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Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: Time To Take Stock Of Tech Priorities

Nothing bugs my mother-in-law more than when she calls and asks, "What have you all been up to?" and I reply, "You know, same old stuff." Surely there's more going on than the daily grind, she thinks. Perhaps it's just my semipolite way of saying I don't really have time to discuss such things, but it makes me think: Is my life so routine, or do I just need to invest more energy and time in discussing the more interesting elements? OK, I won't drag you into my family politics any further, but it seems some have the same attitude about IT departments these days.

An A.T. Kearney study released last week finds almost half of business leaders say their IT departments are focused on day-to-day operations and not longer-term, strategic needs. And the situation is getting worse: Only a fourth of respondents say IT and business planning are integrated. "Most IT departments can't effectively explore innovative uses of technology because they're stuck in the daily operational grind," says A.T. Kearney VP Mark Livingston.

InformationWeek's quarterly IT Confidence Index isn't any rosier. The index, which measures business-technology managers' outlook on the economy and IT priorities, finds fewer than half of the 300 managers surveyed feel positive about their IT budgets in the coming three months (see story, p. 22).

But, fortunately, we hear from many companies that the balance between cost-cutting and revenue growth is shifting, albeit slowly. I think the companies that believe IT and their CIOs drive new business, customer service, and new revenue have a far brighter future. Now isn't the time to just keep the lights on. It's time to light a spark--heck, a torch!--and ignite business-technology innovation and revenue growth. The alternative, after all, is just the same old stuff.

Stephanie Stahl

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