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June 4, 2009

IT Management Plans and Priorities for 2009 and Beyond

By this time, many organizations are well underway with their 2009 IT projects and many are gearing up to begin their FY2010 IT planning. With this in mind, I thought it might be a good time to go over the "interests and priorities" of IT organizations that we uncovered in our recent 2009 ITSM and ITFM Industry Survey.

ITSM/ITFM Interests vs Priorities
According to our survey, the top 6 ITSM/ITFM priorities for IT organizations in 2009 were:
  • Cutting IT costs and managing IT spend (54%)
  • Making IT operations more streamlined and efficient (48%)
  • Aligning IT with the business (36%)
  • Achieving cost transparency in my IT organization (29%)
  • Implementing chargeback for IT products and services (28%)
  • Improving the satisfaction of my business customers with services offered by IT (28%)
These, for the most part, are no surprise and reflect today's challenging economic conditions. The surprise came when comparing these top priorities to the same respondents' ITSM/ITFM interests -- these are the topics that people were interested in learning more about in 2009 (see chart below).
Interests_v_priorities  
You would expect "interests" and "priorities" to be fairly well aligned, and for the most part they are -- with two interesting exceptions:

Developing and using IT performance metrics. This was the number one interest among the respondents, but only came in at number 7 on the list of 2009 priorities. Evidently, with the down economy, IT organizations today have bigger fish to fry, so developing performance metrics is not an immediate priority. However, looking to the future, accurately measuring service performance is a key component of many IT managers' plans.

Implementing chargeback. This was fairly high on the list of priorities, yet on the list of interests it dropped all the way down to number 12. The idea of charging internally for IT services has been around for quite some time, but few have actually done it, because it involves so much change to how IT is run, and there are often organizational and cultural roadblocks to doing this. In today's down economy, however, many organizations are starting to come around on the idea of chargeback, and starting to recognize its cost-saving potential. It is unfortunate that it took an economic downturn to get to this point, but this is certainly an encouraging result.

Organizations Want To Run IT Like A Business
Running IT like a business has become quite a popular concept these days. I seem to hear about it everywhere I go: IT organizations all over the country aspire to run themselves in a more "businesslike" manner. And the results of this survey really confirmed that.

One of the questions we asked was something we like to call The Zeitgeist Question -- what phrase best captures your organization's ITSM/ITFM priorities for 2009? The choices consisted of phrases we have heard during our consulting engagements, and we invited respondents to write in their own Zeitgeist Phrases as well. The results are below.

Zeitgeist Question
A whopping 33% -- one third of all respondents! -- said that "Running IT Like A Business" was their organization's Zeitgeist Phrase. That's a lot of people! This really shows that running IT like a business and everything that goes with it (clearly defined service offerings, SLAs and OLAs, a robust cost model, demand management processes, etc.) is becoming the operative principle at many IT organizations out there, which is a very encouraging trend.

"Cutting Costs at All Costs" and "Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency" were pretty popular as well, and there were some interesting write-ins, which you can see above also.

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