Why IT Leaders Need To Get Good At Reusing Technology

by drjim on June 12, 2014

Existing Information Technology Resources Can Be Reused

Existing Information Technology Resources Can Be Reused
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I’m sure that you know that you shouldn’t throw things that can be recycled away. Save the planet and all of that. So this brings up an interesting question: as an IT Leader how committed to recycling technology are you when the company is preparing to start up a brand new project?

Why It Makes Sense To Recycle Technology

When your company is starting up a new project, there can be a great deal of excitement in the air. Everything about the project is new, and so it can be very easy to decide that the technology that the project will be using should be new also. The thinking is that “we’re different” and therefore in order to make the most of your IT manager skills the technology that we use should be different also. However, this may be the wrong decision.

The problem with this thinking is that it turns out that it may cause more problems than it solves. Specifically, studies done by MIT’s Sloan Center for Information Systems Research has revealed that by reusing existing technology the risk of a new project can be lowered. Specifically, firms that are able to share existing technology across departments and business units discover that they are able to grow faster and are able to keep their costs lower than firms that don’t do this.

If your IT team is able to reuse technology on a new project, this is going to free your time up. You won’t be distracted by all of the issues that come along with rolling a new technology out to a highly visible project. Instead, the use of the existing technology will allow the IT manager to focus on innovation and deliver what the company expects you to provide – results. However, nobody’s IT manager training even included how to go about doing technology recycling.

How To Go About Recycling Technology

Recycling technology is something that can’t be left up to the part of the IT department that will be assigned to work on the new project. They will be justifiably excited about the new project and may not have the ability to see the recycling opportunities. Instead, as the IT manager you need to establish an IT team that will be responsible for recycling the company’s IT resources and can lend a hand when a new project is starting up.

One of the biggest reasons that technology recycling may not be adopted by your company may be because of who’s in charge. Management needs to buy in to the idea of reusing existing IT resources. In order to make this happen the IT manager needs to establish processes that will cause reuse to occur. Making reuse part of any project proposal can play a key role in making sure that reuse is included from the start of the project planning cycle.

In order for any technology reuse program to be successful, the culture of the company is going to have to change. This means that the IT manager is going to have to make sure that the rest of the company knows about the successes that come about because of IT recycling efforts. Getting the word out is the first step in making this happen and it’s something that has to be done every day.

What All Of This Means For You

When IT managers are faced with starting up a new project, after you get done with the IT team building it can be very tempting to go out and get all new hardware and software to support the shiny new project. However, the savvy IT manager realizes that if they can find a way to reuse the technology that they already have, they’ll boost the project’s chances of success.

Using well established technology reduces the risk that comes with using any IT technology as a part of a critical project. It is the role of the IT manager to make it easier for the IT department to reuse existing IT resources. Part of doing this is to clearly establish who gets to make these kinds of decisions. This may require an effort to change the culture of the company.

The benefits of reusing existing IT technology will become obvious very quickly. As project risk goes down and IT is seen as an enabler and not a hindrance, the importance of information technology, and of course the IT manager, to the company will increase.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: When do you think that existing IT resources should NOT be reused on a new project?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So just exactly what is being an IT manager all about? When we all of sudden find ourselves in this position, the question of just exactly what the company wants us to be doing has to come up. Well I’ve got some good news for you, it turns out that there are 8 different tasks that go into being an effective IT manager. Let’s take a look at what they are…

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