This new generation of workers born between 1980 and 2000 is very different from those workers of previous generations. Millennials are naturally adept with technology. They figure out how a new application or a particular device works—and they like the challenge. They live in online communities and are remarkable in their outreach to others through microblogging, social networks, text messaging, instant messaging, etc. One Millennial said to me recently, “Email is too slow. I use it only when I have to write something formal.” They are not afraid to say what they think. They respect older generations for their experience and knowledge, but Millennials are fearless in challenging them with other perspectives.
According to The Economist, 2009 will be the year of the CFO. After reading Lucy Kellaway’s article in The Economist earlier this year, I can’t seem to shake this image in my head of a maniacal axe-wielding CFO’s lopping off departmental budgets. A la the French Revolution, “off with their heads!” Except with the CFO it’s more like “off with their bloated budgets!” Hmmm, doesn’t seem to have the same ring as the French Revolution mantra.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) continues its rapid growth — becoming an increasingly strategic part of firms’ application portfolios. Firms are using SaaS across a wide range of applications from CRM to ERP to IT, for deployments of all sizes, and across multiple geographies. As firms make heavier use of SaaS solutions, CIOs must ensure proper due diligence in the selection process. Although some SaaS still comes in through under the radar screen, business led deployments, centralized groups in IT, sourcing, and vendor management should take ownership of the research, purchasing, negotiations, and ongoing vendor relationships for these solutions.
Forrester suggests CIOs ensure the following considerations in SaaS sourcing:
During my first year as a Forrester analyst, one widespread pain point has made itself apparent: IT leaders wrestle with the subject of metrics, particularly in these challenging economic times. Most people I talk with are effective at collecting and reporting the basics: project on-time and on-budget performance, application up time, and help desk call statistics. But other measurements are more difficult to engineer. And there are so many things that can be measured; it’s difficult to figure out which ones really matter and are worth the time needed to collect and report them.
The “old” IT — notoriously self-marginalizing function that delivered one-size-fits-all infrastructures, blew up the IT budget, and delivered “IT speak” instead of business relevant solutions — has ceased to exist. CIOs have either outsourced it, recreated it from its ashes, or are combining both approaches to establish a new and more business-relevant IT.