What Bank of America learned about cutting back on IT from mergers

Bank of America learned a ton about how to consolidate technology portfolios as it gobbled up other banks over decades of growth.

Each of these acquisitions involved a process of digestion that the bank called 'transition', the aim of which was to be able to consolidate operations in a manner that was efficient and as low risk a possible on 'legal day one'.

Forbes reports that David Reilly, Technology Infrastructure executive of Bank of America, said the bank developed several principles for methodically consolidating the infrastructure and applications of different banks. Now that the era of consolidation is over, Reilly and his team have adapted these principles to become a method of constant pruning. Here’s what Bank of America learned.

Principle 1: Attack Emotional Investment

The tech world moves so fast that by the time you are done implementing something challenging, like virtualizing your data center, it may be time to start doing something else, like increasing use of public cloud. The problem is that major projects are so hard and take so long that the staff becomes emotionally invested in them. Reilly says that a successful program of IT pruning must be able to attack this emotional investment head on.

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Principle 2: Benchmark Early and Often

An IT portfolio is not uniformly benchmarkable. Infrastructure such as networking, servers, desktops, and so on is far easier to benchmark than applications. Some industries can do cross- company benchmarks that are quite effective for parts of the portfolio. Other industries find it hard to create any meaningful benchmarks.

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Principle 3: Determine Value Framework

One of the most common pruning problems is facing the decision about how to handle two or more systems with overlapping capabilities.

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Principle 4: Employ Peer Review

Decisions about pruning applications are often more difficult than infrastructure because they are less uniform and benchmarking may be impossible.

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What Mergers Taught Bank of America About IT Pruning:

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image: © Alex E. Proimos

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