Archive of: Economy
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.
Government agencies are in fiscal trauma right now. Billions of dollars over budget, many states are taking drastic measures to cut costs. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and CTO Aneesh Chopra are aggressively pursuing software as a service and cloud computing as one way to cut costs, and the state of Utah is planning a private cloud to serve local agencies.
I was asked to give a couple of talks this spring giving my perspective on the current state of technology in business. I always think the present is better understood by looking at the past, so I put together a presentation looking at a) how things have developed over the past 20 or so years (not coincidentally, the span of time I was involved with CIO Magazine), and b) the challenges and opportunities I see businesses in general and CIOs in particular facing during this tumultuous time. I've posted a version of this talk on Slideshare, complete with an audio narration. Please check it out and let me know if your view lines up with mine or how you see things differently.
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.