Funding your innovation

In our roles as CIOs, most of us constantly battle for money to fund work on innovation and R&D. Usually, such investments are not an easy sell to the CEO or the Board. One way to help ourselves with finding such money is to look in our own backyard.

I see over and over again that CIOs like to be focused on new and sexy initiatives, such as cloud and big data, but tend to overlook less exciting parts of our job, such as cost control, or other mundane things. But these mundane aspects of your job could benefit you more than you’d like to realize. Often, a relatively minimal effort in cost optimization will yield enough savings to finance your next “sexy” project.

Here are some of the areas to look into for cost savings:

  1. Are your various contracts set to auto-renew? Do you have a schedule of contract expirations? You would not want an unnecessary support-related contract to auto-renew.
  2. Are your local, Internet, long distance, toll-free, and audio conferencing rates in line with current market rates? I have seen people paying 5-year old rates and automatically renewed for next 5 years at the same rates! So, don’t forget to renegotiate contracts before they expire.
  3. Are you paying month to month for some services? While it offers flexibility, sometimes it might be worth putting those services under a contract.
  4. Do you have inventory of all local lines? Do you know how each line is used? Perhaps, you can cancel some — if not all — of those fax lines.
  5. Are your printers set to print double-sided and black and white by default? Colour prints are typically much more expensive, so it’s worth the time to go in and check this
  6. Are you paying for support of equipment that is out of commission? I have seen cases like that , for example monthly support was paid for a number of printers that have been out of commission for years.
  7. Are you taking advantages of SR&ED? It is surprising how many people still do not understand the full value of this program and how much money they can save. Many companies provide SR&ED services to you at no risk; they just retain percentage of what you recover.

Those are just some of the low hanging fruits which can feed your innovation initiatives. In my past experience, I was able to reduce G&A spending by up to 10% by following these relatively simple steps, which can significantly increase your budget for more innovative projects. How have you been able to fund your innovation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Michael Issaev
Michael Issaev
Michael is an accomplished senior IT leader with global IT experience across a number of sectors. He’s dedicated to moving businesses forward through digital transformation. Currently, he is the CTO for Patient News, a leader in healthcare marketing and advertising.

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