1 The Recession: It’s official This year all senior ICT executives acknowledge the recession, but its impact varies.
ICT initiatives are largely proceeding as planned despite the recession. There has been a noticeable dip in the annual ICT project budget for many organisations. However, CIOs say doing more for less is business as usual for them irrespective of the state of the economy.
2 New government; new broom
As the new government zealously reins in public sector spending, IT managers are feeling the pressure.
Many public sector senior ICT executives feel their budgets are about to be scrutinised as the new government focuses on public sector spending. For some, there is also significant disruption through public sector mergers and restructuring — examples include the Auckland ‘super city’ decision and the merger of Land Transport and Transit NZ.
3 Utility computing gets the nod
Computing 'in the cloud' is no longer a 'pie in the sky' concept for IT executives.
Significant interest in the potential of utility computing in an age of improved broadband is balanced by a cautious approach on the part of senior IT executives. Email and storage of non-sensitive data is being transferred to third-party host providers, in isolated trials that have proved largely beneficial. However, there is reluctance to move sensitive information to the cloud.
4 UC takes off
It’s a good year for Unified Communications’ champions.
The majority of the Top 100 organisations have committed to fully functional, organisation-wide UC projects for 2009 and beyond, following several years of half-hearted trials and general scepticism. Consideration of video and VoIP inclusion in UC systems is still muted, but there is solid interest in the underlying infrastructure required to achieve unified messaging — and particularly for solutions that incorporate mobile communications.
5 Business intelligence: The recession beater
In a climate of recession, organisations are serious about business intelligence system improvements.
It’s a big year for BI. More organisations are demanding answers from their IT systems, in the form of intelligent business information to be used to ward off the worst effects of the recession. For many, this has meant a complete re-think of what information is most important to the organisation and how it can be better delivered. Reporting systems are under the microscope, as IT teams work out ways to deliver more timely and valuable information to senior management.
6 Wholesale to selective outsourcing
There are fewer ‘one stop shops’ as senior ICT executives reassess outsourcing partnerships.
Organisations that have traditionally outsourced IT functions to one main outsource partner, are this year beginning to rethink that strategy. Costs can be reduced and outsourced services streamlined if the load is shared, say CIOs. Additionally, with the current economic climate also affecting the revenue of outsource providers, many ICT executives feel using only one or two providers is risky.
7 The hardware has to go
Screen numbers drop dramatically as IT executives rationalise hardware across the organisation.
Server numbers are dramatically down on 2008 as organisations up the ante on server and software virtualisation, and rationalise hardware resources to reduce PC and network maintenance costs. A higher interest in outsourced solutions and utility computing is also supporting long-term plans for a leaner hardware portfolio.
8 Skill shortage lessening
The skill shortage is easing as existing and potential IT employees demand less from their employers.
After years of recruitment woes, this year senior IT executives find more good people are available — or less likely to leave a current position — as a direct result of the economic downturn. While some niche skills are still in short supply, availability of general IT staff has improved, say CIOs, with salary demands reaching reasonable parameters.
9 The cost of compliance
Despite budget restraints, law and compliance requirements continue to consume IT project budgets.
The health sector is struggling with current funding models, while it strives to deliver identity management systems important to the data security needs of the sector. Other sectors are working overtime to meet the compliance requirements of the pending Public Records Act, at a time when ICT budgets are already tight. Many ICT executives resent the need to invest heavily in systems that solely support compliance.
10 Sustainability goes on the back burner
There’s nothing like a threat to the bottom line to distract organisations from the environment.
Last year, the environment and sustainability were serious business issues, with most ICT executives claiming a clear view of sustainability goals going forward. This year, while sustainability is still on the agenda — somewhere — there has been a noticeable reduction in the focus on sustainability as organisations attempt to rein in spending.
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