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Decoding the IT Value Problem: An Executive Guide for Achieving Optimal ROI on Critical IT Investments by Gregory J. Fell

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CHAPTER 11

Rebaselining the IT Budget

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Funding issues, rather than technology, are often the main drivers of IT project failures. When a project runs out of money, it's important for the CIO to have a range of practical fallbacks or workarounds. Poor decisions made in a panic can exacerbate the situation.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Is Not a Good Business Strategy

When IT projects fail, or when they underperform relative to expectations, it's often due to lack of sufficient funding. Over the course of my career, I've noticed that underfunding generally occurs for one of two reasons:

  1. The project is underfunded initially.
  2. The project becomes underfunded over time.

This chapter deals mostly with the second reason, and offers a fairly straightforward solution.

Let's look at a typical IT budget scenario. We'll begin with the assumption that each project within the overall IT budget has its own budget. Most IT departments track overall spending over time. But it's also important to track spending on individual projects relative to the percent of the project's completion.

If you're not tracking spending relative to completion, then it's easy to wind up in a situation where you're on budget, but you're behind schedule. As the saying goes, “Time is money.” Running out of time can have the same net effect as running out of money.

For example, let's say the business wants a new sales forecasting process and they come to IT in June with a project that could potentially ...

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