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Three IT Investment Priorities to Prepare You for the Future

March 10, 2014
Operating in today’s environment will require discipline and a radically different approach compared to how you may have done things in the past.

Today, success can be defined by an ability to adapt to change—not once a year, but as it happens. It is advisable to look at your business constantly, on a monthly or perhaps daily basis, and identify what is necessary to support transformation. Spurred by the “New Style of IT” and a growing need to address trends like cloud, Big Data, social media and mobile, this can mean profound changes to the way you use and invest in IT. Operating in today’s environment will require discipline and a radically different approach compared to how you may have done things in the past.

This can be challenging. But change is not easy and it takes self-control, commitment and consistency to see it through. And while you will certainly have your own list of what’s important for your business, understanding what others are doing or thinking can often help you see the forest for the trees. What follows are my top three IT investment priorities for 2014.

Take a New Approach

Let’s face it, your ability to manage the multiple technology investments needed for transition can be a daunting prospect. You need to simultaneously support existing environments and deliver against increasing demands for cloud, mobility, Big Data and security. Getting to the New Style of IT will require a new approach to IT investments, one that gives you the flexibility to adapt and scale to changing business or customer needs on short notice. The traditional “develop, build and run” mentality to IT is no longer sufficient.

See also: Manufacturing CFOs Can Help Overcome Challenges of Investing in Technology

Your IT investment strategy will need to:

  • Respond to your business priorities as they happen.
  • Enhance operational efficiencies beyond what has been implemented already.
  • Drive to new procedures and policies to reflect reality of the New Style of IT.

Tip: Revisit your approach to IT investments to see how you can more effectively and quickly drive the change under way. Done right, it can help you support transformation and deliver on business goals.

Put On a New Hat

Today, connecting IT spend to business objectives is essential and will require the removal of your respective financial or IT hats in place of a new one that is focused on the business. But like any new team you join, collaboration and teamwork will be critical to winning. Those who are able to step outside of their traditional roles and work across the business will be in a better position to align on priorities, identify what investments should be accelerated and define the best approach for funding.

Collectively, this can help drive faster deployment times and lead to better overall results. But don’t take my word for it. According to a recent PWC digital IQ survey, those that are successful in ensuring investment strategies are aligned to business priorities are:

  • 55% more likely than other companies to foster innovation.
  • 56% more likely to outperform competitors in terms of annual revenue growth.
  • 59% more likely to deliver initiatives on time, on budget and within scope.

Tip: Become an enabler vs a controller. Look at how you are currently aligned to the business and identify ways to become more integrated into the strategic priorities, helping you drive revenue and deliver value.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

The great thing about the New Style of IT is that it opens the door to a host of new usage, payment and delivery models for IT, from dial up and down capabilities to anywhere access. With these options come new decisions regarding what’s optimal for the business. It’s difficult to think about and it may seem easier to just keep what you have or pick one like cloud and be done with it. But not everything may be suitable for the cloud. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach may box you in and end up costing you more in the long run. Defining which model and investment structure is right for your business will be important to help reduce the likelihood of duplicative costs and risks.

Tip: Don't be afraid to step outside of the box and take advantage of the various consumption models available to you. With the right IT investment strategy, you should be able to clearly map usage to the application or business needs, providing you the flexibility to leverage all of the options available to you with the New Style of IT.

As you work on 2014 priorities and ponder next year’s, remember that change is inevitable, and as Alan Watts, a British born philosopher, writer and speaker, once said, “the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

Irving H. Rothman is president and CEO of HP Financial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Co. He is responsible for the worldwide delivery of customized leasing, financing and financial asset management solutions that simplify customers’ IT lifecycle management and reduce their total cost of ownership. Prior to joining HP, Rothman was president and CEO of Compaq Financial Services Corp. (CFS). He led CFS from its founding in 1997, growing the business to greater than $3.7 billion in total assets prior to the HP-Compaq merger. With over 40 years in the leasing industry, Rothman has also held leadership positions with U.S. Leasing International, Thomson McKinnon Securities and AT&T Capital Corp. He is also author of Out-Executing the Competition: Building and Growing a Financial Services Company in Any Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2012).

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