Investing in technology: Setting IT priorities in an uncertain economy

Investing in technology: Setting IT priorities in an uncertain economy

Investing in technology: Setting IT priorities in an uncertain economy

Date: Aug 22, 2012

Investing in technology is one of the most essential exercises of IT prioritization, but there's often no practice run, especially when the economy is uncertain. The Great Recession has tested -- and severely strained -- IT budgets the past several years, but that hasn't stopped innovative CIOs from investing in technology areas that have propelled their organizations forward.

In this video Q&A, filmed at the 2012 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass., SearchCIO.com Editorial Director Scot Petersen sits down with Richard Soley, CEO at Object Management Group Inc. in Needham, Mass., to discuss investing in technology areas such as cloud computing, big data and mobility.

Soley emphasizes the importance of strategic planning in positioning IT investments, which allows enterprises to realize the most ROI from their IT spending while also learning more about their customers. And, Soley emphasizes, "be prepared to fail. The most successful companies fail all the time."

Read a partial transcript from the Q&A below, and watch the video to learn more about the importance of investing in technology in today's business climate.

You were at the morning panel today with other CEOs and the subject of the economy came up, specifically investing in technology in these uncertain times. How would you answer that question?

Richard Soley: You have to always be investing in technology and just can't necessarily put [money] into huge projects. If you are not doing experiments all of the time -- and not just with technology, but with every aspect of the business -- you are missing opportunities, throwing away customers, and you're destroying revenue and value. So, you have to always be investing; you just have to start small and be prepared to fail. The most successful companies fail all the time. 

Are there certain types of investments that make more sense now?

Soley: I think that, far too often, companies spend a lot of time investing in the cool new technology. So, speaking as the head of a standards organization that is always connected to the cool, new technology, [that means] today, cloud and big data, but yesterday, BPM [business process management] and, the day before that, service-oriented architecture. There is a tendency to look at the cover of magazines or what's on the first page of SearchCIO.com and say, 'Hey, we need to invest in that,' especially when the CEO calls the CIO and says, 'What's our big data strategy? I don't know what it is, but I need to know what the strategy is, because I read about it on page two of The Wall Street Journal.'

It makes more sense to focus on customer-facing technology. What is it that I can learn about the customer by mining the data? What is it that I can offer the customer in terms of new services? What is it that I can offer my supply chain so that it will give me more value over time and allows me to increase my share, revenue and profit? [A presenter] had a great line just a few minutes before I came down here, in which he said, 'If you're not embarrassed by your products, you've shipped too late.' And it is an overgeneralization, of course, but his point is that you've got to experiment. You've got to make small experiments all of the time, and that is absolutely true with technology, and it has to be customer-facing.

More on IT spending and budgeting

  • canderson

    Is Scratch Wireless the next mobile disruptor?

    VIDEO - What does a next-gen cellular network look like? Meet Scratch Wireless, a Massachusetts startup looking to disrupt the mobile space by providing 'Wi-Fi First' smartphones that rely primarily on hotspots.
  • canderson

    Newest trends in IT shifting CIO concerns

    VIDEO - The newest trends in IT are shifting CIO concerns. Learn about the driving forces behind these shifts in this video interview with Shvetank Shah.
  • canderson

    Global IT industry trends guiding CIO strategies, technology budgets

    VIDEO - Global IT industry trends are shifting technology investments and emphasizing the value CIOs bring to the business. Learn more in this video Q&A.
  • What startups can teach CIOs about IT funding

    News - Getting the CEO and CFO to fork over funding for innovation IT projects is never easy. At the Fusion 2015 CEO-CIO Symposium, Gartner's Barbara Gomolski advised CIOs to look at how startups raise capital. Here are three tips.

    ( Mar 19, 2015 )

  • scenario

    Definition - Scenarios are potential events or combinations of events that could have an effect on a business -- typically a given scenario carries either risk or opportunity.
  • Government CIO launches IT shared services marketplace

    News - A shared technology services marketplace, like the one recently implemented by Oakland County, Mich., offers a variety of benefits to governments constrained by tight budgets, including more affordable prices for services and interesting opportunities to analyze data.

    ( Feb 27, 2015 )

  • 2015 outlook in information technology: Growth and more cloud services

    News - The 2015 outlook for information technology includes higher budgets and an emphasis on cloud, according to TechTarget's annual IT priorities survey.

    ( Jan 23, 2015 )

  • TechTarget's 2014 IT Salary and Careers Survey infographic

    Feature - Is it time to play the technology field? Find out in TechTarget's 2014 IT Salary and Careers Survey infographic, which indicates fatter paychecks and increased optimism.

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: