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Three things to think about as you plan for 2011

by Mark P. McDonald  |  July 5, 2010  |  5 Comments

Planning has already started for 2011 as people look to define their resources and results in a year of continued transition.  Leaders are looking forward to find growth opportunities, while others are doing the mindless dance of last year plus or minus 5 – 10%.  As you start to think about next year and the next few years, here are three emerging trends that should figure in your plans.

Markets are Fracking.

Fracking is a geologic term referring to ‘fractured cracking’ of solid rock.  Oil and gas companies inject water and other solvents into the ground to frack the rock capturing oil and gas trapped in small pockets within stone. [Link] Sorry it does not the term popularized in Battlestar Galatica.

Economic conditions are fracking along, economic, political, social and other lines.  The global economy gives way to the regional demands and concerns.  Within nations there is an emerging two-speed economy.  Regional economies are no longer similar even in the European “Union.”  We are living in a de-coupled world and that is a good thing, particularly if your business plan calls for generating growth out of your home economy, which is most companies.

You need to plan for a global back office operation for scale and resources with a series of local front offices for sales and revenue purposes.

Everyone is social

“People write checks, not systems” That was a piece of advice I got at the beginning of my career.  It points out the fact that for IT, its what people do with systems that is more important than what the systems themselves can do.  Recognizing that the world is comprised of social and technical systems is a start.  Social systems describe the way people actually work – how things get done.  Technical systems describe how they are supposed to work.  There is often a considerable gap between the two.

You need to plan for how you will use technology in general and social media in particular to bring the two together in order to capture the energy, talent and potential of your people, their experience and their insight.

Technology is going public

Technology is no longer the unique purview of IT.  Increasingly technology services are available via public markets either in terms of hardware, network connectivity and applications.  While these go under fancy names like cloud, SaaS, managed services etc, you have to recognize that you are no longer the only source of IT services and capabilities.  Unlike outsourcing, which was largely an IT administered decisions, business leaders can provision their own technology.  Business leaders have choice.

You need to think about how your IT organization becomes the object of choice by the business.  Why would they choose you to provide technical services and capability?  Right now it may be a matter of convenience, however every year public services increase their scale, cost and capability benefits.  Every year they gain legitimacy and increase the need for you to strengthen the reason why they would choose you.

Planning is more than budgeting

2010 has been a year of transition and while its too early to call 2011 plans its clear that the future is less about the past than it is about dealing with fundamental changes in our markets, internal operations and IT capabilities.  The three trends highlighted here represent some of the challenges you will face in planning for 2011, but they do capture three essential questions

  • How are we going to generate increased revenue in an increasingly fractured market?
  • What is the potential to engage our people, customers and suppliers in new ways to create value and retention?
  • How should we provision our technology services to get the best blend of Quality of Service with consideration for the Total Cost of Ownership?

These are persistent questions for every planning cycle and historically the answers have been simple or at least relatively straightforward.  However, the trends introduced above and expanded on latter this week, create new options and answers.

The net result is the need to change IT and the enterprise’s attitudes to it.  Change not embraced sows the seeds for future irrelevance – a destination for companies who view planning as last year +/- 5-10%.

Change embraced challenges everyone to find a better answer, to drive innovative solutions and to realize new capabilities – a destination for the few who are willing to question the status quo in the light of trends that are changing the structure of markets, companies and technology.

More on these trends latter this week, but I really welcome your thoughts and comments.

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Category: cio  economy  strategic-planning  technology  web-20  

Tags: 2011-planning  cio-leadership  cio-strategy  economic-conditions  economy  it-strategy  strategy-and-planning  web-20  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

Thoughts on Three things to think about as you plan for 2011

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark P. McDonald and Outsourcing-Eqentia. Outsourcing-Eqentia said: Three things to think about as you plan for 2011: Source: Gartner Blog NetworkPlanning has already sta… #outsourcing […]

  2. Great post Mark….excellent insight into what IT group’s need to be focused on in the coming years.

  3. Hi Mark,

    I think you’re right when you say that IT is not the only provider that the organizations will find to meet their IT services requirements, each day more and more will use public services and in different technological platforms.

    I agree with you that planning is not just building the budget for the year and the three issues raised are excellent.

    My comment is that I think that instead of talking about the TCO of IT services, IT must get used to speak of the value generated by IT in the organization, that is; maximizing the value of our investments in IT-enable change such that we are getting optimal benefits, at an affordable cost, with a known and acceptable level of risk.

    If we keep talking about TCO, IT never will ceases to be a service provider – cost minimized – which can only be building the budget based on these costs and in that way, IT can not clearly shows how IT contributes to the business process transformation that will allow me to attract and retain customers, our revenue source, in a world where markets are broken and global, the people are increasingly going to social media using public technology.

    Thank you for your excellent post.


    Carlos Francavilla

  4. Giovanni F. Anfossy says:

    If I got it correctly you talk about how IT professionals must learn much more about business processes and how IT impacts the business bottom line. I think that is happening slowly, but it’s happening.

    By the other hand I agree with Carlos about the TCO trap. When you focus on TCO as the only argument and use it as a budget driver, you fall into the cost trap, and probably you won’t get any space for business innovation iniciatives, but only on cutting cost ones. The real challenge here is knowing how to make the CEO or CFO understand from a business point of view that the inniciative will possitively impact the bottom line.

    Also I would like to note that in fact you can find lots of technology services in the public market, but you still have to counterpart correctly with the service providers. That kind of conversation based on SLA’s more than costs, and most of the times measuring SLA’s is not an easy task. Yoy still will need the IT people to help you understand if the SLA’s have been well measured or not, and most important if they are the ones the business really needs over the time as the service lasts. Don’t forget services are living entities that tends to change over the time as the business itselfs changes.

    Thanks for putting this subject on the table.

    Best regards,
    Giovanni F. Anfossy

  5. […] McDonald, of Gartner, offers some excellent tips for IT planning for 2011 in a post titled Three things to think about as you plan for 2011.  In the post, Mark suggests thinking about these three […]

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