donderdag, maart 12, 2009

Stop the Drooling: this crisis needs technology

Guess we all agree by now: there is no point talking about an economic downturn anymore. It’s a straightforward crisis. Period. And it is an unprecedented crisis too, which is almost impossible to compare with earlier situations. There is obviously very, very little use in referring back to the great depression of the ‘30s. But even if we look much closer to home – the collapse of the Internet bubble happened just a few years ago – the differences are striking. Back then, many IT organisations had the doubtful honour of owning a portfolio of expensive projects that had no solid business case, combined with a pile of unmanageable legacy systems and a bunch of heterogeneous infrastructure solutions. No wonder that when the economy went down, it proved to be very rewarding to cut down on IT costs. Fancy hobby projects were stopped, offshore development and outsourcing exploded and the profession quickly learned how to rigorously consolidate applications and infrastructure.

All valid lessons indeed and nowadays many organisations will claim to possess an optimised, mean and lean IT household. Well done there and what it means, is that the old Pavlov reaction to economic headwind – cut the IT costs, just do it – won’t work this time. There is simply not enough fat on the patient, even if we turn to the newest advances in virtualisation, systems management and cloud computing. Besides, achieving some new savings on an IT budget that is at best a few percent of the organisation’s revenue, may be useful but certainly not remarkable.

And we want to do remarkable things with technology, don’t we?

We have found that our TechnoVision approach to creating a business / IT strategy is particularly suitable for finding these remarkable things.

Technovision provides a simple and elegant framework to position emerging technologies but even more importantly, it emphasises the linkage to well-defined business drivers. This provides a bridge between tangible value and IT, a much needed foundation for priorities and business cases. The concept of business drivers is thus crucial in TechnoVision and analysis showed us that – next to cutting IT costs – there are at least 7 categories of ‘downturn and/or crisis’ business drivers that are directly affected by the ability to master technology:

1. Operational cost and cash
2. Customer focus and sales
3. Products and services
4. Supply chain and partners
5. Workforce planning and HR
6. Trust and transparency
7. Rising in the recovery

As this is a blog – and not a white paper – I will not harass you with an overflow of text at once. Instead, I will pick up on these items one by one in the forthcoming days. And stepwise, it will become clear that technology has a crucial role to fulfil in battling the crisis. So – for a change - let’s stop drooling. Let’s forget about Pavlov and find new, creative ways for IT to be part of the solution rather than the problem. Remarkable but true: this crisis needs technology.

First published on Capgemini's CTO blog

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