How to Save Costs by Streamlining Unruly IT Projects

In the face of the current economic downturn, many companies have begun to transition into survival mode, streamlining their businesses as much as possible in an effort to stay afloat. These companies are seeking to run their businesses as efficiently as possible and, now more than ever, don't have the robust bottom lines to support technology initiatives that simply do not work. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Kleber Bacili explains how to streamline those wasteful and unruly IT projects that just have not been performing well.


Today, years past the beginning of their implementations, unruly IT projects left to grow uninhibited are being seen as exactly that-unruly. Now with economic uncertainties abound, many of these companies are unable, or simply unwilling, to give up on the IT projects in which they have so heavily invested. But, rather than suffer through these lean times with projects that are under-performing, forward-thinking companies are recognizing the need to revamp these projects to achieve the critical returns they once promised.

By implementing proper governance initiatives with a well-planned and incremental approach, these companies are able to streamline wasteful and unruly IT projects, thereby eliminating duplicated development through governance practices.

IT initiatives should aim to:

1. Reduce wastefulness

By reusing previously tested and validated components and services, the IT department can rapidly leverage concrete results to the business areas. By reusing these assets, companies are able to develop or integrate applications more rapidly, with better quality while reducing costs.

It is important to also objectively measure how many dollars of development hours the company has saved by using what they already have. This can be achieved by using tools that provide quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure reuse level and to calculate the ROI for the enterprise services and components portfolio.

2. Organize things during the down times

When the demand for business reduces due to economic downturn, IT should concentrate efforts to "clean up the room." By organizing and improving the way it develops applications, correcting inefficient processes, and clearly defining governance processes and policies, IT can be far better prepared to meet business needs when the economy picks up again.

This enables more visibility of the services and components portfolios, as well as more control of assets and IT investments. Furthermore, IT doesn't need to wait for when the economy resurrects to benefit from this effort because the reuse of services and components reduces cost and improves time to market (TTM) of applications.

3. Go with best practices and incremental steps

One size does not fit all! Many companies do not have a clear idea of governance, so they are left thinking that it requires large investments on software and consulting services from the beginning. Companies that were unable to get the return from IT projects that they expected may also think that they didn't work because they didn't invest enough. But that is not the case.

One of the most important aspects of ensuring streamlined IT projects is that you can structure an incremental approach where the company can distribute investment efforts along the way. This is done by prioritizing the actions that will bring results more quickly, monitoring the process carefully (measuring the ROI and reuse level) and giving consistent steps towards more mature levels.

Facing the economic reality of our current times, companies simply cannot afford to fund projects that don't provide tangible benefits to meet business needs. Further, IT projects that were once immune to cutbacks due to poor performance are suddenly vulnerable. However, companies able to reuse existing assets, improve TTM and effectively measure results can achieve great benefits from IT implementations.

As companies continue to streamline their business processes, it is imperative that they carry these practices over into the IT department. A plethora of IT projects can deliver tremendous business benefits, but this cannot happen if the projects are not closely mapped back to the companies' business objectives. By ensuring proper oversight of IT projects and ROI, companies can preserve their invested capital for projects that provide maximum agility and benefit. Ultimately, it can improve the overall ability of the company to thrive through today's economic challenges.

Kleber Bacili is the founder and CTO of Sensedia. Kleber is responsible for product development and operations at Sensedia. He is a SOA expert with published articles in various international publications. He is also a professor on SOA and component-based development at renowned universities. Kleber holds a degree in Computer Engineering from UNICAMP and an MBA from Funda??????o Get??lio Vargas (FGV). He can be reached at [email protected].