By Alan Quale, Gartner
“The role of CIOs will change in their individual enterprises due to the current economic recession,” said Kurt Potter, a research director for the IT finance and metrics team, within the Gartner CIO Research Group.
“Most IT organizations were caught by surprise by the sudden ‘meltdown’ in the economy,” he said this morning in his session, “Redefining the Basics When the Business Climate Changes.”
Despite the recent economic meltdown, Mr. Potter said “business conditions will change, and when they do, CIOs and IT leaders will need to transition from cost control to contributing to growth.”
The Gartner research director outlined the changes CIOs must lead when the economic tide turns. The key issues are:
• How do you know when the business climate is ready for change?
• Which basics change when the enterprise moves toward growth?
• How should executives view IT’s role in this new context?
Mr. Potter said for most IT leaders, the official notification of change is signed off on as part of the annual IT budget and planning processes, which is informed by the enterprises planning process. “However, IT leaders can no longer wait for official planning to guide their actions,” he added. “They must build IT technical capabilities and IT management capabilities based on reading between the lines of the enterprise planning process (intuitive), and based on long-term external factors and investor expectations.”
The recession will create long-term industry changes for the enterprises supported by the IT organization; these enterprises will have to deal with what is termed “the new normal,” he said.
“Preventing stereotypes from dictating IT’s role in the new normal will require IT to change some of the fundamental practices of how IT is managed,” he said. “Although some will be on the defensive, based on the impact of this recession or future plans of the enterprise, reorganization or restructuring of some, or all, of IT will be necessary to sustain an offensive posture that inspires IT legitimacy and sells the permanence of the change to a skeptical and paranoid IT culture.”
Advancing the program management organization concept is a must for every IT organization, he said.
Mr. Potter said that IT’s new role is being redefined.
“Best-practice IT organizations use a three-part value proposition: They source excellent-value IT operations and services, they deeply understand the needs of their business to create appropriate business solutions, and they deliver strategic insight and leadership to the enterprise as a whole based on their understanding of technology and the connected economy,” he said.
IT leaders, therefore, also have three parts to their personal value proposition:
• Building, maintaining and demonstrating excellent IT value and performance
• Creating strategic alignment and effective partnerships internally and with external partners and suppliers
• Leading business opportunities and solutions, including shaping the expectation and demand for IT by the enterprise as a whole
“As the transition of IT organizations unfolds, the balance between these three elements must change,” he said. “The decision is how and how fast.”
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