Stronger IT Roadmap Alignments Can Provide Big Win for CIOs

It’s a challenging economic environment for any CIO to conquer, but the key to IT success in this climate lies with your roadmap.

IOs have it tough right now. The economy is shaky at best and large OEM tech vendors don’t make it easy to find footing. Companies need stability from the technology powering their people and processes. With the right data and skills to support the effort, IT roadmap alignment is a fast and effective way to get there.

Consider the state of modern business tech spending. Around 90% of IT budgets go to maintenance, which equates to about $450 billion spent globally each year keeping the lights on, Origina CRO Brendan Walsh says in our webinar “From Chaos to Clarity: Streamlining Your IT Roadmap for Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity”. The remaining 10% is earmarked for innovation, Walsh says, but teams are rarely equipped to make the most of it, with typical blockers coming in the form of:

  • Inflation. Atypically high inflation like what we see today can counteract even generous year-over-year increases to the innovation budget, to say nothing of cost rollbacks, which routinely leave CIOs to do more with less.
  • OEM price increases. IBM increased software costs by as much as 24% in some markets in 2023 in reaction to what they called “unique local market dynamics.”
  • Forced upgrades. Companies often find themselves moving at the vendor’s suggested upgrade cadence, not the one that suits their business best, because they think that’s the only option.

IT roadmap alignment helps companies do more with their existing IT budgets, recaptures funds from expensive maintenance arrangements, and protects them from vendor tactics that can prohibit healthy business growth. Instead of struggling with changes that don’t fully suit business plans, the company is free to do what it wishes with the technology at its disposal.

Change your mindset and free your tech estate

Our webinar offers several tips for companies seeking IT roadmap alignment, and it all starts with questioning the status quo and building a sense of healthy skepticism that informs and shapes your roadmap planning efforts.

As former Orange Business Services CEO Thierry Bonhomme suggests, innovation hasn’t always been a primary focus in terms of business processes. The same “nobody got fired for buying IBM” thinking that kept careers safe also gave certain OEMs a major leg up in the market. Over time, Bonhomme says, this allowed B2B software conglomerates to slowly introduce restrictive tactics and terms that strongly favor the vendor side of the relationship.

When companies start making decisions based on OEM policy instead of their own best past forward, they’ve lost control of the roadmap.

Strong IT roadmap alignment puts decision-making back in the primary business’s hands. It’s a good skill to have because software megavendor tactics can put even the best laid plans on the sideline. Per a story from seasoned CIO Mike Rozsa in the webinar, it’s not unheard of for End of Life (EOL) notices to put pressure on companies to undergo essentially needless version updates.

When companies start making decisions based on OEM policy instead of their own best past forward, they’ve lost control of the roadmap.

How do IT-driven businesses move forward from here?

Rozsa and Bonhomme both mirror a growing sentiment in the enterprise. Whether you’re talking about updating on-premises or moving to the cloud, giving OEMs too much say in the roadmap makes it hard to build plans that click with the whole business.

To achieve IT roadmap alignment, your business must have primary say in how it uses its technology.

Growing a stronger voice in the roadmap planning process requires developing a healthy skeptic outlook. The experts at the webinar offered a few points of consideration.

1. Review how vendor pressures could shape your decision-making processes. Rozsa offered not one but two stories in which rather unexpected OEM changes could’ve forced the customer business to take plans back to the drawing board. Identifying these potential points in advance makes it easier when you do encounter them.

2. “You don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” This piece of wisdom from Bonhomme applies directly to IT roadmap alignment simply because the most effective IT roadmaps are all data-driven. Achieving a deep level of operational, licensing, and technological knowledge about the long-serving points of your infrastructure can be challenging, but the payoff is planning acumen and operational knowledge that can keep certain vendor tactics, such as an aggressive customer audit strategies or price hikes, in check.

3. Knowledge of options is leverage. Knowing you have options beyond what the OEM lays out can be enough to build better IT roadmap alignment. Take the mass move to cloud. With so many companies now rolling back those investments, the ability to secure and maintain your estate past the OEM’s EOS date means far more planning flexibility and runway to make the right decision.

Adopting this approach to your IT estate as you bring your roadmap plan closer to business operations is essential, and it will only become more important as companies look for other ways to avoid vendor lock-in and other tech-planning blockers.

TPSM and IT Roadmap Alignment

Third-party software maintenance (TPSM) can provide advice and direct technical help that keeps companies using the software they currently have for as long as they want – a win for companies trying to slow down the upgrade cadence and achieve better IT roadmap alignment.

Origina on-demand webinar promotional image for Streamlining Your IT Roadmap


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