Zero based IT planning

PCQ Bureau
New Update

One of the worst things that can happen to organisations is

unprecedented or unplanned growth. Worst thing? Growth? Yes. You read it right.

Unplanned growth is one of the worst things that can happen to any organization.


Why? Because systems and processes that were meant for a

smaller or different scale of operations may just not stretch smoothly enough.

Because the large number of new employees who come into the organization. Given

that most organizations of the size we are talking of are today have significant

investments in IT to automate their business processes, the strain on the IT

systems could perhaps be the most damaging.

Krishna Kumar, Editor

The Indian economy is today one of the fastest growing in

the whole world and Indian companies are posting growth like they have never

seen before. All the experts that one comes across predict that this trend will

sustain. Which is why, it is time for you to pause and take stock whether your

IT systems are capable of accommodating and scaling up to the new business



And when you look at it, there are many different levels

that you need to consider. There may be platform issues that could limit your

ability to scale. There may be tehnology and lifecycle issues. There will be

infrastructure issues and there will definitely be old applications that have

become a patchwork quilt of add-ons and workarounds.

It is the rare enterprise that will throw out everything

and recreate the entire IT system from scratch, albiet over time. So, what you

would end up  doing would be to add further to the complex patchwork that

you already have in place, further weakening the setup and moving it even more

closer to the breaking point.

What I would instead suggest is that you take a break, take

a deep breath and (preferably on a blank stack of paper) sketch out what your IT

infrastructure should actually be like and what it would take in terms of

resources to build it.


The people over at finance call it zero based budgeting. In

zero based budgeting, you do not look at the incremental figures, particularly

expenditure over the previous year, but look at it from ground up, seeking

justifications for every expense from scratch. Something like assuming that the

business is being built afresh and then finding out what is it going to take to

do it.

It is not every organization that does zero based

budgeting. Nor do they do it every year. Why? Because, zero based budgeting, I

am told, is an involved and time consuming activity, which requires a completely

different mindset, altogether different from that required for day to day

operations or regular budget making.

My submission is that your IT infrastructure, however large

or small may it be, can also benefit from some zero based planning; some fresh

thinking from the ground up.

Like the finance people do, you also do not have to do it

every year. But every once in a while, it is important to get a different

perspective of the same thing. If nothing else, you get a fresh perspective to

what you need and where you need it. And that is important when you have to

provide the infrastructure for double digit growth percentages for the business.

Good Luck.