Gartner: What CIOs must do in 2003

Next year's priorities should be continued cost-cutting and championing of Web services and instant messaging, according to research

Chief information officers are guardedly optimistic for the next year but still have much to do to raise the credibility of the IT function in organisations and deliver value to their businesses. Among their priorities should be continued cost-cutting and championing of Web services and instant messaging (IM), according to Gartner Group. The industry analyst has come up with a top 10 New Year's resolutions list (below), which draws on a survey of IT users and a Gartner Dataquest poll of suppliers. Gartner's 10 'must do' chief information officer resolutions:

    1. Switch off at least 10 percent of legacy systems in 2003
    2. Prepare for some of your IT suppliers to consolidate or cease trading
    3. Create an IS organisation marketing initiative
    4. Create a 'real-time enterprise' (RTE) vision and roadmap -- then sell it to the leadership team
    5. Pilot two key RTE technologies: Web services and IM
    6. Set a timetable for renegotiating supplier contracts
    7. Establish leadership coaching and mentoring for CIOs and IS leaders
    8. Revise retention and recruitment strategies for key skills
    9. Understand and prepare for the impact of offshore sourcing
    10. Prepare to implement simultaneous security and transparency
The user survey found that while a year ago IT budgets were generally predicted to stay flat or be reduced, now the 12-month outlook is for flat to slightly increased. However, vendors think growth is only likely to return from the second half of 2003 onwards and then it will be nothing spectacular and vary from sector to sector. Commenting on rosy vendor forecasts, John Mahoney, Gartner VP and research director, warned: "It is certainly not the case that anyone is going to cheerlead their way out of this (downturn)." Gartner believes it is essential for chief information officers to be proactive and assess the value of IS operations to an organisation. If they aren't performing, chief information officers must consider getting better value from external providers. Mahoney said there are problems if an IS organisation "does not have the credibility or capacity to make strategic moves in the interest of the business." This approach is in line with the ongoing cost-cutting and 10 percent 'switch off' of legacy systems to be considered in these hard times. Gartner points out legacy systems are not just outmoded hardware or software but any technology with an outmoded business function. This move alone should save time for an organisation, show that a chief information officer understands wider business issues and free up time and resources for other areas. Mark Raskino, Gartner research director business management of IT EMEA, said: "It's about fighting the political fight, one which can actually be easier during a downturn." Raskino explained Gartner's focus on the real-time enterprise (RTE), a phrase which really means technology providing a user with what they need, in a time span that suits them. Two RTE technologies to be piloted during 2003 should be Web services and IM, according to Raskino. Web services, the dynamic tapestry of inter- and intra-company software for various types of business interactions, may not fulfil its promise for years to come and may even be going through the classic 'trough of disillusionment' in 2003 but chief information officers should be tactically testing the water by next year. More details about the 'must do' list for 2003 will be made available in a Gartner research note in early January.
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