10 Laws of Information Technology

No matter how much technology changes, there are some things that don’t change:

1. Never lose data. Whether it’s just your laptop or 100 terabytes of storage. This is your intellectual property and the only thing you can’t replace if it is deleted.

2. Centralize when you can, distribute when you have to. Adding more offices causes your IT spend to grow exponentially. This applies to any piece of technology you buy

3. Standardize when you can, customize when you have to. If everyone picks their own software to do work, it is very difficult to get teams to work together. Multiple technologies not only drive up your IT  costs, it slows your business down.

4. Simple is always better than complex. Think real hard about buying four best-of-breed applications and then lashing them together. Many times one application that does 90% very well is more than good enough for your business.

5. Spend as little as possible solving problems or achieving goals. IT can be a money pit and not realize the intended business value. Start small, get people using it, then scale as necessary.

6. 100% utilization of IT assets will always yield the lowest cost. Professional services firms know that they make more money when their human resources are fully utilized on billable work. Take the same approach with your IT assets.

7. Always have a “Plan B”. That has become a verb in IT.  We need to “plan B” it or “plan C” it.  Some of the best technologies do not get adopted by your people.  The best technology is the one that gets used and sometimes you have to change.

8. If it CAN break, it WILL break! Like any capital asset, these things don’t last for ever. Systematically identify and eliminate single-points of failure if the cost to eliminate the failure is less than the revenue impact to your business.

9. Volume changes everything. A 1-5 person firm has certain technology needs and budgets. If your business plan is widely successful and you grow to 100 people, you’ll probably have to throw out your technology and start over. Just like you plan for business growth, plan for IT growth.

10. Do not be married to your technology. Many firms develop a particular expertise in a piece of technology and effectively become married to it. Business growth is more important than any technology. Be ready to decommission it if it becomes a drag on your revenue and expansion.