Recession Time Calls For Tough Calls - Here's Your List

Vaughan Merlyn takes a pragmatic look at what IT Departments can do in these increasingly tougher times at his IT in a Recession - What’s Different this Time? post.

Echoing an earlier post here (Tough Times Call For Easy Decisions) he sets the scene for his list of actions:
We’ve been in recessions before, and the innovator versus controller behaviors - ever present - do tend to stand out during such times. I guess the appropriate variation on the old cliche is “When the going gets tough, tough CIO’s innovate!”

There then follows a list of actions that any CIO can ponder, including:
If you have been a responsible IT leader, you’ve already done the reasonable cost cutting and cost take-out measures, and run an efficient IT operation. Cutting any further is likely to cut into bone and muscle rather than fat. Is the best thing we can say about IT that when money is tight, we should do less of it? My problem with the knee jerk reaction is it reinforces the perennial perspective that IT is only a cost to be contained, rather than an investment to be leveraged. This time, and under current global economic climate, it seems to me that finding growth and business innovation (be it process, product or service innovation) is a better strategy - a more constructive IT response.

Hear hear.
Why is it only in times of "greater economic hardships" do we start reviewing our costs, looking at revenue being generated/supported by IT or comparing the outcomes promised with the outcomes achieved. Surely that's just good practice and should happen all the time?

Vaughan also highlights that, now we all have all the tools (or should have, what century are you working in people?) to do our job available any time and any place then:
... it might be worth getting creative about not only facilitating, but proactively encouraging alternate work arrangements (e.g., work from home, work part time). People may be willing to give up some base pay to take advantage (including cost savings plus green benefits) of work-at-home arrangements.

I think this is particularly true of "knowledge workers", that is anyone that sits in front a PC all day with the standard office-type applications and/or needs to collaborate with others (if you're a person that attends a lot of meetings, that's you).

Noticably Vaughan mentions working via a browser twice:
  • This time you might be able to get into or accelerate the use of SaaS and Cloud Computing - these approaches are inherently less capital-intensive, and, arguably, lead to lower operating costs.
  • Lastly, Web 2.0 and all that it means (cloud computing, SaaS, etc.) promise a relatively quick and easy way to find and conduct experiments in business innovation and collaboration, without the investment and effort of building all the infrastructure and developing a whole bunch of code. For many companies there is a potential gold mine in the application of social networking to business growth and innovation. Now is a great time to look hard and identify opportunities to connect with employees, customers and the company ecosystem in new and productive ways.

Point one mirrors a view Ben has over at CloudAve (Is SaaS Cheaper? Who Cares, It’s Better) - my thoughts were:
... the focus on "cost" at the moment is an emotional/guttural reaction to the world beng reported around us. And, if that's the business pain to be solved right now then that's business pain that SaaS (and anything else) should be targeting.

Point two from Vaughan drives at the nub of the why I believe "cloud computing" can best assist agile/nimble organisations - and if you're not agile/nimble then yes, times may be tough.

Most (if not all) organisations I have worked with have had a statement hidden amongst their "who we are" that states, "We value our staff" - now is the time to prove that. If the answers to the questions the economy is going to ask of your company is held in the heads and connections of your staff then why not give them the tools (and the freedom) to express these ideas and utilise those connections for the betterment of your company. Design (but not re-design) and deliver social software tools that directs the chatter, the bonds and the use of tools to fit your particular outcomes.

How?
Do at least 2 from this list ... you, today - don't wait for permission, just do it!
  1. Ask 10 people around you what social networking tools they use for personal use and why?
    Get the number 1 reason, apply it to one business outcome and have your IT Department deliver it within two weeks.
  2. Put up a whiteboard in the reception and have it "owned" by one team to communicate the minutuae of their working life to everyone (multiple ones if you've multiple offices, of course)
  3. Book in a "Christmas Do" for mid-March!
    Make it the same deal, same importance, same expense - staff are not just for Christmas!
  4. Stop! Don't send that email, don't post that news item, don't create that "help" pdf WITHOUT truly thinking (or even asking) the readers if it will help them
  5. Read 4 ways of being productive DESPITE the organisation and how YOU can help and action one of the three points

Eating my own dog food/drinking my own Champagne - I've just done '3', one more to go!



(If this photo STILL doesn't get the creative juices flowing ... find something that will!)

Comments

  1. Tough times alright, even I.T. services are being sold at a bargain!

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=214597338

    ReplyDelete

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