The IT department has always suffered the reputation of being too slow. For years, users complained that IT just wasn't fast enough. It's why, they said with shrilly self-righteousness, they were forced to go around it, giving birth to the phenomenon we know as shadow IT.
But none of this is new.
Here's what is: An even greater need for speed and agility from the business. If CIOs thought their departments were already being pushed too hard to roll out IT projects quickly, they're not going to like what the future has in store.
An economy stuck in the fetal position is making businesses more desperate than ever to action almost any new opportunity that could prop up their drooping top lines. That means they're having more meetings, outside of their regular planning cycles, that are churning out more ideas on how to make money--most of which need IT support.
The numbers back up that observation. According to CIO research, the number of Indian CIOs who say that "deploying too many technologies or applications is a major challenge to their department" rose from 71 percent in 2011 to 79 percent in 2012. Our research also points out that since the slowdown, the number of IT projects that medium to large companies are undertaking in a year has tripled.
This trend, coupled with a lingering reluctance among consumers to spend, is effectively shrinking the pie companies are fighting over. Although consumer confidence is on the rise, Nielsen's Consumer Confidence survey (November 2012) points out that 54 percent of Indian consumers still say they'd rather put spare cash into savings than spend it. As a result businesses are decreeing that new products, services, and solutions need to be pushed out faster to ensure they get the largest piece of a smaller pie. Add then to this mix swiftly changing customer demands.
Put together, these trends have increased the number of new, quick ramp-up projects within enterprises, heightening the need to hustle and be more agile. "It's speed that gets a company to realize the benefits from a technology initiative," says Ashish Agarwal, SVP-IT at Apollo Munich Health Insurance. "Tech projects can be accelerated and it would certainly expedite business benefits."
CIOs who aren't taking this need for speed seriously should remember that there's plenty, including their reputations, at stake. A recent Forrester study asked business leaders how long they thought it would take IT to build and deploy an innovative new idea that required software development as a key component. Only 8 percent believed IT could deliver within three months. It gets worse: More than four in 10 business leaders thought it would take a year or more.
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