Each year about now, prophets of doom arise to predict the end of the IT industry. Two years ago, they warned about Y2K remediation, which would suck up all the investment dollars and leave IT projects on ice. Y2K wasnt free, but it didnt stop the process of trying to bring technology to bear on business goals.
Last year, the IT investment killer was dot-com companies. Their frictionless attack against established companies would leave traditional IT—and much of the traditional economy—in a swoon. How silly that all now seems in an era of new stock market lows. Kudos to the traditional managers who kept their eyes on the slow but steady improvement in productivity that technology investment is all about.
This year, the bugaboo is the return of a familiar fiend: the economy. The seers divine a slowdown in the economy. Mom and Dad arent buying the new computer for Junior this holiday season, and the economy is going into a tailspin.
IT projects that allow greater reach into a new customer base or bring more efficiencies to a company will get funds. Well-developed projects from executives with winning track records are going to move forward.
Last week, I had lunch with Thomas Boardman, chief technology officer for San Diego County. He is overseeing a $644 million (yes, million) outsourcing contract for the county. Since the projects inception last year, the county has installed 2,000 new PCs, 13,000 new phones, a new automated process for 800,000 property tax bills and an upgraded plan for information security. And thats just the start. Now that the infrastructure is coming into place, the Web-based services that will be the hallmarks of efficient government in the future can now start to be set in place. The San Diego project will continue to move forward—as well as other projects that make economic and business sense—regardless of whether or not there is a new PC for Junior this year.
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