The adaptive IT organisation

IT managers will have to develop more agile staffers who can be moved around their organisation as needed.

IT managers will have to develop more agile staffers who can be moved around their organisation as needed.

As the economy slowly rebounds and companies become more focused on revenue enhancement, it's becoming increasingly necessary for IT organisations to become more adaptive and sense and respond quickly to business demands, according to analysts at the Meta Group Metamorphosis conference here last week.

To do that, IT managers will have to develop more agile staffers who can be moved around the organisation as needed. They will also have to shift more fixed IT costs into a variable cost structure to react to changing business conditions faster. But to make this happen, IT managers must become more effective leaders to drive necessary cultural and business process changes. 

Meta Group president and chief executive officer Fred Amoroso listed the biggest challenges customers struggle with as they try to make their IT organisations more adaptive.

He said that the people concerned are not seeing enough change necessary from the business side, and that Meta's position is that IT has to drive these adaptive changes. 

"Fundamentally, it's a leadership issue. You're trying to change the culture of the company in how it manages IT and responds to business requirements," he added.

"The idea behind the adaptive IT organisation isn't new; we've been talking about this to customers for the past couple of years in areas such as portfolio management and the need to apply a variable cost structure."

Meta Group itself is trying to adapt to customer demands by saying it is not just about the research.

"Some of our competitors are commoditising themselves to read-only research seats. We're fundamentally changing Meta from a provider of published research to applied or pragmatic research. 

"One CIO I was speaking with [from a telecommunications equipment maker] says his company is getting much more detail-oriented advice from us. I'm hoping they'll extend their relationship with us to an enterprise deal across the various countries they operate in. 

"Our customers are across the board. We're reasonably strong among middle-market companies, especially in our Executive Directions [consulting] group. But we also have 29 or 30 of the Dow 30 as our clients and most of the Fortune 1,000." 

While 70% of Meta's revenues are from end-user clients, the rest are from suppliers. "What we're trying to do is segment services we provide between large, established vendors and emerging vendors that have a different set of needs," said  Amoroso.

Meta recently made some changes in its research organisation to change the way it approaches intellectual property. "Fortune 2,000 customers want to be able to implement global IT architectures. So whether you engage with our analysts in London, Sydney or New York, you'll get a consistent view from our analysts," said Amoroso. 

"We also began developing a new product in the past 60 days to help CIOs develop their own management capabilities and help develop direct reports as next-generation CIOs. 

"We're seeing an uplift in IT spending, varying from 3% to 5% worldwide. There's a lot of focus on pushing through what had been delayed replenishments in infrastructure upgrades, and big spending is continuing on security. But regardless of the geography, even where GDP growth is strong, cost containment is still big. 

"We're not going back to the flush days of the late 1990s anytime soon," he added.

Thomas Hoffman writes for Computerworld

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