Feb 232009

Every year, the IT trends issue is one of Cutter Benchmark Review’s most popular, probably because of CBR‘s unique approach to looking at the trends. This is the fourth year expert practitioner Jeroen van Tyn and academic Dennis Adams bring their divergent experiences to the table to analyze our trends survey. As always, they’ve delivered some surprises.

According to van Tyn, the recent downward economic spiral has predictably put IT in the spotlight as a target for cost reduction, but “Despite the increased pressure to save money, IT organizations are not just running for the tall grass. Combined with rather predictable cost-saving measures, we see solid trends toward maintaining strategic focus over the long haul. Further growth in EA programs, development of SOA, and continued movement into the nascent Enterprise 2.0 arena are strategic ventures with a relatively long-term payback that deserve sustained investment and organizational commitment.”

Some highlights of the research include:

  • Open Source:In a sharp reversal from last year, open source deployments have dropped 25%, to where the trend over four years is now in the negative.

    Figure 1

    Figure 1 — Have you deployed open source applications?

  • IT Staffing: A mix of IT skills being hired reveals that strategic thinking has not fled before the financial storm. In particular, enterprise architecture and business analysis have now become the number two and three skill areas being hired. About one-third of companies are hiring enterprise architects and business analysts, which is now quite close to the 40% that are hiring application developers, still the top hiring category.
  • Enterprise Architecture:Nearly 70% of respondents now have an EA program in place, representing a 25% increase in the space of two years.

    Figure 2

    Figure 2 — Does your organization have an enterprise architecture (EA) initiative(s) or program(s)?

  • Enterprise 2.0: Between 25% and 30% of companies are now engaged in early experimentation with Enterprise/Web 2.0, although still around a third haven’t taken any steps thus far.

Advises van Tyn, “On the expense side of the equation, headcount and technology purchases are the most obvious places to cut costs because the arithmetic is easy. Time-honored tactical hiring and outsourcing realignments are of course in order. However, this should be counterbalanced with a steady eye on the big picture. For example, strategic hiring for enterprise architects and business analysts can’t be quickly ramped down and then back up again because of the relatively long break-in period for these skill areas.”

States Adams, “Our trends data tells us that investment in systems and processes that help organizations cut costs and manage expenditures will be the most successful in the coming year. We would anticipate that shrinking IT budgets will push development, infrastructure investment, and innovation into subsequent years. Vendors will be cutting costs as well and good deals will be found, but care should be taken to look at the long-term health of our business partners. Those organizations that invest in strategic nimbleness will reap the rewards and those that do not will adjust their investments in the future.”

You can download the entire 2009 Trends issue of Cutter Benchmark Review, including the data, along with van Tyn and Adams’ analysis, plus remarks from CBR Editor Gabriele Piccoli, here.


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