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Ten imperatives for midmarket IT strategy in the new year

From IT security and compliance to IT staffing and IT portfolio management, here are 10 maxims for success in the coming year, spanning people, process and technology.

What will 2009 bring for CIOs and senior IT at midsized businesses? Recently, I answered this question for some 400 CIOs at Microsoft's Midsize Business CIO Summit. Using recent in-house TechTarget survey data and drawing from conversations with readers, I built the following midmarket IT strategy top 10 list. Like your jobs, it spans people, process and technology -- and paints a picture of caution (but not drought) for the year ahead.

10. Review your strategic plan.

In a recent TechTarget survey, more than half of the 386 midmarket respondents said additional IT cuts were at least somewhat likely in the first half of 2009 if the economy didn't improve. And anyone who's been through cutbacks before knows that you rarely get a big window in which to make them. Thus, it's imperative to start evaluating your strategic plan now, so when your boss says he needs a 10% reduction by Friday, you've done the work to make the right choices.

9. Spend wisely, but continue to invest.

We've all heard the horror stories of companies that have frozen spending only to have critical system failures because IT couldn't replace aging systems, or at least found themselves way behind in infrastructure upgrades. Fortunately, as of our mid-September survey (conducted just before the financial meltdown, but at a time when the economy wasn't exactly surging), some 75% of you predicted you'd have at least as much money to spend in 2009 as in 2008. But if you do have to make cuts, 68% of you said nonessential projects would go first (no big surprise there).

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