It Won’t Be Déjà  Vu

 Posted by on Jun 22, 2009  Add comments
Jun 222009

Last December, we asked the Cutter Business Technology Council to provide some advice for surviving the recession. Since there are now some signs that things are beginning to turn around, we thought it would be interesting to see what the Council thinks will be different as we emerge from the recession. The consensus: Post-recovery ? Pre-crash.

Here are a few impressions of the future:

Tom DeMarco predicts: “In organizations whose decision makers are fear-crazed and vision-free, new IT expenditures will have to be justified largely on offset maintenance cost. Companies that pursue this course will be the best takeover targets in the coming years. Companies that are best at resisting this course will be the ones doing the taking over.”

According to Lou Mazzucchelli, “What looks to some like a revolution is really only the logical result of changes in technology economics. … Cloud computing and SaaS are two examples; they are both manifestations of cyclical motion between centralized and decentralized computing, driven by economics, that is now biased toward centralization. My advice: protect yourself from the excesses of chasing every new technology, through higher-level architecture and design. In other words, use SaaS — but don’t let your vendor’s implementation architecture become your business architecture.”

Lou also foresees that the lasting changes in IT result from changes outside of IT. He thinks that the new energy economy will have the greatest impact.

Reflects Lynne Ellyn: “We operate not just on the Web today but in a web of relationship, feedback loops, and quantum second- and third-order effects that are a collision of forces, seen and unseen. This is creating business, personal, and national mashups and messups, which stun, amaze, horrify, and too often, paralyze companies, nations, and individuals. What can we to do survive and perhaps thrive in this new world disorder? I can only offer this: get as far above it as possible while immersing yourself in it as much as possible. This is the paradox that must be reconciled in our individual and collective actions.

To be fully immersed in this new world, work with your department and your peers in the business to understand and implement — even lead — various changes. Think of change as an experiment; learn from outcomes, adapt, and help others adapt. Move quickly and crisply — fail fast; fail often; adjust and learn.”

Rob Austin looks at the post-recovery from a management perspective:

“This chapter is finished; turn the page. For a very long time America has provided the model that the rest of the world wanted to emulate. Emulating American firms and managers is no longer what most people in business around the world want to do. You can tell that an entire way of thinking is slipping away if you listen to the desperation in the voices on the news, the voices of the 20th century clamoring to extend their hegemony. … Anytime I see a supposed authority talking on TV, I ask myself, ’20th-century voice? Or 21st?’ Best to keep track, and attend to the right voices (hint: they’re not the loudest ones). We should be careful of overgeneralizing, of overinterpreting events. But it seems to me that, as managers, we ought to be turning the page, feeling around for what’s next.”

Christine Davis ponders whether traditional IT has too narrowly limited its mission, so that it only focuses on enterprise-wide or broad business system needs:

“Is there a more basic mission for IT? As the IT organizational mission more closely examines the needs in this post-recovery period, the mission may have to be broadened, updated, or enhanced to address the less classic enterprise information technology requirements. For instance, should IT become the educator and trainer for all employees such that they can made better IT decisions? Maybe it’s a good time to do some research and survey the troops.”

If you’d like to read the Business Technology Trends & Impacts Council Opinion in which the Fellows fleshed out their ideas, it’s downloadable now.


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