Thursday 26 February 2009

Gartner Economic Downturn Briefing - Part 1

It's been ages since I went to a Gartner briefing, and I figured this would be a topical one to pick the habit back up with - perhaps get a look at the ways other organizations are tackling this credit crunch thing. You guys often tell me that my posts can be a little too long, so today I'll summarize the key content and tomorrow (or maybe Monday - hey I have a day job too you know!) I'll put my thoughts up.

The sessions were focussed on how CIOs and CTOs are responding to the current economic circumstances, and the techniques IT organizations can use to keep cost under control and contribute to the businesses downturn survivability. So here goes - in no particular order...

• Focus on projects that are "shovel ready". Bang for buck is more critical than ever, and projects ready to be actually done are worth a lot more than potentially better activities that are still in the planning phase.

• Expect to deal with massively escalated regulation. In the post-credit crunch world, there will be a lot more regulation aimed at preventing repeat performances. This is likely to mean increased reporting and compliance overhead, as well as more constraints on how technology can be deployed and data used.

• In the worst of cases, there may well be a sharp rise in the number of legal actions. This is going to put increased demand on e-discovery and BI as organizations scrabble for the information they need for defence.

• A general loss of trust is going to lead to more diligence efforts. In a climate where any number of suppliers could go bust at any time, you'll need to spend extra time reviewing the financial integrity of key partners you depend on, and perhaps even making backup plans.

• The downsizing mentality could rob you of the top talent that you'll need on hand to steal a march on your competitors once times start looking up. Don't sack them, squirrel them away any way you can!

• Expensive oil means old assumptions on locations, topology, and transport need to be challenged. Get better at communications, and be prepared to accommodate supply chain changes aimed at closing the distance between steps.

• Check out your PR infrastructure. During these times the amount of media attention on companies is at a peak. Where is your corporate site hosted? Who edits the content? It is often an overlooked side-system, and right now you don't need the attention you'll get if it goes down.

• Take a look at your HR systems too. When companies get told to lay off 12,000 people over 12 months, their HR processes face a task they were never intended to handle. Pay special attention to data accuracy - mistakes in calculations on this scale will just kill you.

• Watch out for desperation moves. These are the times when you'll be the most likely to get stitched up by some crazy marketing plan, an over the top offer that gets madly oversubscribed, and so you'll want to keep your interdepartmental communication flowing and your eye on capacity.

There is some good sense in this, and some stuff I want to look at from a slightly different angle. My side of it - and what I think it means for us web guys - in the next post.

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