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Slump gives time to think

Hazel Ward
Companies should take advantage of the economic slow-down as a "gap year" in which to consolidate IT projects and tie up loose ends.

Speaking ahead of Gartner Group's Symposium/ITxpo in Cannes next week, Steve Prentice, research director at the analyst firm, said the spending slow-down offered some welcome respite from the frenzied push to implement e-initiatives, and should be used to tie up loose ends.

"The economic downturn has meant things are a bit calmer. Many organisations have a very unbalanced portfolio and a long way to go before completing it. This gap year will give them time to consolidate what they have and clear our what isn't working, so that they can concentrate on intra-business issues and get ready for a more e-enabled environment," he said.

The conference agenda, which has a special focus on issues such as customer relationship management and Web services, will pinpoint tactical short-term issues, he added. It will be more focused on business issues, to reflect the changing corporate IT agenda.

"The agenda is changing, the issues facing chief information officers are increasingly driven by business issues. A few years ago, the focus was on building systems, with IT directors asking which server or operating system to use, but now the focus is on outsourcing and strategic sourcing. Companies are saying 'this is not core so we'll source it from the market', so the questions are about which provider, how to select and negotiate with a partner," Prentice said.

The Gartner Symposium/ITxpo takes place in Cannes from 5-8 November.

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