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CIOs advised to plan for growth

CIOs advised to plan for growth

An economic downturn can be a perfect time to undertake projects that warrant priority, says Gartner analyst.

Don't wait for signs of a return to growth to begin planning for business growth, advised Gartner analysts at the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Sydney. An economic downturn can be a perfect time to undertake projects that warrant priority, because of their impact on future growth, said senior vice president and global head of research Peter Sondergaard.

He was speaking on the occasion of the release of preliminary results of its annual Gartner Executive Programs (EXP) CIO survey at the analyst firm's Symposium/ITxpo, which is considered the IT industry's largest and most-strategic conference.

IT budgets to go up next year

According to the survey, of the 444 CIOs surveyed around the world, 48 per cent are projecting an IT budget increase in 2009. However, 52 per cent of CIOs are reporting flat or IT budget decreases in 2009. On a weighted basis and considering all 444 IT organisations, 2009 IT budgets are set to increase 3.36 per cent.

"While these are preliminary results, they support what we have observed during 2008 -- that enterprises see IT as a way to drive cost out of the business in the face of an increasingly challenging economic climate," said Sondergaard.

Full results of the Gartner EXP CIO survey will be available in the first quarter of 2009.

IT budgets declining asymmetrically across geographies

Gartner said that as business growth is not declining at the same rate across geographies, CIOs can exploit asymmetries between regions and industries to find new opportunities.

"This is a great opportunity for businesses in the Asia Pacific. During 2009, some countries and regions are still expected to grow at fairly robust rates," said Sondergaard. "Divert resources to those regions of your global business where your regional offices, customers and suppliers are growing so fast that they are probably asking 'recession... what recession?'"

Gartner said economic uncertainty dictates that prudent IT organisations prepare three alternative budgets: best-case, worst-case and most-likely scenarios.

In closing his keynote address, Sondergaard highlighted eight areas that IT executives should focus on to help their organisations weather economic turmoil, which includes cost optimisation, virtualisation, IT modernisation, low-carbon IT, workforce management, business intelligence, service-oriented architecture and business process management, plus multi-sourcing.

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