InformationWeek and its sister publication Optimize have just wrapped up a series of Redefining Business events across the country. The discussions, based on a research survey of 300 business-technology professionals, revealed some interesting--and dare I say promising--trends in the great balancing act between cost efficiencies and growth that today's CIOs must perform.
On the positive side, despite ongoing uncertainty and lack of confidence in the economy, a growing number of companies are starting to turn their attention from squeezing out costs to growing revenue. For many, the hard part is over--unnecessary expenses have been cut, processes have been changed (though optimization efforts will continue), poorly performing products or business units have been dissolved, and now it's time to once again look for new sources of revenue.
Along the way, we've seen some companies that are way out front--in growth mode for the past couple of years and taking advantage of the down economy. And part of that revenue seeking has resulted in additional investments in IT, while those who have been cutting costs have kept IT spending flat or down.
As companies begin to hone their return-to-growth strategies, here's something to keep in mind: vision. Remember that? Sure, there was a time when it was dismissed by many as a passing fad, but, says Optimize author Mark Lipton, establishing a corporate vision has a profoundly positive impact on growth, profits, and productivity. And since the past is not a prologue to the future, he says, it might be time to start sharpening your vision right now. See what Mark has to say about the CIO's role in establishing this vision at optimizemag.com/issue/019/leadership.htm.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.