The holy grail of post-recession business will be profitable growth. The very idea of profitable growth is full of contradiction, as growth generally requires investment. With revenues unlikely to outpace that investment in what economists are predicting will be an anemic, drawn-out recovery, companies that have already been doing a lot of cost cutting will have to become even more efficient. This will put unusual pressure on executives to place the right bets when it comes to investments (based on strong customer insight and market knowledge). And it will require excellent management abilities and flexible, responsive, lower-cost IT.
The following presentation focuses on what the mandate for profitable growth will mean for CIOs and their organizations in 2010. I believe IT will have to become more operationally efficient AND deliver agility and innovation, that CIOs will have the great opportunity to delivery operational excellence and all kinds of tech-driven innovation as well.
Governments are also building next-generation web sites to deliver a variety of services online. According to Government Technology, Utah.gov provides more than 860 online state government services. New features on its wonderfully designed website include location awareness, a new multimedia portal, Web 2.0 services, a data portal, forms search capabilities, and mobile applications.
The following presentation, which I gave at the annual conference of the South Carolina IT Directors’ Association last week, evaluates the current challenges of government agencies to provide services in a new way while continuing to cut costs. IT can definitely help.
According to Government Technology, Utah.gov provides more than 860 online state government services. New features include location awareness, a new multimedia portal, Web 2.0 services, a data portal, forms search capabilities, and mobile applications.
The paradox of tough times is they usually call for dramatic measures, yet it’s human nature to keep a low profile and avoid risk, both corporate and personal. This is the dilemma facing CIOs today.
As I wrote in a column a few months ago, incrementalism won’t cut it for many businesses in this economy. But according to Paul Gaffney, former CIO and head of supply chain at Staples and current COO of Desktone, that’s the path most CIOs will take.
I had lunch with Paul yesterday (Blue Ginger in Wellesley – if you go, you have to try the Alaskan butterfish). It seems to me the next few years would provide tremendous opportunities for his company, which provides desktops as a service. After all, that’s one of the main areas this year’s CIO Hall of Famers were enthusiastic about. Gaffney (himself a member of the CIO Hall of Fame) pointed out that this group represented not the market but the vanguard. CIOs like Blockbuster’s Keith Morrow, PG&E’s Pat Lawicki, Bechtel’s Geir Ramleth and Motorola’s (former) Patty Morrison might advocate and take bold action into uncharted territory, because they really do understand the new technologies and business models and can successfully calculate the benefits and risks. But the vast majority of CIOs will try to work within the parameters of what they know to ride out the current economic storm.
This is completely understandable – and even, I suppose, prudent. It would be foolhardy for a CIO to advocate a path that he or she didn’t have a pretty good grasp of.
What this suggests to me is CIOs should be finding out as much as they can as quickly as they can about things like desktop virtualization, software as a service and cloud computing. Because in business as in the law, when it comes to missteps and missed opportunities, ignorance is no excuse.
Paul Gaffney led IT and supply chain efforts at Staples and built OfficeDepot.com's e-commerce site. He's now rolling out new desktop as a service capabilities as COO of Desktone.