How IT can save us from recession

IT staff to the rescue. They have to both identify and solve business needs to lift the country out of a financial downturn, says Gartner analysts.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor
IT innovation will be a key factor in helping the US to get out of recession, said a Gartner analyst on Monday.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo for spring 2008, vice president of research and senior fellow Ken McGee outlined an action plan for IT departments, termed "Innovation of the Third Kind", that he said must be implemented now.

"IT can lift America right out of this recession but it's up to you to make the difference," McGee told the conference. Businesses have to innovate, but what is needed, according to Gartner, is a new, third kind of innovation.

The first kind of innovation is when IT people devise plans to meet technical needs that have been observed by IT staff, McGee said. "Infrastructure modernization is an example," he said.

The second type of innovation is when IT introduces solutions to deal with business needs that have been identified by business people. These solutions only produce incremental change from an infrastructure perspective.

What is needed now is innovation of a third kind, said McGee. This comes about when IT people introduce projects to meet business needs that have been observed by IT staff, he said. The senior analyst said IT executives should start scheduling meetings with business unit managers and executives, review their IT portfolio and decide what is going to go ahead, what could be trimmed and which products are going to be cut. "Have business plan in place before getting the green light", said McGee.

Elaborating on his message, McGee stressed that creative technical projects turn IT departments into a more proactive, productive and innovative part of the business.

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