Gartner BPM: The Current State and Future Direction of the IT Industry, Diane Morello

Diane Morello delivered the closing keynote today with IT industry trends:

  • 2007 will end up being the 6th straight year of modest enterprise IT budget growth
  • A growing number of CIOs are taking on new non-IT responsibilities
  • The more things change…

What economic and business trends will prevail during the next several years? No rocket science required to predict that the economy is slowing down almost everywhere worldwide, although a vast majority of CEOs feel very or somewhat confident that their company will grow in revenue, leading me to wonder if we need a survey on what the CEOs are smoking.

She went through five top predictions that Gartner has made for 2008: more green technology, a greater influence of user preferences on IT spending, significant amounts of IT infrastructure and business applications as a service rather than incurring capital expenditures, and (my personal fave), traveling workers leaving their notebooks at home in favor of other devices.

The top two actions for any CIO in the past three years are still delivering projects that enable business growth and linking business and IT strategies and plans, but improving the quality of IT service delivery has leapt from 7th place to 3rd place in 2007 when CIOs were asked how they support business growth. For 2008, attracting IT personnel moves up into 3rd place. Other surveys that they’ve conducted about the future of the IT organization see a further dissolving of the walls between business and IT, creating what they call the hyper-connected enterprise: the focus is on improving business processes and improving the customer experience, while security bugaboos are finally regressing in relative importance.

A key message is that any investment in IT infrastructure has to be justified in terms of its ability to contribute business value. IT leaders are looking to reduce the cost of security, compliance, privacy and risk management without compromising their organization’s operations. Since much IT infrastructure is at least partly outsourced in some way, the question becomes how to manage multisourcing effectively so as to provide value to the business as the most effective cost.

Morello showed a business intelligence maturity model, nearly identical to their business process maturity model, that maps the changing role of BI within organizations. She then went through the most frequently asked questions that they receive from enterprise architects, applications managers and other IT positions. In looking at questions regarding business process improvement, they expect the key question by 2012 to be around how to do continuous goal-driven process improvement without having total chaos. For any type of IT projects, program and portfolio managers need to learn how to prioritize ad hoc projects, since there will be less monster long-term projects and more rapidly-changing ad hoc projects.

She briefly covered the hype cycle for emerging technologies; I’m sure that I’ll be sued (or at least not invited back) if I show the diagram, but you can likely find it on Gartner’s site or by searching around elsewhere. A number of the Enterprise 2.0 technologies that I see as having break-out potential for 2008 — such as enterprise RSS and wikis — have reached the trough of disillusionment and are about to start climbing back up that slope of enlightenment. However, as one BPM vendor who was sitting with me during the presentation remarked, BPM is no longer on the emerging technologies hype cycle: does that mean that it has finally arrive?

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