How to realise higher ROI from your IT projects in four really simple steps

I get grilled by clients every week with all sorts of questions, some technical, some mundane, some challenging. But the fundamental question that underlies almost all of them is: “How can I get a better return on my IT investments?” In the spirit of keeping things simple, here then are the four things I believe every CTO needs to do to generate better ROI.

What are the tips to note to generate ROI?

If you follow these religiously, you will earn the right to look your CFO straight in the eye at your next budget showdown and say: “Yes, the IT spend was worth it. Here’s why, and by the way I need more money next year so I can generate more ROI, please (and thank you).”

Understand your IT real estate

Any organisation of scale that has a bit of history will inevitably be cluttered with IT infrastructure acquired by different executives and teams for different reasons at different times. As punishing as it sounds, until you really understand all that real estate, you cannot get real about which parts of it are serving your business outcomes and which are not.

Self-analysis is painful, and you will likely discover a trail of value destruction left behind by some past decisions, some of which may even be your own. My advice is deal with it; and prepare to be surprised, there’ll be some good stuff in there too. Through truly understanding all your tech sprawl can you do what is needed to drive optimisation and efficiency.

That may mean jettisoning old tools, merging existing platforms, or cancelling that future order for a shiny new toy because well, it turns out you have everything you need already.

Automate as much as you can

As we all know, especially in Australia, the battle for talent is raging and the cost of skilled, bright people keeps rising. One of the best ways to approach that battle is to deploy capabilities and tools that automate your firm’s processes so as to address and solve repeatable issues in a repeatable way. This will support your ongoing digital modernisation – which is a journey rather than a destination – and the legacy tech which is left behind.

But more importantly, not only can a well-executed automation program drive efficiency in your operations, it also can free up your firm’s talent, allowing them to focus on higher-level issues and challenges. Automation can also reduce human error because, as we also know, human error is often what’s behind so many value-destroying outages and cyber breaches.

Focus on your Fin Ops

Despite the promise of Cloud, many organisations find they have yet to realise the promised financial benefits. In some cases, not much thought has gone into why the business moved to the Cloud and what business outcome they were trying to achieve by moving there.

At the time of moving, it may have been quite an effective and efficient platform, but over time that may no longer be the case. So, make sure that you’ve got the right tooling in place to understand where your consumption lies and that you know what the applications are doing so you continue to drive efficiency in the platforms that you are using.

This is about enabling your business to correlate its cloud consumption against its services and financial reports. In other words, what is the business value coming in versus the cost going out? Kyndryl spends a lot of time helping companies to correlate the costs created by their apps and products with the financial benefits they are deriving from those products.

Clients report that this allows them to get better return-on-investment (ROI) because they are better informed about which platform is right for which application and which product.

Don’t cast mainframes aside

Finally, to get the most efficiency out of your IT investments from a financial perspective, you must identify where to locate which workload. And those choices must be aligned with the overall strategy of the business, not simply an arbitrary or convenient decision.

For instance, some “Cloud First” strategies assert that the Cloud is the right place for all of your software real estate to live. However, most large companies have invested heavily in technology over time, and therefore have a lot of power already at their fingertips.

Many forget the inherent value in these sunk costs and the cost-effective and viable alternatives to Cloud that they may represent for supporting the appropriate workloads.

Mainframes are a great example. Mainframe tech has such strength in its transactional capabilities that is still viable and into the future for workloads that require a lot of transactional processing. Retail banks have millions of transations every second running through their mainframes, which come with a lot of in-built security. Higher ROI from your IT in four simple steps. Simple yes, easy, no. Why not start today – what are you waiting for?

Roy Lovli is the Head of ANZ at Kyndryl Consult.