A survey of 700 chief information officers by Gartner last year found that 67 percent believed that their jobs were at risk, chief executive officer Gene Hall said during the keynote. CIOs were failing to deliver projects at the speed required by businesses, he argued.
"Career success is becoming more dependent on delivering impact quickly," said Hall. "Ironically, for projects that take several years, it may be your successor who gets the praise."
CIOs needed to acknowledge that complex integration meant that coming up with timelines for major enterprise releases was an impossible task, Hall said. "We can't accurately plan projects this complex -- it's just not doable."
Doom and gloom was a persistent theme in the multi-analyst keynote presentation. "The IT industry as we knew it is no more," said research head Peter Sondergaard. "Gone are the days in which this industry could be neatly structured into small buckets of IT and telecoms markets."
The current "fad" for "compulsive outsourcing" was also increasingly divorcing businesses from proper planning and management of outsourced IT services, distinguished analyst Rolf Jester said. "Outsourcing has become a victim of its own success. There's no doubt that business executives see it as a natural and integral part of business operations today."
However, many businesses were now outsourcing without rhyme or reason. "Yes, there can be benefits, but it has become a fad."
"We're faced with the challenge of integrating and managing an ever more complex portfolio of internal and external sources," Jester said. "That unmanaged complexity is already leading to some business disruption."
Outsourcing to get cheaper services through economies of scale had been comprehensively shown to be a myth, Jester added. "As buyers, we expect cut-rate services, but we want it for customised services and that just isn't going to happen. If you still want customised services, you're going to have to pay a heavy premium."