13 Oct Gartner to IT business leaders: Have courage and drive innovation during tough economic times
Orlando, Fla. – Global leaders met all weekend to avoid a total economic disaster while business leaders found it easy to be overwhelmed by the speed, scale, and far-reaching impact of this crisis.
IT leaders need to find courage to look beyond the immediate threat and continue to advocate IT-based innovation, according to presenters at the Gartner Symposium/ITXPO 2008.
“IT will be critical during these times,” said Gene Hall, chief executive officer for Gartner.
Kicking off the annual symposium, which is being held in Orlando, Hall asked the audience of 6,000 attendees a pointed question: how do you IT executives reduce IT spending and IT costs and improve performance metrics?
For some, he suggested that they look at global growth and, if possible, capitalize on that; other organizations should concentrate on projects that can impact future growth.
Define your future
Gartner’s senior analysts told attendees that their decisions and actions today would define their future. They recommended some of the projects IT leaders should focus on now:
- Approach each project as if it had had never existed before. Ask what it does, why you need it, and how many people you’ll need to run it? Then ask: can you do it with less?
- From the freshly drawn inventory, make a wish list of what still maters and rank it. Not everything on the list will survive in 2009.
- Conserve as much of your budget as you can. Nothing compares to the power of cash on hand as IT leaders seek to aid the business in defending its heart.
- Protect your people. Reassure your people. Reassure the people who are most important to you – those who make the greatest contribution.
“A financial era is ending. This age of conspicuous consumption is over, and the age of conspicuous frugality starts now,” said Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “The world has changed, and your role as IT leader must change as well.”
Innovation is more about people
There is a tremendous amount of hype about innovation compared to the reality of real innovation, and IT leaders need to change, said Kathy Harris, vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner. They have to innovate to close the expectations gap of management. If they move slowly, she said they would miss the opportunity.
The time between innovation and when the benefits are realized is shrinking; if IT leaders only focus only on technology at the expense of human resources, they will lose credibility within the enterprise, according to Harris.
“Innovation is about human activity, and it’s not always about new technology, she said. “Often, it’s just about delivering faster to get IT leaders to focus on speeding transactions. Maybe they should invest in connecting people to speed decisions.”
Workers drive IT innovation
Gartner surveyed more than 400 companies on corporate usage of consumer devices and Web 2.0 technologies. It found that two out of five users reported using non-company owned devices on company systems. Seven times more end-users were using mash-ups than their IT departments estimated, and one out of three end-users were using Google Apps – more than three times the IT estimate.
“IT leaders must create a culture of innovation; change the assumptions about how IT is managed; increase participation by users and business customers; eliminate the barriers to technology; and discover the innovators all around you,” said Harris.