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SOA, BPM, CEP: Getting IT Budget in a Tight Economy

You Have to Focus on the Business First, Second, and Last

You're in a squeeze. How things ultimately shake out is not relevant right now, because you need to act right now. Work still needs to get done, systems need to stay running, and you must continue to keep pace with your competitors.

The analysts are projecting enterprise IT spending in 2009 to range from minimal growth to declines. Yet companies should "not wait for signs of a return to growth to begin planning for business growth," according to Gartner analysts at a recent symposium.

"Unlike the (days of the) post-dot.com era-where IT was perceived as wasteful-organisztions now view IT as a way to transform their businesses and adopt leaner operating models," said Gartner analyst Peter Sondergaard. "IT leaders that are called on to reduce 2009 IT spending should do so in a way that will not impede the organization in the future."

So IT budget is not going away. You know that you can still can get it. But how, and how much? What strategies and tactics can you take to get the IT budget you need in a tight environment?

Underlying any answers to these questions is the principle that solutions to the global economic mess must always, to some degree, return to IT.

It is IT that will bring efficiencies to your organization, and it is IT that will keep you in touch with customers, analyze their needs, and act upon those needs.

Examples spring to mind. Specific company names cannot be mentioned because companies are insanely protective of revealing their secrets to competitors-yes, IT does still matter.

But it is worth noting that over the past several months one can find documented evidence of achievements such as these two:

A major tire manufacturer effected a 5% increase in sales simply by lowering its stockouts. This also produced a 20% reduction in inventory, and an increase of 22% in its service levels.

A household goods conglomerate also focused on stockouts to bring enormous change to its supply chain costs. Invoice deductions fell 45%, products reached shelves more quickly. Now, 80% of company orders are automated through a new B2B purchasing process.

Additionally, you'll find real-world anecdotes from a major entertainment CEO whose company can now "run promotions without having to retrofit everything," a telco CIO who has built "a bridge between disconnected islands of information," and another CIO from the transportation business who effectively tracks "hundreds of millions of shipment events as they move through our system." Keep that word "events" in your mind; it will occur later in this article.

And never forget the quantum leaps that are always achievable even in tough economic times. Look to documented examples of trading analytics now being performed in 5 seconds, compared to 30 minutes in the past. Or 15-minute supply chain updates, compared to an industry norm of 1-day not so long ago.

Data warehouses are now being refreshed in a day instead of a month. And certainly you're aware that new phones are now activated within the hour, rather than the days it (annoyingly) took in the past.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.