When the CEO wants to reduce IT costs while increasing how much technology the company has, the CIO is squeezed. She is stuck supporting existing systems while needing to spend money to evaluate and implement new technologies. No one is happy when there is a wide gap between where the money is being spent and where you’d like it to be.
The solution to this conundrum is to use “white space,” an approach for rapidly evaluating and executing innovations. It can replace typically costly rounds of testing, evaluation and vendor demonstrations, making IT more responsive in the process.
White space projects are not, in fact, tests (which are easily defunded, and often don’t demonstrate much value or address serious implementation issues). Instead, management commits to deployment and project teams get a wide berth to find the implementation methods that bring maximum value. Such projects aren’t expected to align with legacy data structures or application environments—limits that might add cost and reduce value.
Failure isn’t an option. Only by committing to implementing new technology in a mission-critical environment will you be able to devote enough of the budget to the project and get employees and vendors to make it work.
Be more flexible
What’s more, with each white space project your team carries out, employees get better at managing implementation and evaluating new technology and its payback. Over time, you’ll become more flexible and make end users happier.
Technology advances faster than most IT departments can evaluate and adopt it. But too often, legacy business practices and their costs cause a company to lose its edge. A high-performance IT department must be effective at rapid evaluation and implementation of new technologies. White space is a way to make that happen.
Adam Hartung is a consultant and author who specializes in innovation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.