Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
3/3/2010
08:20 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: Cognizant Sees CIOs Driving For Growth & Transformation

CIOs are leaning on SaaS, social networks and the cloud as they ask the big new question: What business am I in today?

Operating at a $4B run rate and boosted by 10,000 new hires in Q4, Cognizant Technology says its global IT services business is accelerating because "the whole IT industry is reshaping itself in a very positive way and clients have begun asking important new questions they weren't asking before."

That's the new perspective senior VP of marketing and strategy Malcolm Frank sees among Cognizant's clients, 85% of which are in knowledge businesses such as financial services, life sciences, health care, media and entertainment.

"We started seeing signs of this last summer when CIOs and other executives at a lot of our clients stopped feeling like victims and instead very quickly determined that 'Hey, we gotta go on offense again,' " Frank said in a recent phone interview. "And they started brushing aside a lot of the esoteric questions like is it going to be a V recovery, or a W recovery, or a whatever shape, and instead set about making their business core as strong as possible.

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"A big part of that, of course, was making sure that IT innovation was coming on-stream again with things like social media: how can I get social feeds truly baked into the business? Not just some little policy thing of allowing people to use Twitter, but really diggning in and harnessing the power of social nets."

Frank said the turnaround in attitude, priorities, and objectives became very clear in the new and different types of questions clients began asking—questions of a type certainly not heard during that "darkest of winters" that covered the end of 2008 and much of 2009.

"The core question they were digging into was this: 'What business am I in today?' " Frank said. "We saw it in banking and life sciences, where companies felt they just weren't getting the payback they needed from huge investments they'd made in IT; in media, where the newspapers and networks were really getting hammered at a business-model level; and in retail, where they saw the need to get much sharper in analytics because very quickly the online-savvy U.S. consumer had gotten much sharper and retailers that wanted to survive needed to know how this new beast behaves."

So many of Cognizant's new engagements involve not only strategies for social media and networks, but also a wide range of cloud imperatives:

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