Posts Tagged ‘ strategy ’

CIOs and Groundhogs

Today is Groundhog Day and across North America people are looking to these rodents to tell us how much longer we will have to endure (or enjoy) winter. Apparently most, if not all, of the celebrity Groundhogs saw their shadows and hence we will have another six weeks of winter.

But did your CIO see his/her shadow today? And as a result are there IT budget freezes over the next six months?  

There are mixed messages about the economy. On a positive note, last week the New York Times reported that the UK is exiting recession (http://tinyurl.com/) and today the CEO of UPS declared the recession over (http://tinyurl.com/yhg5rwf). On a negative note, the UK economy shrank by nearly 5% last year and UPS is looking to cut another 1800 positions this year. I’d label this an optimistic outlook but with still some very bad weather ahead. The climate of the IT budget will likely depend on the industry, but it seems unlikely that IT spending will recover in 2010.

In this difficult fiscal environment business is increasingly looking to IT to help cut costs. Not just IT costs within IT, but cutting costs across the enterprise. Yet capital for IT projects tends to be in short supply. And very few organizations are willing to wait months or years for a return on investment.

Fortunately “new” technologies and approaches such as virtualization, social media, and cloud-based services are available. These can be implemented relatively quickly at a relatively low cost. But understanding and installing the “technology” is the easy part.

I think the key challenge for CIOs in 2010 will be to guide their organization into the new environment. No longer can they afford the long lead-times for decisions, inflexible project management and large up-front investment that are the trademark of many IT projects. They need to develop strategy, governance, project management and service management approaches that provide the agility and flexibility inherent in the new cloud paradigm.

So while we are seeing shadows and realizing that we will need to endure frosty budgets for a while, it is time leave the comfort of the den and build (or rebuild) an IT organization that can work in this new IT environment. We have a lot of work to do.

Happy Groundhog Day!