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Posted by Alex Cullen on February 10, 2009
Last week I was at a dinner with IT execs from several firms. Not surprisingly, we talked about the economy and what it means for their firms and for their IT organizations. I asked them what the economic pressures meant to them, and they said “their business customers realize now that what they ask for has a cost”. One PMO head said that her business partners used to ask for ‘the quickest solution regardless of cost’, and now they are asking ‘the best value solution’. Others echoed this, saying that IT used to be looked at as a ‘magic cookie jar’ which should always have the resources a business area needed – but now business managers understand IT’s finite resources and the need for prioritization.
This is in line with the response to another survey question we asked recently: when asked “How has the current economic uncertainty and the challenge it poses for your firm affected your relationship with business management?” – 38% of respondents (20 of 52) said it had improved the relationship and 46% (24 of 52) said their relationship had not been affected. As another CIO said in a recent conversation ‘the need to cut projects has made business execs finally understand their role in IT governance’.
That business understands the tradeoffs and is being engaged with IT is a great silver lining – but unfortunately, behind every silver lining there is a dark cloud. The dark cloud I worry about is this:
OK, I look for dark clouds. But Forrester does have data that shows the business exec suite is much more content then business managers1-2 levels down. This scenario is something all CIOs should be thinking about - and I know some are. These CIOs are thinking about what is a lasting value proposition, and what they need to do now to begin to re-align their organizations to this value proposition – by changing the structure of IT, embedding more in business, and changing the skills they bring.
What do you think? Do you see the silver lining or the dark cloud? What changes do you see IT should make?
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