Information Maturity and I.T. ROI

I spent the beginning of my morning preparing for an ISV Product Assessment Deep Dive and reviewing some old Gartner group reports. I’m an Industry Analyst for two Research firms in my off time. As I scanned the graphs in the Gartner report I noticed an interesting trend from year to year. The amount of I.T. budget spent on business transformation – pundit-speak—for improved capabilities for the business continues to shrink, while infrastructure and maintenance costs continue to rise. The figures quoted for 2003 were 19% for transformation. During the 1970s new application development –old category name for business transformation—was hovering between 30% to 40%.

The interesting issue around this fact is that vendors are all over talking about virtualization and cloud, yet when I look at the benefits of both they’re focused around reducing the hardware maintenance and platform cost footprint. Oddly enough that’s one of the least costly items in the budget. A simple Pareto Analysis suggest developing and working on means to reduce software, specifically application, maintenance costs would give a better payback. Simply put a reduction of 10% of 90% is more than a reduction of 40% of 20%.

Hopefully Cloud vendors and tool purveyors will crack tat nut. I am hopeful given enabling technologies such as AgilePoint and Concatenate. However that presupposes I.T. organization move up the food chain from 1990s design patterns to present day. A recent spot check has too many customers using SharePoint as a web frontend to a shared drive. Simply put many organizations are managing files not information.

Last month I kicked off a project to produce a White Paper: From File Management to Information Management an organizational maturity road map. During the SharePoint Salon in Anaheim this month many of the participants contributed towards that body of knowledge with the intent of developing a practice based on a sound body of work. Hopefully the next Salon I hold in a few months will advance the discourse as much as the previous ones have.

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