Comparing Your IT Shop to Others

Benchmark the right way to gain useful insights.

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Figure 2: Budget comparisons tell part of the story

Budget Category Implications of spending higher or lower than benchmark
Investments in new business or IT capabilities
New business application development Lower-than-average budgets suggest either lower business demand for improved capabilities, or more emphasis on small enhancements to existing applications.
Infrastructure—hardware, software Higher-than-average budgets suggest either above-average business expansion, or weak infrastructure management leading to more purchases.
Operational expense
Application maintenance and support Higher-than-average budgets suggest either low quality of existing applications, weaker prioritization practices or greater business emphasis on incremental improvements.
Software licenses and maintenance Lower-than-average budgets suggest strong software asset management or emphasis on custom software development.
Data center operations Lower-than-average budgets suggest effective data center planning and management, such as use of automation and standardization.
End-user support Lower-than-average budgets suggest effective standardization and service delivery practices, or a very homogeneous user population.
Information security and continuity Lower-than-average budgets suggest either robust, integrated security architectures or under-investment.
Networks and communications Higher-than-average budgets suggest a firm with a greater geographic scope or a less efficient infrastructure architecture.
Planning, Strategy and Innovation
Planning and program management Higher-than-average budgets suggest a larger scope of PMO responsibility for project delivery.
Enterprise architecture Higher-than-average budgets suggest an EA group that has a broad scope and is well integrated into IT planning and delivery.
Technology R&D Lower-than-average budgets suggest either a lower emphasis on technology leverage, or very informal practices for R&D.
Related:
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Security vs. innovation: IT's trickiest balancing act