2008 Will be Ugly for IT. Unless...
IT spending will get squeezed in 2008, but, perhaps more importantly, CIOs and their business-line colleagues must fix the "broken dialogue" that's plagued their interactions for decades. That's what Rudy Puryear, head of Bain & Company's global IT practice, foresees for 2008.
If the IT-business disconnect continues, then unnecessary complexity, IT governance and even M&A integration could be compromised.
Here are Puryear's (somewhat intertwined) predictions for the coming year:
1. Economic uncertainty will force businesses to make more conservative budgeting decisions
Puryear himself doesn't believe the economy will tank, but he says business executives will scale back in the wake of negative outlooks. He worries, though, that IT will mistakenly cut muscle (spending for innovation and improvements) instead of fat (like redundant systems).
2. Continued miscommunication between IT and business will limit progress
Puryear compiled some daunting figures behind misalignment earlier this year, and he says there's no end in sight. Business needs to have a better understanding of IT, and IT needs to sharpen its business acumen--until then, the two sides will keep talking past each other.
3. Unnecessary IT complexity will drive up costs and response times and limit IT innovationAdding new technologies, failing to finish projects like post-merger integration and a continued breakdown in communication will only make businesses--and their processes--more complex.
4. IT governance will rise to unprecedented levels Especially in times of economic uncertainty, business leaders need to make more informed decisions about where IT spend goes. Making the right decisions, Puryear says, is more crucial than ever.
5. Pre-deal IT due diligence will become front and center
Hidden assets and liabilities often muddy a merger's true value. Companies need to better evaluations and planning before integration.
But Puryear isn't blaming either IT or business for past mistakes: he says these are all business problems around IT, and that each side is equally at fault.
That doesn't mean CIOs--and business executives--can't find answers now. Unless, of course, they want to see the same bleak outlook for 2009.