Rethinking IT truisms

I hear this all too often, "We don’t do software development" inferring that preference is given to buying software packages. What about this one, "We are in the process of vendor consolidation and procurement don’t like adding new vendors"?

Is it time to rethink these truisms? Why would you want to?

Vinnie Mirchandani, on his deal architect blog , wrote about "How the crash will shape Corporate IT" (follow the link also to his Information Week article). It really hit the spot for me and summed up what I’ve been feeling about some of these IT truisms for a while.

What I’m finding is that internal IT departments are losing the ability to write software programs and to understand the organisation through various disciplines of architecture. Their strongest skills, that is the internal IT department, now is in managing vendors in acquisition and in contract administration. Through losing their software development capability, they become an internal support organisation and not a center of leadership for change or efficiency improvement in the business.

When the business wants to do something new, the IT department on behalf of the business, hire external consultants to interview the business. The consultants then collate requirements to prepare a Request for Quote/Tender document for a COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) or MOTS (Modified Off The Shelf) package. Vendors with possible solutions, preferable with existing relationships, are approached and one is selected. This process can be very time consuming and all parties involved will expend significant effort. Mean while the business has changed, some of the requirements change or even worse no one can remember why a particular requirement was required in the first place. See how quickly the costs mount up. Not to mention the additional cost of the annual maintenance and support fees!

With the explosition in cloud technology there are so many ways to reduce not only your software costs but also your operational expenses. So if you are being asked to reduce your op-ex budget by at least 10%, or maybe even 50%, question those truisms. They are costing you!

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