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The fundamentals of tech investments today

Alexander Bloch | Jan. 7, 2003
Trends in IT deployment and where your technology budget should go

The buzz these days in the technology business has been a whole lot about innovation and what IT can do to kickstart it, enable it and keep running it. On the second leg of CIO Asias roadshowdone in partnership with sponsors IBMAlexander Bloch, Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services (Technology Strategy and Transformation), put forth a strong case for when (now), where (innovation), why (career prospects) and how (enabling and acting out cross-functional collaboration) todays senior information executives must push themselves and their IT organisations toward in making IT investments.

Below is an abstract of his presentation in Bangkok on March 20, 2007, wherein he brought up fundamental considerations that not only top information executives but also their senior business counterparts should bear in mind as they make key investments in technology in the years ahead.


I represent IBMs strategy and change practice. Im based in New York. I think its great fun to address a group of technologists particularly at this stage. I dont think theres ever been a more exciting time. I dont believe theres any dimension as dynamic or explosive as information technology. The transformative power that we build with our hands is pretty awesome. Senior IT executives are very lucky to be in that role at this stage of the game.

Most of the work I do is in the technology strategy space. Ive worked for small firm industries including financial services and telecommunications. More notably in my background, my consulting career has been complemented significantly by my time as a CIO for a major oil and gas company in Russia. I understand and sympathise with top executives in charge of technology investments today. The truth of the matter is, with things like tech investment budgetsnobody ever gives us more money. How do we change that? I look at the topic of the changing role of the CIO in multiple dimensions. The complexity of the CIO role is increasing. By this I dont just refer to a linear complexity but more its multi-dimensionality. Increasingly, there are more areas of focus being added to the role of the CIO. Thats one aspect of the evolutionary role. Secondly, there are some forces that are outside the specific control of senior information executives. Thirdly, they need to understand some of the industry trends that are causing these changes in the various technology functions.

Increasing Complexity

A look at findings of a survey conducted by Gartner sometime late last year tells us how, compared to just even one year ago, top executives tech investment priorities have changed significantly. For example, the third most important priority is the building of business skills within IT organisations. A year ago, this actually ranked in the bottom three. This shows the
 significant change in the mentality of the CIOs and their values. If you were to take a look at this same survey say five or 10 years ago, youll find that technical expertise was the defining skill area. That is certainly not the case anymore. There is a great recognition of hybrid business skills. This is going to propel some of the change that business leaders look at technology leaders to execute.


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