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Keep your eyes on the prize

by Gene Phifer  |  November 14, 2008  |  1 Comment

Last week I was in Detroit delivering a local briefing.  The majority of the audience was from the automakers. You can guess what they were dealing with:  cost cutting above all else.  Being in IT in automakers (and many other industries) is not fun right now. 

But in our zeal to cut costs, which usually involves an inward focus on employee productivity (or having less employees, unfortunately), we must be careful to remember the customer.  If we turn away from the customer and focus 100% on cost cutting, when things get better (and they will) and we turn back to the customer, they may be gone.  We must keep our eyes on the prize of the customer, even though radical cost cutting is called for.

One way to do this is through tactical spending on Web-centric projects.  Large, multi-year, multi-tens of millions of dollar projects aren’t happening right now.  We are in ‘keep the lights on’ mode, with only a little left over for tactical spending.  Be sure to apportion some of the tactical spending to customer facing initiatives.  The use of lightweight, Web Oriented Architecture (WOA) activities, like creating mashups, is an excellent way to spend tactically, yet achieve rapid time-to-market and rapid payback.

The cloud also offers options that are rapid time-to-market, yet can deliver significantly reduced costs over traditional on-premises deployment.

IT must keep their eyes on the prize of the customer by intelligent, tactical investments in technologies like those found in WOA and the cloud.  If they do so, when this crisis ends, their customers will be there, ready to spend money.

Category: cloud  web  

Tags: mashup  tactical  woa  

Gene Phifer
Managing VP
13 years at Gartner
36 years IT industry

Gene Phifer is a managing vice president in Gartner Research. Mr. Phifer covers a broad set of Web and cloud-centric technologies, including Web architecture, intranets, extranets, e-business, portals, Web applications, cloud computing… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Keep your eyes on the prize


  1. Eric Knipp says:

    Gene, I recently read a Gartner paper that advised assigning responsibility for cost-cutting measures to top performers. Too frequently the top performers talk their way out of these roles – which are sometimes seen as unpleasant paper shuffling. Lost in the desire to cut costs is the fact that putting the right people in charge of those projects is so important.



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