Gartner tells us what’s wrong with this picture

As if the current economic climate wasn’t bad enough, research firm Gartner is out with its Top Ten list of “most contentious IT issues for the next two years.” It should be required reading for every solutions provider.

“At a time when there is little in the way of additional budget available, CIOs need to know where and when to focus to best assist and improve enterprise performance,” says Ken McGee, vice president and Gartner Fellow. He got that right.

Ok, so it’s actually a top nine list, well, actually a bottom nine list, I suppose. As Gartner puts it, “during the next two years, IT’s greatest opportunity to significantly improve overall enterprise operational performance will unfold from resolving the nine most contentious issues.” Drum roll please:

1. Business Expectations for IT have outstripped IT’s Internal Capability to Deliver.

Gartner recommends that CIOs recognize the skills gap, refrain from solely hiring staff with IT backgrounds in the future and focus on identifying and delivering distinctive solutions for the business.

2. How to More Rapidly Modernize Infrastructure and Operations and Reduce Costs.

Gartner recommends emphasizing modernization projects that can be ‘self-funding’, that is, pay for themselves, which can often be achieved through I&O consolidation and virtualization.

3. Business Accountability for Security and Risk Management.

The risk manager should also develop mechanisms to convey residual risk levels that remove reference to technology but still support good risk-based decisions at a business level.

4. Lack of Business Intelligence Sponsorship.

Gartner’s vision is to build a more complete and integrated plan for BI initiatives and to yield greater returns from related business and IT investments.

5. How Do I Get My Vendor to Deliver What I was Promised?

Users bear a responsibility to be competent buyers, but vendors need to be flexible in laying out conditions and options. Vendors see it all and are better equipped to alert users when they are about to demand an incomplete or wrong contractual term or condition.

6. “Turf” when ownership friction occurs among IT groups and the enterprise architecture group when multiple IT groups maintain high-level planning functions.

Gartner recommends focusing on three core IT management disciplines – Enterprise Architecture, Business Process Management, and Service Management.

7. Should We Modernize Applications? If So, When?

Many mission-critical apps rely on code developed decades ago by programmers long gone and running on hardware long obsolete.

8. To Whom Should Business Process Professionals Report?

Gartner recommends a hybrid organization such as a business process competency center that reports to a chief operating officer.

9. How Much Formal Process is Needed for Program and Portfolio Management?

Gartner says changes in a project will become normal, expected, and accepted and that PPM methods will adopt smaller and smaller units of work to accommodate “midcourse corrections.”

“IT leaders should use this time, before obtaining new post financial crisis direction from CEOs, to resolve these issues,” says McGee. “Resolving these issues will place IT leaders in a far better position to take on the challenges of the new future that lies ahead.”

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