iT1 Resources

Why Today Is a Great Time to Break a Bad IT Habit

In 2020 as the world went into lockdown, many Information Technology teams, departments, or functions had to hurry up and do many things that were not on their technical roadmaps, in the 2020 budgets, and for which they had little skill. Now three years later, many of those actions are still in place because no one is asking why. Alternatively, if people are asking why they are assuming things are the same today as 2020 when you bought, deployed, implemented, or otherwise committed to a specific technology. Unfortunately, this is a well-known technology bad habit, to just assume needs are the same, users are the same, customers are the same, etc. so we just keep updating the software, paying the hardware maintenance, and chasing the next thing on the to do list. So, starting today let’s stop.

Suggesting today, or any other day, is a great time to stop assuming the past conditions apply to the present or the future is sensible, even easy, but making the change is anything but easy. When you implemented a piece of technology there was a business case, even if it was the “2020 just do it now” business case. However, few business cases include a reevaluation or decommissioning time frame. This means that once implemented, information technologies tend to just stay around forever. The versions may be upgraded but the thing itself stays which takes resources from other technologies that might produce better, cheaper, or faster outcomes. Moreover, the old technologies take increasingly more support staff to update and modify to meet new organization needs.

Time To Get Started

The first step toward breaking any bad habit is acknowledging you have a problem, a habit to break. This requires something that most information technology functions do not have today – time. You need time to evaluate your technology stacks. You need time to talk to your internal business partners to ask if they still need, use, like, or want that old technology. You also need time to plan decommissioning, better ways to deliver outcomes, budgets, training, and every other part of turning technology off. This is the reason most of us fall into the bad habit of just letting it run, we do not have time to do anything else.

So where do you find the time to evaluate, and to just stop letting it run? Your budget. While time and budget might not immediately connect to support your quest to break a bad habit, helping your internal business partners understand how expensive the old technology is can motivate them to help you find the time to replace it. Moreover, this is a good place to introduce an external technology partner to help you perform the audit, show you the real costs of the old technology, and to build a budget that supports the time you need to save the organization money.

Beyond saving the organization money, this first step toward breaking the let it run habit can also serve as the foundation for new processes to evaluate technologies each year. By developing a habit to ask the question do we need this and to connect with your internal business partners, you can ensure the technology supporting your organization is there by choice not by chance. The asking questions habit also builds trust and confidence with your internal business partners, and those are habits we should all be practicing.


Dr. Mike Lewis serves as Chief Information Officer, EVP of Informatics, Security & Technology for Trillium Health Resources, a managed-care organization serving more than 350,000 members in North Carolina. He earned his Doctor of Management degree from George Fox University and is a former MBA adjunct professor at Maryhurst University. Mike has worked in the IT field for more than 25 years with stints at IBM, Merisel, and Dell.


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