The next four years will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for success or failure, John Gantz, IDC vice president, said in his keynote speech at the start of this year’s CIO Summit.
The words crisis and opportunity are connected, “but you have to be proactive to get anything good around the crisis,” Gantz said before the more than 350 delegates in the 2009 CIO Summit in Auckland organised by IDC and BrightStar and CIO.
He said doing so requires “all hands on deck”, with IT working with the business units and suppliers as never before.
IT will have to reorganise itself or change some of the ways they deal with the business units. “IT needs to align with business objectives, you need to be integrated, exchange DNA with the business units.
“IT success will be driven by people outside IT, mostly from what happens in the business units.”
Gantz said challenges for CIOs include dealing with the economic crisis while “technology is bursting all over”, and also steps to take to get ready for the recovery.
He presented a graph of economic slowdowns in the past 50 years and notes that the ups and downs of IT don’t match that of economic growth.
“They live in the same universe but travel in different paths,” said Gantz. He cites that 1982 was bad for the economy, but a good year in IT. “They don’t coincide because they live in the same universe but travel in different paths.”
Technology may experience five years of growth, go through a crash in IT budgets and then go into a long period of growth where the new technology is put to work.
“Where we are now, seven years from the crash,” he said referring to the dotcom crash in 2001, “we are in long sweet spot of adoption curve.”
What does this mean for CIOs? He says there will be an unprecedented amount of IT driven change in the next four years.
During that period, it is estimated there will be an increased demand for ICT staff, the number of servers will double and scale up management complexity, there will be a three-fold rise in mobile users, information will grow by five fold which will see new levels of security and privacy and questions on which data to store or throw away, and the number of interactions between people on networks will grow eight times.
“The opportunity now is to take the technology, give yourself a competitive edge, said Gantz. “We are in a technology renaissance; you have opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.”
Hot technologies include security management, social media, SaaS, virtual machines, IT automation and IT outsourcing and BPO. The technologies on ‘watch’ include real time analytics, ethical hacking video search, compliance and IP surveillance.
Graham Kittle, managing partner, global business services, IBM New Zealand, echoed this message on his talk about propelling business through the economic crisis.
Speaking at a breakfast session at the CIO Summit, Kittle said organisations are going through a time of unprecedented change and traditional approaches to cost management will not work.
He said a survey of companies in the S&P Index that grew by at least 5 percent in the economic downturn deployed a strategic approach to cost cutting.
Their moves can be grouped into three areas: focus on value, exploit opportunities and act quickly.
They looked at ways to partner with organisations to protect cash, focus on the core value and strip the non-value activities.
A critical step is taking a systematic rather than ad hoc approach to change, said Kittle. The successful organisations, he says, “manage change as a formal work stream, integrated closely with project management”.
Kittle recommended investing in change management professionals either internal or external.