If there is any question that technology initiatives must respond to business needs, it is put to rest by what readers of this magazine say theyre focusing on in 2007.
More than a third of those who took our top-projects survey say they are looking to do business process improvement. The next hottest areas, customer relationship management and business analytics, also require collaboration between information technologists and business people. Nowadays, businesses arent funding anything whose return on investment they cant see.
"The projects we have scheduled for 2007 all answer a particular business need," says Gabrielle Wolfson, chief information officer of Spring Valley, N.Y.-based Par Pharmaceutical. "Youre not going to implement technology for the sake of technology."
The unrelenting focus on ROI is leading companies to do more pilot projects and cut the number of risky big-bang initiatives they take on.
The ROI focus is also prompting companies to make better use of the systems they have in place. Thats what the new push toward service-oriented architectures is all about. Indeed, while SOA itself doesnt appear on our list of the top 10 projects (it was the 12th-most-common project, cited by 12% of our readers), its principles of making better use of existing infrastructure and leveraging applications already in place are behind several of those that do, including Web services (No. 5 on our list) and enterprise systems planning (No. 9).
A total of 363 readers in I.T. and business management responded to Baselines survey, which was conducted in January.