IT Must Get off Its Tail

Ann All

If IT doesn't get off its tail and start showing more value to the business, it could find itself extinct.


That seems to be the implication of a Gartner executive's comments featured in a recent Computerworld New Zealand article. He says that 80 percent of IT spending is "dead money" -- that is, it does not benefit business growth or increase competitive advantage. Rather, it's used to maintain existing infrastructure or to "keep the lights on."


The Gartner exec says that figure should be no more than 60 percent. He makes some suggestions, such as taking any IT cost savings and immediately earmarking them for a growth initiative.


His thoughts dovetail nicely with those of the CTO of data infrastructure management company dbaDIRECT, who made the same point using an old military analogy in a recent IT Business Edge interview.


IT departments must improve their "tooth to tail ratio," says the CTO, meaning they are ready to bite off new projects rather than devoting precious energy to dragging around their tails.


Outsourcing selected functions is one way to improve this ratio; reallocating internal resources is another. No matter how they do it, IT has to get more teeth, he says. Few competitors are going to be intimidated by a tail, no matter how big it is.

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