Blogger: Kevin Kampman
At the Dayton Technology First CIO Forecast on December 9th, there were a number of key insights set forth about what firms should expect in 2010. The Forecast was facilitated by Burton Group Executive Strategist Jack Santos; participants included Rob Whittington of WorkflowOne, Jim Bradley of Motoman, John Huelsman of Midmark, and Jon Russell of Kettering Health Network. While these executives’ companies are all based in the Dayton Ohio area, their perspectives correspond to those of other organizations that Burton Group interacts with:
- Notably, initiatives such as “Cloud Computing” and “Business Alignment” weren’t mentioned by the panel. Next year’s focus is conservative: Delivering practical, tactical, measurable capabilities is on everyone’s agenda.
- Generally, IT hiring will be cautious yet optimistic, in lockstep with the economy. Use of contingent and contract employment will often precede hiring in order to keep staff levels in line with business velocity. An exception will be in healthcare; Jon Russell indicated hiring will be aggressive to deploy capabilities like electronic patient record systems. Qualified NCR talent that doesn’t relocate to Georgia, for example, may be leveraged for these efforts.
- Globalization is a continuing theme for these companies, especially those in the manufacturing and services sectors. Outsourcing and off-shoring will continue to grow where appropriate; local firms all participate in the global economy.
- Each firm will focus on optimizing existing processes and resources, consolidating capabilities, and standardizing infrastructure. In Motoman’s situation, Jim Bradley indicated that this may involve the adoption of his parent company’s ERP solution. Rob Whittington pointed out that over time, IT has developed lots of good ideas; the challenge now is to pull these together into a few solid solutions. For example, enhancing business activities such as sales and customer service using collaboration technologies was identified, as well as improving decision support and business intelligence by analyzing existing data.
- Paying attention to overall governance so that business and IT priorities and activities are jointly recognized and satisfied was acknowledged by the panel. John Huelsman pointed out the value of governance processes, but recognized that these are evolving.
To conclude the discussion, the panelists provided the audience with actionable advice for the coming year:
- Success depends on effective analysis and project management, in particular business analysis capabilities.
- Demonstrating business partnership and value are critical: IT must be seen as an “indispensible business partner.”
- To do this, it is important to learn and understand what the business is about, to recognize the “power of teams”, and pay constant attention to working together.