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3. Get your financial house in order.
As more IT organizations migrate to a private cloud infrastructure, many are discovering that they don't have the data necessary to accurately charge internal customers for the IT services they provide. "For 2013, I'm resolving to get better at tracking my costs and tracking my revenue," says Corey Kos, enterprise architect for the state of Alaska. Kos recently deployed Cisco UCS and NetApp FlexPod systems in Alaska's main data centers to enable shared IT services across the state. "If you're going to go to any cloud-based infrastructure and do any usage-sort of capacity, then your chargebacks need to be bullet-proof." Kos said he had some difficulty getting the IT and accounting staffs to cooperate on a billing strategy for the e-mail, voice over IP and other centralized IT services that he provides. "We could use some cross-training between the IT and accounting people so they understand what each department does," Kos added. "It needs to be a two-way, cooperative relationship."
4. Become buddies with the CMO.
If you're going to accomplish one thing in 2013, you should befriend your company's chief marketing officer. That's the advice of Frank Gens, chief analyst for IDC. "If you're in a consumer-driven industry, you need to get very close to the CMO because that's where the real innovation and strategic investment is going to happen," Gens says. "With trends such as social technologies, it's not about employees; it's about customers.'' Gens says a key challenge for corporations will be integrating data from the most popular social networks into back-end business systems. The CMO is just one of the Line of Business executives who is going to drive an increasing amount of IT spending in the future, Gens predicts. "Almost 60% of new IT investment in 2013 will involve Line of Business executives," Gens says. "About 25% of new IT investments are going to be where the Line of Business executive is the decision maker, and that 25% will go up to 40% by 2016. There's a tide rising where Line of Business executives are gaining more control over IT. This doesn't mean that IT is out, but IT needs to make those relationships with other executives work."
5. Accelerate your move to SaaS.
When it comes to enterprise application software - from CRM to collaboration - all the momentum is towards the software-as-a-service model. "The time-to-market with SaaS is very helpful," says Shazia Mian, director of applications systems at Heidrick & Struggles, a Chicago executive recruiting firm that recently deployed popular SaaS offering Salesforce.com and its collaboration tool, Chatter. "There is truly much to be offered out of the box. These applications are pre-built and ready to go, and they meet our business needs. It's much better than starting from scratch and building it out," Mian added. Heidrick & Struggles is running a pilot project with one of its largest global customers that involves integrating Salesforce and Chatter with its strategic account management process. "Where I see Chatter really helping us is connecting people in a quicker fashion and having all of the account information readily accessible. It should improve the way we manage the account globally," Mian says.