Services -> KPO
By: Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst, Quocirca
Published: 22nd April 2009
Copyright Quocirca © 2009
It is all too easy when faced with bad news about economies in recession to get depressed. Doom and gloom spreads like an oil slick, so it is no wonder that many advocate a positive attitude. This is fine, but has to go beyond the resurrection of the 30s war slogan "Keep calm and carry on" that has become a recent popular addition to T-shirts, mugs and the like. Times may be tough, but business and commerce will still need to go on, and those companies that survive and thrive tend to have a positive attitude that tries to exploit all assets at their disposal, and that includes technology.
IT can be seen as a drain on budgets, but a close relationship between IT and the rest of the business should lead to a better understanding of the business value contributed by IT and therefore its true worth. Recent Quocirca research has identified some habits and attributes that seem to be prevalent in organisations that consider themselves to be outpacing their competitors. Quocirca's research highlighted several ideas that any organisation could implement, leading to more effective IT function whether in lean times or otherwise:
Overall these represent a shift in emphasis that goes hand in hand with a more positive attitude and a more balanced understanding of the challenges and value of IT. One way to start the process is to deepen the understanding by walking a mile or two in someone else's shoes. This could be done internally by rotating staff, in particular senior managers, between IT and line of business functions, over several months, to promote closer ties and an appreciation of the wider opportunities and challenges faced by the organisation. Also, external advisors can be brought in to provide a fresh perspective on jaded internal issues, and specialist help where specific expertise is required. Rather than outsourcing the solution as well as the problem, this could be used to coach and develop internal staff and not simply offloading the work to a third party.
Organisations need to be prudent and realistic about their objectives, but simply sitting still or just blindly cutting costs is not realistic. Those that outpace their competitors have a positive approach and use all available tools to improve their overall business effectiveness. IT is an integral business function and has a direct bearing on the eventual business outcomes—both good and bad. A well structured IT function, backed with robust project management and exhibiting a positive business-savvy attitude will deliver not only an effective return on IT investment, but also improved performance for the business.
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