The Cost of IT Complexity

Technology should obviously make it possible to streamline processes and reduce costs. Often, it does. But during the 1990s, companies added wave after wave of novel technologies, often starting new projects before completing earlier ones, with disappointing results. By not fully changing business processes to reap the value of the new systems, these companies made processes more complex—not more streamlined—and increased costs, particularly in IT.

Rapid mergers and globalization added to the complexity. Integrating and rationalizing systems after a merger can be a massive job that takes months, sometimes years, to complete. For example Bank One, the nation's fifth-largest bank, has been acquiring smaller banks over ...

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