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Strategies for Dealing With IT Complexity

Strategies for Dealing With IT Complexity

Every innovation, every business process improvement, comes with an IT complexity tax that must be paid by CIOs in time, money and sweat. Here are strategies to mitigate the increasing complexity of IT as it enables new business.

It's called Moore's Flaw, the flip side of the famous axiom that has driven the furious pace of IT innovation for several decades.

Moore's Law (in one of its many formulations) states that computing capability increases 1 percent per week. Moore's Flaw posits that keeping up with this flood tide of innovation quickly becomes too difficult (and too costly) for anyone to manage.

"IT complexity acts as a significant tax on IT value," says Bob Zukis, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. It's those organizations that "have managed complexity out of their environments that are reaping the value from their IT spends."

Even more important, businesses that successfully address complexity can be more agile because their systems don't get in the way of business process change.

"When you reduce complexity, you increase your ability to implement new solutions," says Andre Mendes, CIO of the Special Olympics.

"Complexity leads to brittleness and high costs," notes Frank Modruson, CIO of Accenture. "But if you get your technology cleaner, you can serve the business more easily."

Today, all CIOs are standing in the path of a fire hose spewing complexity.

And many are getting soaked.

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