Don’t Go On an IT Diet, Change Your Behavior

I’ve refrained from incorporating the current economic crisis into my posts… until now. In a recent discussion, I compared the current situation to what many, many people do every new year. They make a resolution to lose weight, go on some fad diet or start going to the fitness center, maybe lose that weight, but then go right back to how their behavior was a few months prior and gain that weight (and potentially more) right back.

Enterprises are in a similar state. Priorities have shifted to where cost containment and cutting are at the top of the list. While the knee-jerk reaction is to stop investing in any long-term initiatives, this could be a risky approach. If I don’t eat for 4 days, I may quickly drop the weight I need to, but guess what? I still need to eat. Not eating for 4 days will only make me more unhealthy, and then when I do eat, the weight will come right back.

These times should not mean that organization drop their efforts to adopt SOA, ITIL/ITSM, or any other long-term initiative. Most of these efforts try to achieve ROI through cost reduction by eliminating redundancy in the enterprise, which is exactly what is needed today! The risk, however, is that these efforts must be held accountable for the goals they claim to achieve. They must also be prepared to adjust their actions to speed up the pace, if it is possible. No one could have predicted the staggering losses we’re seeing, and sometimes it is necessary for a company’s survival to adjust the pace. If these efforts are succeeding in reducing costs, however, we shouldn’t kill them just because they take a longer time to achieve their goals, otherwise we’ll find ourselves back in the same boat when the next change in priorities or goals happen.

The whole point of Enterprise Architecture, SOA, and many of these other strategic IT initiatives is to allow IT to be more agile- to respond more quickly to changes in the business objectives. Guess what? We’re in the middle of a big unprecedented change in our lifetime. My guess is that the best survivors of this meltdown will be organizations that don’t go on a starvation diet, but instead simply recognize that their priorities and goals have changed and execute without significant disruption to the way they utilize IT. If your EA team, SOA efforts, ITIL efforts, or anything else are inefficient and not providing the intended value, then you’re at risk of being cut, but you were probably at risk anyway, now someone just happens to be looking for targets. If EA has been adding value all along, then you’ll probably be a strategic asset that will help your organization weather the storm.

5 Responses to “Don’t Go On an IT Diet, Change Your Behavior”

Leave a Reply


This blog represents my own personal views, and not those of my employer or any third party. Any use of the material in articles, whitepapers, blogs, etc. must be attributed to me alone without any reference to my employer. Use of my employers name is NOT authorized.