Then there was one

It's just you and us, guys. Computerworld used to glance southwards of a Monday morning to check out which stories, if any, we had in common with our Wellington-based competitor. But as of this morning, there's no one to measure ourselves against.

It’s just you and us, guys.

Computerworld used to glance southwards of a Monday morning to check out which stories, if any, we had in common with our Wellington-based competitor. But as of this morning, there’s no one to measure ourselves against, as approximate as that process was.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? In purely competitive publishing terms, it has to be good for us – we’re still here, and they’re not, so we won. But from the point of view of you, our community of readers, it might seem to lessen your options of where to go for local IT news. We can see that you might think that’s bad. It also might seem to lessen the pressure on Computerworld to fight for your attention. You probably think that’s bad, too, but we want to prove otherwise.

We’re serving notice, therefore, that we’re not about to start taking you for granted. Naturally we’re glad that it’s them, not us, that are succumbing to tough market conditions, but we’re in no position to gloat. The same trends that are causing their retreat – a reduction in IT advertising and competition from online information sources, to mention just two -- are affecting us. Our response will be to work harder to give you what you want.

As for who we think you are and what you want, read on.

You’re an IT manager who makes important decisions about the technology. You’re the person who speaks for the IT department at senior management level. You advise on how IT can be deployed to meet strategic goals. The top brass relies on you to alert it to opportunities presented by IT. You have the say-so on big-ticket IT spending. If you’re lucky, you have a staff of support people and developers to carry out your great ideas.

Many of you have other responsibilities as well. IT management is an add-on to your main job, handed to you because it fits with your operational focus, or because you have particular interest in it. You report to the chief executive or the finance or operations boss. You love your job. Of course. Does this sound like you? If not, you’re reading the wrong publication.

If yes, then we’re determined to hold your attention even if we don’t have a genuine competitor to keep the pressure on us. We want to be the first place you look for guidance on how to extract the best value from your IT investments. We want to be the channel through which you glean information about the clever use your peers are putting IT to. We want to be your primary source of news and analysis about products and trends important in the running of your IT department. In short, we want to be the publication that as near as possible answers all the questions essential to how you do your job.

How do we know if we’re getting close? You might like to tell us. It’s the dream of editors everywhere to have two-way communications with their readers (not just when we cause offence). Using the web, we’re going to make it easier for you to let us know what you think of our efforts. Keep an eye out. In the meantime, there’s nothing to stop you now from bending our ear by phone or email with suggestions or insults or even congratulations (a ploy that’s guaranteed to work when your subscription is due and you’re fishing for a free one).

We’ll also continue to come asking directly of you what your preoccupations are. How does the opportunity to boast about your achievements in print for other IT managers to read sound? Allow us to give you the chance. If it’s a compelling tale -- you never know -- the job offers might flood in. Or at the very least, you might help a peer solve a problem.

Our starting point is to focus on the issues we know are of concern to you now. IDC, the research business that’s part of the same company that brings you Computerworld, IDG Communications, has been doing some snooping for us. A survey of about 100 New Zealand IT bosses conducted earlier this year identifies cost saving and dealing with new hardware and software as your first priorities. Then it’s meeting user expectations.

Next is change management. After that comes aligning IT with the business, tied with developing IT investment cases. Effective desktop computing is next on the list.

Following that is systems development quality.

Next comes keeping abreast of technology.

And in 10th spot is connecting to partners online.

Forgive us, then, if we start banging on about these subjects; but until told otherwise, we believe them to be important to you. And if it’s important to you, it’s important to us. It’s just you and us, and we’d be happy to keep it that way.

Doesburg is Computerworld’s editor. Phone him with editorial suggestions on 09 302 8763. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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