Living in a Volatile IT World

By Samuel Greengard

Over the last few years, the pace of change in businessand IT has been nothing short of remarkable. According to The Hackett Group,coping with this ?new normal? requires a different outlook and approach.

A January study, ?2012 IT Key Issues: Coming to Termswith the ‘New Normal,?? found that one in five companies expects to experiencea sustained level of volatility over the next few years. Traditionally,companies have based their planning assumptions on scenarios of 5 to 10 percentpotential variation from key inputs, such as energy costs. Today, the figurecan run as high as 25 percent.

Within this environment, accuracy and timeliness ofinformation are critical for improved decision making. Overall, 69 percentcited the importance of business intelligence and analytics; 64 percent mentioneda need to establish data stewardship and standardize master data; 61 percentsaid there?s a need to move more functions to a common ERP platform; and 57percent believe it?s important to roll out Web-based and self-service tools.

In addition, geographic barriers to doing business have allbut disappeared, the study notes. Consequently, there?s a growing need to focuson global issues, including international standards.

Unfortunately, ?The data shows that finance, HR, IT andprocurement have lagged other aspects of the business, such as productdevelopment, customer strategies and supply chain, in becoming more global,?notes Erik Dorr, senior enterprise research director at The Hackett Groupand co-author of the report.

The Hackett Group recommends that organizations adapttheir business models and priorities in response to economic changes inregional global markets. It projects that a typical large organization willtriple its level of globalization within two or three years, but it will likelytake the same organization up to 10 years to fully adapt and reach desiredgoals.

During this period, organizations and their ITdepartments will be asked to produce better results with fewer resources. Enterprisesmust exceed the historical average of 1 to 3 percent annualized productivitygain and reach between 5 and 6 percent, Dorr notes.

?Getting the right information to permit quick action canonly be accomplished when mechanisms are in place to gather high-quality data,conduct rigorous analysis and make decisions with confidence,?  he says.



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