Why CIOs Need To Get Good At Reusing Technology

Existing Information Technology Resources Can Be Reused
Existing Information Technology Resources Can Be Reused
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I’m sure that you know that you shouldn’t throw things that can be recycled away. Save the planet and all of that. So this brings up an interesting question: as CIO how committed to recycling technology are you when the company is preparing to start up a brand new project?

Why It Makes Sense To Recycle Technology

When your company is starting up a new project, there can be a great deal of excitement in the air. Everything about the project is new, and so it can be very easy to decide that the technology that the project will be using should be new also. The thinking is that “we’re different” and therefore the technology that we use should be different also. However, this may be the wrong decision.

The problem with this thinking is that it turns out that it may cause more problems than it solves. Specifically, studies done by MIT’s Sloan Center for Information Systems Research has revealed that by reusing existing technology the risk of a new project can be lowered. Specifically, firms that are able to share existing technology across departments and business units discover that they are able to grow faster and are able to keep their costs lower than firms that don’t do this.

If you are able to reuse your technology on a new project, this is going to free your time up. You won’t be distracted by all of the issues that come along with rolling a new technology out to a highly visible project. Instead, the use of the existing technology will allow the person with the CIO job to focus on innovation and deliver what the company expects you to provide – results.

How To Go About Recycling Technology

Recycling technology is something that can’t be left up to the part of the IT department that will be assigned to work on the new project. They will be justifiably excited about the new project and may not have the ability to see the recycling opportunities. Instead, the person in the CIO position needs to establish an IT team that will be responsible for recycling the company’s IT resources and can lend a hand when a new project is starting up.

One of the biggest reasons that technology recycling may not be adopted by your company may be because of who’s in charge. Management needs to buy in to the idea of reusing existing IT resources. In order to make this happen the CIO needs to establish processes that will cause reuse to occur. Making reuse part of any project proposal can play a key role in making sure that reuse is included from the start of the project planning cycle.

In order for any technology reuse program to be successful, the culture of the company is going to have to change. This means that the CIO is going to have to make sure that the rest of the company knows about the successes that come about because of IT recycling efforts. Getting the word out is the first step in making this happen and it’s something that has to be done every day.

What All Of This Means For You

When CIOs are faced with starting up a new project, it can be very tempting to go out and get all new hardware and software to support the shiny new project. However, the savvy CIO realizes that if they can find a way to reuse the technology that they already have, they’ll boost the project’s chances of success.

Using well established technology reduces the risk that comes with using any IT technology as a part of a critical project. It is the role of the CIO to make it easier for the company to reuse existing IT resources. Part of doing this is to clearly establish who gets to make these kinds of decisions. This may require an effort to change the culture of the company.

The benefits of reusing existing IT technology will become obvious very quickly. As project risk goes down and IT is seen as an enabler and not a hindrance, the importance of information technology, and of course the CIO, to the company will increase.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: When do you think that existing IT resources should NOT be reused on a new project?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

With all of this talk about cloud computing, it can be easy to forget about yesterday’s hot topic: data mining. However, it turns out that cloud computing just makes doing data mining a whole lot easier. This means that data mining is reminding the company about the importance of information technology and is staging a comeback. The person with the CIO job is going to have to start to allocate time to deal with this. How about if we take a look at where things currently stand?