, case studies and examples.

Clouds CFOs like what they hear about cloud computing as a cost-saver. Don't fight them on it. CFOs understand that you don't want private customer records or sensitive financial data "in the cloud." Incorporate cloud or managed services for tactical, not strategic, applications.

Green IT The reality is no green projects exist unless they have a better TCO. You can forget about there being a market to pay a premium for Green IT.

Virtualize Collect real-world usage statistics to build an accurate business case. And don't use low-traffic period estimates... Desktop virtualization projects usually require a multiyear business case. VDI can extend the typical three-year desktop refresh cycle, reduce operating costs for support, maintenance and upgrades, and reduce subsequent year capital expenditures. [C]heck into the new wave of storage virtualization products. They can lower capital spending by up to 90 percent.

Adopt IT-Centric Business Continuity Decisions no longer will be made in a vacuum and will result in the optimal dynamics within the cost, time and risk relationship for a particular enterprise.

Others include aligning with the big picture, being proactive with cost reduction (coming from IT rather than the other way around) and reducing costs in the data center. Some of this is old hat, but the renewed financial focus is, I believe, something that can make IT a better partner in helping business realize its potential.

And who knows, perhaps it will also allow you to get funding down the road for things you and your staff really want to do.

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