Weathering 2009 and anticipating 2010

This was a year of uncertainty and uncertainty is not good for business. Project activity was down as capital spending received close scrutiny. Some projects were cancelled and many more were delayed or deferred.

As organisations mounted a war on costs, some fundamental structural changes developed in coproate IT. For instance, one in three CIOs who reported direct to the CEO ended up reporting instead to the CFO, according to figures from IDC.

So what about ICT as a tool for business transformation? What about IT supporting business strategy? Was 2009 the year ICT was officially anointed a cost centre rather than a profit centre?

Computerworld has polled IT industry leaders for their take on 2009 and their predictions for 2010.

Keith Watson, managing director, Hewlett-Packard New Zealand

Highlight of 2009

For HP the highlight has been completing the integration with EDS, and bringing together our servers, storage, software, networking, technology services and enterprise services solutions as the HP Enterprise Business, and more recently the announcement of intentions to acquire 3Com.

Low point of 2009

The impact of the global economic downturn has been acutely felt in most sectors. However, advantage can be gained in all types of economies and successful organisations use technology to contribute to that advantage.

Predictions for 2010

More than ever technology will become the sustaining force of any organisation as rapid change and conflicting imperatives become the new norm. An organisation's ability to thrive in an unpredictable marketplace will depend on effective use of technology.

New Zealand businesses and public sector organisations will look to take advantage of converged infrastructure and cloud services to deliver highly efficient solutions and applications, both internally and to customers.

Miles Valentine, chief executive officer, Zeacom

Highlight of 2009

The recession changed the rules of the game. We doubled our US sales team and extended our reach across that market, as well as adding local head count in development.

Low point of 2009

Too many examples seen of tardy decision making rather than responding quickly to the new economic environment. Lots of deals stalled for a quarter mid-year before people realised that the world was still spinning and wasn't waiting for anyone.

Prediction for 2010

A slow global recovery over the year with some bumps along the way. I expect a year of growth for Zeacom as the investments in US channel resources start to generate revenue.

Graeme Riley, managing director, SAP New Zealand

Highlight of 2009

The benefits our customers are obtaining from our Value Engineering methodologies that allow them to uncover, realise and measure value within their businesses. Also the acceptance of our Business Objects portfolio by our customers and the clarity that has brought them about their business. The promise of better things next year.

Low point of 2009

The GFC has caused many projects in New Zealand to be deferred or even cancelled and true business transformation projects have been limited. This is understandable but a shame when, as seen overseas, tough times are often the best times to transform and build a stronger business for when conditions improve.

Predictions for 2010

Increasing confidence in businesses is already leading to some transformation projects coming to market and I expect this to steadily increase throughout 2010.

Chris Quin, chief executive officer, Gen-i Australasia

Highlight of 2009

Clients increasingly saw value in converging ICT, and we had great demand from clients keen to discover the value of mobility solutions built on the new XT Network. More recently, we've launched our cloud infrastructure strategy with a portfolio of solutions for the Australasian market that leverage data over XT and Gen-i WAN Services -- a lot got done.

Low point of 2009

No question in my mind that 2009 saw many organisations urgently lower their cost base -- the concern is that many cancelled their funds for innovation and transformation of their organisations permanently.

Predictions for 2010

Companies that invest in ICT for transformation and innovation will be best equipped to weather the challenges and grab opportunities over the next year. Many companies will plan how to integrate cloud services with existing ICT infrastructures to get the best out of their existing assets and new cloud opportunities.

Mason Pratt, managing director, Provoke

Highlight of 2009

Aside from impregnating my wife with a man-child, 2009 delivered a bunch of highlights for Provoke. In the spirit of silver-linings, we've worked hard this year to keep the entire team intact despite the tough times brought about by the global economic reset.

Low point of 2009

Watching organisations cut costs by reducing spend on IT projects that are designed to save (or make) them money. A number of knee-jerk and somewhat short-term decisions in response to recessionary pressures have been disappointing to see.

Predictions for 2010

As the eternal optimist, I'm confident we'll see a surge in activity in the last six months of the government financial year. Recent noise around the exponential growth of the cloud will ring true and everyone who's anyone will be talking about Microsoft Azure.

Ernie Newman, chief executive officer, TUANZ

Highlight of 2009

The giddy excitement of ticking box after box after box as just about every wish on the TUANZ list came to fruition or made massive progress. A hugely positive year for customers, which will go down as a watershed, reflecting great credit on the supply side, politicians and officials.

Low point of 2009

Persistent King Canute appeals from the vertically-integrated telcos on both sides of the Tasman. Guys, don't you get what everyone else has seen coming for years? That style of doing business is way past its use-by date. Neither governments nor customers are of a mind to delay progress while you get around to re-inventing yourselves. Adapt, or die!

Prediction for 2010

The pace of change will accelerate. It will be another challenging but immensely stimulating year. Meanwhile, every Computerworld reader will have a relaxing and well-earned Christmas break.

Scott McKinnel, regional director ANZ, CheckPoint

Highlight of 2009

We had two record quarters and grew the local business in excess of 20 percent, as a result of more focus being placed on critical security projects, our New Zealand operation was part of that success, and the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup.

Low point of 2009

We witnessed a lot of collateral damage in the small business sector as a result of private equity firms and banks "realigning" their debt exposure and poor governance of finance companies over their lending criteria ... plus the All Blacks lost the Tri Nations

Predictions for 2010

Security will remain a top three priority for IT managers, we will see more selective outsourcing, SaaS will become even more prevalent ... the All Blacks will go unbeaten and only concede two tries during the season.

Bennett Medary, chief executive officer, Simpl

Highlights of 2009

Seeing District Health Boards looking at ways that they can work together and with primary care providers to enable more patient-centric and sustainable health services.

Low point of 2009

Seeing great projects put on hold because of the recession and transformation pushed aside in favour of "squeezing the supply chain".

Predictions for 2010

Historically fragmented industries will consolidate and collaborate around the customer, patient and citizen, using interconnectivity and shared services to enable that.

Mike Hill, country manager, Dell New Zealand

Highlight of 2009

Watching Dell differentiate itself in New Zealand by offering efficient, best-value enterprise solutions and services to organisations of all sizes. The launch of Dell's PartnerDirect, retail and telco programmes in New Zealand, which enables Dell to engage more customers in new ways. Seeing Dell offer more options for New Zealand consumers to personalise their computers and choose models with premium craftsmanship and sophisticated style, such as our Adamo and Adamo XPS.

Low point of 2009

When the All Blacks lost to South Africa for the third time on 12 September.

Predictions for 2010

New Zealand businesses and government organisations will be looking to make even more advancements in the productivity and efficiency of their IT.

Kevin Ackhurst, managing director, Microsoft New Zealand

Highlight of 2009

The launch of Windows 7, one of the most anticipated products this year. The general response has been fantastic, and we're very pleased by the market share gained in just a few months.

Lowlight of 2009

Watching the recession impact different markets around the globe, and eventually feeling the effects here in New Zealand. There were very few people not affected in some way in the past year.

Predictions for 2010

Cloud computing will be the hot topic for 2010 and businesses are finally ready for this model. We are now in an era where computing no longer needs to be centralised, opening enormous opportunity.

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