Gartner sets 1 July deadline for firms to plan for upturn

4 Jun 2009

IT analyst Gartner said that organisations and IT leaders should aim to have plans in place by 1 July this year to prepare for business growth.

The analyst firm said this advice is particularly relevant to the countries that first entered into the recession, namely Ireland, the UK and the US.

Despite increasing unemployment, plummeting consumer confidence and business bankruptcies, businesses are noting that staff are working at near- or full-capacity levels.

This capacity demand will increase when businesses start detecting a resurgence in demand from customers, a more stabilised economic climate and a far healthier lending environment to access credit.

“As these improvements translate into new IT project demands to help businesses identify new revenue and profit opportunities, companies will need a way to manage the already high project load with a new wave of projects,” said Ken McGee, vice-president and Gartner fellow.

“However, waiting until that new demand arrives will be far too late to appropriately meet it, and we are recommending that companies start preparing for business growth now, with a view to having these plans completed by July 1, 2009.”

According to Gartner, the 1 July ‘deadline’ will well serve those organisations believing that modest business growth could occur during 2010. Such a belief would require placement of new IT projects and other related expenses in the 2010 budget, whose preparation period is between August and the end of 2009.

“We’re not trying to predict when the end of the recession will take place, nor are we trying to speculate when credit market stability will occur, or when we will see consistent investment appreciation return to the world’s equity markets,” said Mark Raskino, vice-president and Gartner fellow.

“What we are saying is that due to the lag in time between the point at which the economy begins to grow again, and when it’s officially declared to be growing again, companies simply can’t wait for an ‘official’ declaration before they begin planning for better times.”

While Gartner’s recommendations call for the resolution of key preliminary cost optimisation and governance-related issues before the era of business growth returns, Gartner said that it is not necessarily advocating that organisations automatically revert to the same management techniques they were using in the years leading up to the recession.

Gartner said that it plans to present an array of new cost-optimisation-related actions that its clients should take during future technology selection, vendor selection, procurement, contract negotiation, asset management, and other post-recession efforts, as they enter the next chapter of supporting business growth.

“Since no one knows when business growth will resume, organisations may need to file away their completed return-to-business plans for up to a year or more. The plan in waiting should be reviewed on a monthly basis and revised according to changes in the business climate,” McGee said.

“Having a completed plan will enable the near-immediate allocation of funding and staffing for IT projects, thus avoiding the need to take weeks to devise a plan after senior executives mandate the need to support business growth initiatives,” McGee added.

By John Kennedy