Just as a business tends to overload by adding new projects atop increasingly less useful old ones, IT finds itself managing less valuable existing assets even as it seeks to budget the new projects it is begged for.

We invest in data quality and availability for the stuff that matters to business, but that's not what I'm talking about. We're in data and app acquisition mode these days, on the cheap, to the point we could start one of those reality TV hoarder shows. "Look at all this pay as you go and dusty shelfware!" 

We're consumptive to the point of piggish with data - because more is always better, right? But on a tonnage scale, business owns and pays for all this infrastructure daily. You can't see it like a cluttered closet, but we could all make a promise to clean up after ourselves a little more, considering the cost and legal risk overhang of all this, especially when we're complaining about how cumbersome IT is.

So here's a call to stop rationalizing inefficiency, cost and risk. Let's call it Delete Something Today! and hand out little "I Deleted Something Today" stickers to good citizens.

It's even possible that some kind of fiscal mandate might help set the policy. Bring me your worthy project and be prepared to describe what we're not using anymore. We'll fight it out and get it done and keep moving. IT won't have to hold up so much dead weight unproductively. It will free dollars for more relevant projects. Business will consult and decide.

New projects and cost cutting go on all the time, often not in concert. In application rationalization or portfolio management it's more like poker chips on a table where things tend to move around but not disappear until somebody quits or has everything. And, it's such an easy proposition to walk into the CFO's office that you'd think this opportunity would produce beautiful business requirements documents flowing from the front office saying, 'okay, retire this platform, merge this data and archive all this non-redundant stuff we only occasionally need.'

In that case, IT could come back and say, 'okay, based on those requirements, here are options A, B and C and here is the cost, availability and service levels for those changes.'

We all know this transaction falls across the turf of different people and is more comfortably out of sight and out of mind. And, we recall that IT and service providers, sometimes purposefully, weave themselves so tightly into compartmentalized infrastructure as to become indispensable, and they're not the ones who can navigate the big picture anyway. And business, which always wants "more" doesn't confront the detritus of past decisions by cutting off waste from forgotten or floundering projects that remain in production.

We walked through a lot of these ideas in a discussion on DM Radio not long ago, and a topical story is also about to appear on the cover of our next issue of Information Management. You might want to check that out.

Personally, I've been reminded of an incomplete project of my own lingering unused on Amazon EC2 at $90 a month - on my dime.

That brought it home. I'm moving on to other ideas anyhow. I'm deleting some data today and it feels good.

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