Microsoft CIO: IT Leaders Can Shine in 2009
Like many CIOs, Tony Scott, Microsoft's IT chief, isn't retreating in the face of the recession.
Quite the opposite: Scott says this is a time where CIOs can help their businesses not only weather the storm, but come out ahead. "This is a time to take market share," he says. "No matter what business you're in, the strong survive." That means providing the type of support customers expect. "If customers know you're there for the long-haul, a different kind of discussion takes place."
CIOs, Scott says, might be in better shape to manage through the tough times than their C-level colleagues. That's because they've gained some experience in recent years that, up until now, they might have preferred not to have.
"Many CIOs are probably better positioned than some of their colleagues in business in understanding how to manage in this environment. Most CIOs I know have been dealing with declining or flat budgets for seven, eight years at least, and have learned how to get more productivity, to expand the capability and functionality of what they have with the same or fewer dollars. That's a discipline that takes a while to develop."
So a lot of CIOs are looking at budget cuts and saying, "So? What's new about that?" And that discipline and skill will be needed to help businesses power out of the recession.
Scott also sees a specific opportunity for CIOs: to rebuild some already or soon-to-be outdated infrastructure at a much lower cost.
"Many companies are at a point where the investments they put in in the 2001-2003 timeframe is now reaching end of life, and the scale, simplicity and even the cost of replacing that is a fraction of what it was. So we can take cost out and deliver greater functionality."
I'll post the full interview, as well as some video clips, in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, what do you think of Scott's perspective? Do you share his views, or do you have a more pessimistic view of IT's potential in the recession?