About a month ago Gartner held it’s CIO leadership forum in Phoenix and now it’s time for the European version being held at Terminal 5 at London Heathrow and what a difference a month makes. Not only have we had the disruption of the Iceland volcanic event but the world economy continues to evolve and conditions improve. That shift is leading to two things.
First people are taking a fresh and practical look at their collaboration capabilities in light of travel disruptions. If there ever was an opportunity to demonstrate the power of collaboration, this past week was certainly it. The business case for electronic collaboration has certainly gone from being black and white to many shades of gray.
Second, the recovering economy is not only thawing companies but it is fragmenting IT and technology solution providers. We see this in terms of looking at business expectations across the different countries in Europe, see below. John Mahoney at Gartner pointed this out as he observed that while there is a common market the players in this market are looking to pursue different strategies related to IT.
This is a big deal because during the recession economic conditions have collapsed priorities around issues of cost and efficiency. CIOs could pretty much follow the same generic strategies to achieve these goals. Initiatives like IT consolidation, virtualization, governance and other control based strategies were universally applicable across all industries.
Emerging strategies relate to growth will require CIOs to abandon generic strategies and plans in factor of strategic specific strategies that move IT from its operational core to the customer and revenue edge. Just look at the increasing importance of the following business expectations for IT in 2013.
- Attracting and retaining customers
- Improving the ability to target customers more effectively
- Increasing current customer relationships — gaining greater customer wallet share
- Expanding into new markets and geographies
Meeting business expectations in these area will come from creating new sources of competitive advantage by being different not by doing more of the same and expecting a different result.
European CIOs are seeing this earlier or perhaps they are more attuned to this issue as they face tight economic conditions and more multinational completive pressures.
So what does this mean. The fragmentation that CIOs in Europe are reporting will soon impact every organization and industry as they pick up their head and look for new sources of growth — particularly growth from customers and market a outside their home country.
While the future will require IT to deliver enterprise specific strategies and initiatives there are a few considerations to keep mind:
- Productivity is different than efficiency and those differences matter
- It is better for IT to be responsive rather than just being “agile”
- Leveraging the capabilities of lighter weight technologies and how they impact IT
So to he almost 300 CIOs who planned to attend this year’s CIO leadership forum I welcome you to London. For everyone else welcome to the last three quarters of 2010 continued best of luck for the new year.