That elusive IT budget goes real-time

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2008-11-20

I spent a couple days down South this week including stops in Atlanta where I moderated a series of presentations on enterprise technology and had coffee and dinner with a range of end users, systems integrators and analysts. So what did I learn while trying to avoid watching the televised spectacle of the heads of the U.S. auto industry hat in hand asking for a bailout?

That elusive IT budget is more elusive than ever. It looks to me like the idea of the yearly budget is totally trashed in favor of a real time budget, updated all the time and as fluid as the economic news of the day. That may not be the best way to get projects moving and completed on time, but it is the current reality.

What's the big task for IT right now? No, not social networks or even green computing. It is cleaning up the customer and financial data so business executives can sit down at a meeting and all work off the same set of numbers. The cleaning up the database problem, tossing redundant data and getting all the numbers to agree has been a problem since databases were created. But right now when accurate financial information is vital to a company's future, the need to get the data clean so you can provide the business bosses with accurate information is job number one.

The systems integrators and business partners are really busy. Why is that? In many case it is because layoffs are hitting IT , but the need for technology maintenance and upgrades continues. As one system integrator explained, a company lays off ten employees and then realizes it still needs at least one IT professional to keep the engine running.

What are you hearing out there?

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