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IT Strategy: 3 more things you can learn from the U.S. Government

If you are responsible for managing IT within one department of a large organization, then you know how difficult it can be to balance strategic needs with budgetary constraints. But can you imagine how hard this must be for the CIO of the U.S. Department of Defense?


In my last blog - IT strategy: 4 things you can learn from the U.S. government (yes, the U.S. government) - I identified 4 things we can all learn from the overall IT strategy of the U.S. Government, based on a speech from the U.S. chief information officer, Steven VanRoekel. Last week, Information Week published an article about the IT strategy of the Department of Defense, and this gives us a great opportunity to see some more detailed aspects of IT strategy.


Here are 3 interesting things that you can learn from the DOD strategy:


  1.   Increases in IT spending can reduce overall organization spending.


Here’s a question to get you started. If your organization needs to save money, then what should happen to your IT budget? The easy answer would be to cut the IT budget so that IT can contribute to the overall savings. But here is what Information Week tells us about the DOD’s IT spend:


It's significant that the DOD is increasing IT spending at the same time it's cutting billions from the overall budget. That's partly a spend-to-save rationale, but it's also a realization that DOD's more than 2.1 million employees need new and better technologies to do their jobs.


If your organization needs to save money then you could agree to cuts in IT spending, but wouldn’t it be much more satisfying to identify ways that increased IT spending could lead to overall savings for your organization? When did you last sit down with your business to brainstorm ideas of how new IT projects could help to increase overall value or reduce overall spending?


  2.   Don’t spread budget cuts evenly; instead, try to find some expensive things that you can just stop doing.


Information Week tells us that:


Just last month, the DOD stopped funding development of a next-generation radio that was part of its Joint Tactical Radio System, citing the rising costs of the device. The military had already spent $2 billion on development of the device, though it was never actually deployed. It's the kind of elephant project the DOD must get away from.


I have worked with a number of organizations to help them rationalize and prioritize their IT service portfolios. We almost always find some IT services that are far too expensive compared to the value they create for the business. When did you last review and prioritize your entire service portfolio, looking for opportunities to eliminate wasteful spending?


  3.   Consolidate and share resources.


Dedicated resources can be very wasteful. The DOD strategy includes plans for data centre consolidation and increased use of shared services:


As the military moves toward an enterprise IT model, two initiatives in particular--data center consolidation and shared services--have some of the greatest potential for savings and new capabilities. In many cases, they will happen in tandem.

The Army's switch to SaaS email is expected to save $100 million annually. Next, it plans to introduce collaboration tools as a service.


If you are analysing the potential for moving from dedicated infrastructure to a cloud solution, this resource sharing can create significant savings. When you combine this with the other benefits of cloud (such as fast time to market for new services and increased agility to respond to changes in demand) then the case for cloud can be compelling.


When you are looking at opportunities to consolidate and share resources, don’t forget to review your organization design as well as your infrastructure and applications. Many IT organizations have multiple groups doing similar things, often due to many years of growth and acquisitions. This can be just as wasteful as maintaining separate pools of infrastructure for different services.


In these times of cuts and austerity, we all need to do our bit to help the organizations we work for; how we do this will determine how well we come out on the other side of the current financial problems. Does your IT department have an IT strategy that is focussed on maximizing the value you create for the overall organization?


Learn more about HP IT Service Management (ITSM) Services and how we can help you improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your IT operations.


For more info about me and what I can do for your organization, see my profile at our Technology Services Experts page.


Follow me on Twitter @StuartRance

Leanore Mendelsohn | ‎06-08-2012 09:00 AM

Today I had a very fortunate exoerience worth one of your tech support people - Stephanie. Another company had been here in the last two days installing  satellite TV reception.  In their effort to please us as a customer, they took a shortcut and eliminated using the phone cord from my HP Office Jet. I had to make several calls before deciding to call HP support.  Stephanie was wonderful, very logical in her investigation of the problem with me ---I could not send faxes, and did not know why.After spending 3 hours or more speaking with different companies - the cable co, and the satellite company, no one could help solve the problem.  Stephanie walked me through the steps to let the machine tell me from their tools area where the problem might be.  Again, three or more hours was spent in total, The crux of the problem was that the installer for the satellite company had wire everything wrong, but I do have TV recption.  He had deleted the wire from the printer to the telephone line, so he could set up his  ownwork.  (Thanks alot).


Stephanie's patience, logical and calm approach helped me through the ordeal.  By this time I was frazzled and had to yell at my husband to come move the office furniture, so I could

reach the wall outlet to see the technician had put wires in the wrong place.  


Again, Stephanie's patience was above and beyond.  I LOVE HP products.  I have had fax access with alot of past HP printers but never felt confident enough to use that feature. You might say I am definitely computer challenged. In the past few months, I have had to send many faxes, and it has been a breeze.


Stephanie gave me the confidence I needed. Now, I do not know where she works, but kudos to her for being my angel today.   Your employees are great, and I so very much appreciate the thoroughness with which you hire and train your workers - the major ingrediatent of a successful company..


Thank you again so much.  I hope this gets back to her!




Leanore Mendelsohn

Stuart_Rance | ‎06-08-2012 09:15 AM



Thank you for sharing this story. I would like to try to pass this on to Stephanie if I can, but I don't have enough information to do so. Could you please email me at so I can ask you a couple of simple questions.


Thanks again.



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I help clients use service management to create business value for themselves and their customers. I am a senior ITIL examiner and I have wr...

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