3 Cost-Saving Budget Ideas for Your IT 2014

As the budget process starts for next year, if the IT department is lucky, it will be asked to do many more projects with only 3% more budget.  In some organizations the IT budget has been taken over by the business units, and the IT budget is being reduced while business units spend millions on their cloud, Big Data, open source incentives, or uncompleted failures from the previous year.

With no additional funding how can you use the budget process to help you get the things your IT department, IT staff, and you need for the coming year? The following three items have been effective in the past.

  1. Eliminate obsolete software.  As I prepare for the new 2014 year, I look back over the past year to improve the future.  One of the easiest ways to make your budget balance better is to eliminate duplicate, under-utilized, or obsolete software. This technique is valuable for all platforms, systems, applications, and minimization of impact to end users.

    An inventory of which software packages are really being used within the infrastructure is especially enlightening.  Evaluate the various software packages, especially the sometimes hundreds of copies of desktop software that can be replaced with a new open source package or cheaper license alternative.  It is surprising to discover the software that is used and not used within the platforms and environments of any multiple platform company.
  2. Virtualize consolidate optimize platforms, servers, or DBMSs.  The tipping point is here and the return on investments (ROI) for converting old platforms, consolidating under-utilized servers, and replacing under-performing or bad contracts for DBMSs is worth the effort.  The smaller systems like UNIX or Windows platforms are sometimes bursting at the seams of their small hardware footprint. Alternatively, sometimes the hardware is under-utilized at only 20%.  In these situations there are usually good straight-forward, easy-win justifications for virtualizing and/or consolidating these environments to improve ROI.

    The under-utilized situation is typical. Consolidation of under-utilized servers into another mainframe LINUX, UNIX, or Windows server can sometimes be done in a quick 90 days.  At the recent Information on Demand 2013 conference there were many companies presenting and validating these consolidation ROI stories.  In addition to the consolidation stories there were many great ROI stories about companies converting their DBMSs from Oracle or SQL Server to DB2.  The DBMS migration ROI stories demonstrated big real improvements in operational performance, avoidance of hardware upgrades, and savings of budget, sometimes millions of dollars, by getting out of outrageously expensive contracts.
  3. Champion the business units’ cost saving measures. Since the business units are being allocated what is normally in the IT budget, get behind their initiatives and champion their efforts which might provide budget for you or your staff.  If you can’t beat them, join them. Working with the various business units is also great for opening lines of communication.  Bringing your IT experience and savvy to the technology efforts of the business unit helps cut through some of the IT procedures more easily  than the business unit learning all about the infrastructure, capacity, storage, and performance variables that can destroy a project’s chances for success.

By saving money in these areas, your IT budget should be able to allocate some funds for the important items needed such as staff, education, conferences, and/or new tools to manage the new cloud, mobile and Big Data projects.  Budget discussions are always interesting and including these three ideas will definitely add impact.

Dave Beulke is a system strategist, application architect, and performance expert specializing in Big Data, data warehouses, and high performance internet business solutions.  He is an IBM Gold Consultant, Information Champion, President of DAMA-NCR, former President of International DB2 User Group, and frequent speaker at national and international conferences.  His architectures, designs, and performance tuning techniques help organization better leverage their information assets, saving millions in processing costs.

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