Back in the heyday of enterprise IT, the focus was pretty much always on increasing the productivity of the people working in the company. When the great recession hit, however, the focus pretty much switched to cost cutting both inside and outside the IT organization. Now that the economy is starting to slowly recover, IT organizations are being asked to start turning their attention to increasing productivity. The trouble is they still need to contain costs.
A new survey of 195 organizations conducted by the Society of Information Management (SIM) finds that business productivity and cost reduction are now at the top of the IT agenda in 2012, up from the number four slot in 2011. Business and IT alignment, formerly number one, are now the number two priority followed by business agility and speed to market in the third slot.
In the meantime, business intelligence, cloud computing and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are the top applications and technologies that IT organizations are investing in. But perhaps reflecting the growing importance of productivity, collaboration and workflow tools have jumped from eight in 2011 to the number four slot in 2012.
Budgets for 2013, however, are only expected to increase slightly over 2012, which may account for all the interest in cloud computing and a significant spike in offshore IT outsourcing. But all in all, Dr. Jeffrey Luftman, professor and executive director for The Global Institute for IT Management and who is also senior vice president of chapter relations and academic affairs at SIM, says the survey drives home the point that IT organizations need to be well rounded in terms of their ability to identify projects that drive profits and revenue for the business, while at the same time holding the line on internal IT costs.
Luftman says this means there is more pressure than ever on senior IT leaders at a time when IT is getting more challenging to manage thanks to the advent of virtualization and Big Data. The good news is that the business appears to still be more interested in using IT to cut business costs than in cutting the IT budget. But in return for that faith in IT, the focus on getting a return on investment in 2013 is going to be as intense as ever.