By Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau) | May 24, 2012
"IT is a business within a business," said Tom Sanzone, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton and a former CIO at Credit Suisse, during a panel discussion. "It should be run that way."
"When you look at IT services you say, can I deliver these services at my scale, at a price the market can bear," Sanzone added.
But at the same time, CIOs can no longer sacrifice quality, other panelists said.
"We have accepted a very poor quality of product for a very long time, and that has been the major filter through which the business perceives us," said Steven John, strategic CIO at cloud ERP (enterprise resource planning) software vendor Workday. "We need to change that."
Global systems integrator Accenture fits its IT spending into "two buckets," one for operating expenses and another for investments in IT, said CIO Frank Modruson. Each year, his teams are urged to find ways to lower operating costs and move the money over to investments, according to Modruson.
There are some likely targets, he added. "Email costs, every year they should go down."
But the company isn't afraid to spend big if there's enough of a payoff, according to Modruson.
For one thing, Accenture "blew up its whole network" in 2007, consolidating and modernizing the system. While the job cost US$100 million, it paid for itself in just a few years, he said. "Now we're getting ready to do it again."
Those improvements are laying the groundwork for other innovations at Accenture, particularly in communications.