The Future of I.T.: What's on Tap for 2007 and BeyondBy Allan Alter Print
Customer Service Surges as a Top Priority for 2007
Upgrading infrastructure and improving processes remain high priorities. But many companies now appear to be ready to take it to the next level, by harnessing their improved technology platforms to build strategic applications and improve customer service. The move to better customer service is especially important now, since (as our November 2006 Customer Strategies Survey showed) customer satisfaction with service has declined. Improving alignment is also a top priority. Yes, alignment is always importantbut it's especially necessary when IT organizations are determining which new applications to build, and what services matter the most to their customers.
Business Intelligence Tops the Strategic Technology List
Since customer service and growth are important, it makes sense that the most important technology in 2007 is business intelligence. BI is a family of technologies that promises to offer better insight into customer behavior and market opportunities. Business process management technologies should do the same for internal processes. However, while BI gets good grades for meeting expectations, BPM suites and platforms often fall short (as our Customer Strategies Survey found). The other top technologies on the list are no surprisethey've been critically important for years, not only for pulling data together, but also for helping users make sense of it.
CIOs Are Optimistic About Growth
Many believe their own company's performance will outpace the economy. True, one in three expects the U.S. economy will grow more slowly or shrink. But most executives expect growth to keep increasing at the same rate, or better. Many who work for companies that operate overseas believe business will improve there, too. Apparently, optimism about their own growth opportunities, and the importance of IT, are so strong that relatively few executives think a mild economic downturn could force them to start reducing IT spending and staffing. That's good news for a nervous IT workforceat least for 2007.
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