IT departments hold back on new equipment to invest in existing systems

IT departments have shifted their focus from investing in new IT systems to spending money to get more of their existing IT systems, according to services...

IT departments have shifted their focus from investing in new IT systems to spending money to get more of their existing IT systems, according to services company Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).

More companies are updating their existing systems by using virtualisation software and fewer, more powerful applications, said Tom Rogerson, CTO of financial services EMEA at CSC.

"Most companies are looking to rationalise IT and strip it back to the essentials to achieve the same business effect with less," he said.

The trend has been driven by a tougher economic climate. Most companies have less capital available or are unwilling to take on the risk of IT projects to replace existing systems.

Economic considerations are also driving companies to switch to a service-oriented architecture (SOA) to extend the life of legacy systems.

Rogerson said SOA is giving most value where companies keep projects simple and focus on supporting the business rather than on achieving a perfect architecture first time.

Outsourcing remains a popular strategy for updating legacy systems, but Rogerson said there is a definite trend towards separating contracts for things such as application maintenance from contracts for updating core infrastructure.

He said organisations want to see that each contract is cost efficient in its own right and can be adjusted independently of each other as conditions change.

Financial services companies are increasing chosing to design tnew financial products alongside the IT systems needed to run them, a principle borrowed from manufacturing.

"Just as manufacturers reduce the time to market by designing products in tandem with production lines, financial services firms are developing services in parallel with IT systems they need," he said.

The increased demand for IT transformation projects means IT services companies are having to co-ordinate a much wider spread of technologies and strategies.

Rogerson said CSC had responded to the challenge by beginning its own programme of internal change aimed at breaking down operational silos.

"Spotting the opportunities and joining the dots is a big part of my job as CTO to enable greater collaboration between different parts of the business," he said.

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