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The CIO’s cost-optimization playbook: 7 tips for tight times

IT leaders lend advice on optimizing IT for value when budgets get lean — without impairing growth projects.

Cutting costs in IT while still moving forward with digital initiatives is not for the faint of heart. On the heels of transitioning staff to working remotely for the long haul, now many CIOs are being tasked with reducing budgets in an uncertain economy.

“It’s a difficult dance,’’ admits Kristin Myers, who was recently appointed executive vice president, CIO, and dean for information technology at Mount Sinai Health System. “It doesn’t mean while you’re cost cutting you’re not investing in these other areas, like digital.” One of a CIO’s most important tasks is to scrutinize application portfolios, reprioritize initiatives, and make investments in areas that will meet business objectives and add the most value, she says.

Successful organizations frame the cost-cutting discussion differently, agrees James Anderson, vice president of CIO research at Gartner. They don’t just cost cut, but cost optimize, and value optimize, he says. Cost cutting is essentially just meeting a target, Anderson adds.

Cost optimizing is about moving money into the correct buckets to optimize business outcomes. This leads to value optimization, balancing costs, value, and risk across an organization, he explains.

Contributing Writer, CIO

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