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.
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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