Thursday, June 03, 2010

"Technical Debt" is Destroying IT

Todd Michaud, who is responsible for IT at Focus Brands (Cinnabon, Carvel, Schlotzsky’s and Moe’s Southwestern Grill), writes a guest column in Storefront Backtalk that highlights endemic problems in managing IT in 95 out of 100 companies. It is an insightful, quick read about "Technical Debt," i.e. any technology decision that has a long-term negative impact on the business.

Some key conclusions:
  • Define your requirements to a detailed level before you make your purchasing decision. Don’t base your requirements on the first proposal you get. Know what you want/need ahead of time.
  • Challenge your business partners on the criticality of each requirement. If one requirement can be dropped and save 25% of the long-term costs, is it worth it? (If done regularly, this one tip alone could probably reduce IT budgets by as much as 15 percent)
  • Understand that even if it’s cheaper to have a human do something, that doesn’t make it a better option. Understand the cost of data integrity issues and timeliness of data
  • Ask the question: How many other systems or departments will need the data that is captured or created by this system. If the answer is greater than 0, then understand the costs to extend that data before you implement (because trust me, someone will want it)

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