October 08, 2008, 2:30 PM — Yesterday Phil participated in a CIO roundtable discussion on "driving business value through IT". While the roundtable was planned months in advance, no one could have anticipated how the discussion would be dominated by the latest economic woes. Most of the CIOs were feeling tremendous cost cutting pressure -- beyond the usual levels, and several had given out pink slips that morning.
Some of the main themes that emerged were -- maintaining a trust level by delivering on small promises early; showing the true ROI of IT initiatives whether they be new or on the chopping block; keeping staff motivated (and retaining them) when IT cost-cutting initiatives turn the office of the CIO into the office of "boredom".
Phil's recommendation: don't thwart innovation through constant focus on cost cutting and ROI calculations. Maintain a sandbox where innnovation can be safely tried -- and give employees time to experiment with new tools and ideas. Innovation needs to be encouraged, not relegated to the employees' own time at home. That's how you drive business value through IT innovation -- even in tough times.