Posts tagged ‘IT’

IT Focus for 2008

I thought I’d start off the new year with a post on my thoughts for where the IT focus will be for 2008. There are articles that discuss IT trends for 2008 such as Web 2.0, green IT, etc. However, I do not think that these areas are going to be a focus for most corporations in 2008. They will definitely be a focus for some, but for the majority of companies, I think that these topics are going to be on their radar and they might start experimenting with it, but nothing more than that.

So having said that, here are the topics that I think will be high on the agenda of most CIOs:

  • Integration: Yes, it’s still an issue given aging systems, legacy applications, emerging platforms, M&A activity, need for integrating external partners and need for business agility. With all the talk around SOA and integration, it’s easy to forget how many companies yet have not adopted SOA and are still struggling with integrating their heterogeneous systems. Whether it is via adopting SOA or homegrown means, integration will continue to be a focus for 2008 for most CIOs.
  • Cost Containment: Ask most CIOs what is one of their top 3 initiatives and most will reply cost containment. The need to manage the cost of IT is high on their agenda and should continue to be so this year as well. The trick is to figure out how to use technology to achieve this business goal. SOA for business agility? Virtualization for hardware and software consolidation? SaaS for increased business channels? Open Source to reduce licensing costs? Better customer service using BI? Reduce energy costs? Manage vendor better via standardization? Pursue an outsourcing strategy? All of these will keep the CIO up at night.
  • Process Automation: Current processes are manual, cumbersome and error prone at many companies. The need to automate these and hence cut costs, save time and improve customer service (both internal and external customers) will continue to drive focus in business process automation. In an effort to align business and IT, CIOs not only need to figure out how to automate their processes, but also how to translate the process automation from concept (business folks explaining what needs to be done) to the implementation (how IT folks will get it done).
  • Business Intelligence/Data Mining: In order to improve customer service, you need to know your customer. What better way to do so than to pursue a BI/DM strategy to clean up your data, structure it for on-demad reporting and surface that via a myriad of fancy dashboards? BI/DM will continue to be popular this year.
  • Virtualization: I think that CIOs realize the full value of virtualization already. It is a matter of putting it into practice. A lot of companies already have a virtualization strategy and those that do not will start looking into it this year. Data center virtualization, OS virtualization, application and JVM virtualization, along with sophisticated monitoring and management tools (the most important piece of a virtualization solution) will continue to grow.
  • SaaS: Software as a Service will build on the SOA foundation to provide increase revenue channels for many companies. Despite its complexities (getting used to a different business model, proper infrastructure, licensing models, security, etc), many companies should pursue SaaS this year.
  • Open Source: Statistics say that one in three small and medium sized business are adopting open source as their platform of choice. With the obvious cost savings, increased developer pool, more control over patches and deployment and faster time to market as a result of increased ramp up in infrastructure (think open source ESB, portal, CRM, etc), many companies will need an open source strategy to become more innovative in 2008.
  • M-Commerce: Especially in banking and retail, I expect this to be a major focus this year, given the immense popularity of cell phones, increased band width and customer openness to doing business on the web. Security will still be a concern, but I expect a lot of focus on building out mobile software and infrastructure this year. Add to this the popularity of Mobile 2.0 and Web 2.0 mashups, along with an insatiable appetite of the Gen Y population to get things done while on the move and you can see why reaching customers via mobile phones will be a top focus area for many companies.
  • Security: With the focus around SOA, SaaS, M-Commerce, increased integration between lines of business, exposing data as a service and other key initiatives, security should remain a focus as it is deeply ingrained in each of these areas for the initiatives to be successful.

What!?? No Web 2.0?? No social networks?? Don’t get me wrong. Web 2.0, green IT, etc are all cool and trendy, and they definitely will appeal to a section of companies out there. Web 2.0 will definitely find applicability in the BI space, as well as in areas of marketing, consumer based applications, building brands and areas where people buy products because they trust their friends and social networks, but I do not think that these are going to be the main agenda items for most CIOs who are focused on the enterprise. Web 2.0 is a trend as are social networks and I think that in the coming years, they will become a focus for many, but for now, I feel that they will remain a trend in 2008.

If you feel differently, or feel that I’ve missed out on some key topics, then I’d love to hear your opinions.

January 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

Understanding the CIO/VP of Technology

As part of my job, I routinely meet with people holding the title of CIO and/or VP of Technology to discuss business and technology strategy. I strongly feel that in order for me to do my job and deliver on the needs of my customer, I need to understand the role of my customer, what drives them, what keeps them up at night and what will make them successful. For me, it is not enough to know their business. I need to know their vision, their needs and their drivers in addition to sharing their domain knowledge.

A CIO is a complex position to be in, to say the least. A typical CIO has 2 tasks, one that is thankless, and one that is high risk. Geez! Can it get any better? 🙂 The thankless task is keeping the lights on. The high risk is developing and evolving the technology strategy in tandem with the business and in the area of innovation. Although many CIOs struggle with the former and that alone keeps them busy, the astute CIO realizes that their real value to the company lies in the latter.

In order for service providers like Patni to deliver, we need to better understand the challenges faced by our customers so that we become more than just merely an outsourcing vendor, but a true business partner focused on increasing our customer’s wallet share rather than just our own and helping them achieve success. In upcoming blogs, this section will outline some of the challenges and areas of focus for CIOs and how CIOs can harness IT to drive business strategy, institute portfolio management to get a deeper understanding of IT ROI, develop an IT performance management strategy and an IT outsourcing strategy and derive key metrics to measure IT performance and prove that IT is more than a cost center.

December 29, 2007 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

New to Patni

I recently joined Patni Computers as Sr. Director of Solutions. One of the main reasons I took the job was because the position offers me an exciting blend of technology and business – not only do I get to shape the technology strategy by creating and marketing the service offerings around key emerging technologies such as SaaS, Open Source, Web 2.0, Virtualization, etc, I also get the chance to be involved with running the ISV business unit – creating off-shore teams, participating in the procurement, training and mentoring efforts, identifying key customers to go after to grow revenues, working cohesively with sales and pre-sales to formulate strategies and help with sales cycles, initiate marketing efforts such public speaking, publishing articles and much more. In addition, I get to work in new verticals such as ISVs, medical devices and health care, consumer electronics and others which will be a nice addition to my background in financial services, retail and automotive.

Coming from a hard core technology consulting background, this will be a welcome change and I look forward to taking on a more business focused, yet highly technical role. I will use this blog to share my thoughts with you on both technology and business related issues. Each topic that I write about will start off at a high level introduction and in subsequent topics, I’ll drill down to the details, best practices, etc.

To learn more about my background, please click here.

December 29, 2007 at 1:35 am Leave a comment



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